Sustainable NE Seattle

Connecting for a sustainable community

Raintree Nursery All-Day Classes & Workshops Field Trip

13 March 2010

A group of five Sustneans carpooled to Onalaska, southeast of Chehalis, where Raintree held its all-day classes and workshops at the Onalaska Middle School. It was very well attended, and even for a long-time gardener like myself, there was a lot to be learned. I took many pages of notes, and present them here in condensed form. I think it might really help us all, to grow more and better fruit.

Sam Benowitz, owner of Raintree Nursery, opened with selecting the best cultivars for Western Washington. A few preliminary criteria must be explained before examining actual fruit cultivars. First is size, which is determined by the type of rootstock used with the grafts. Dwarf rootstocks not only determine size and shape of the mature tree, but also how soon they produce. With dwarfs you’ll expect fruit in 2 to 3 years, with standards it may take many years. Size also matters, especially when it comes to the particulars of your garden. Mini-dwarf trees can be expected to be 4’ to 5’ wide and high, making easy picking. Then there is disease resistance and taste. Western Washington is not an easy place to grow fruit, due to the mild, damp weather. Hotter, drier summers and colder winters are really better for most trees. BUT, we can benefit from the careful observations of fruit growers before us, for they have found many cultivars that are suitable for our gardens.

Early: Williams Pride, Zestar, Red Gravenstein

Early-Mid Season: Akane, Chehalis, Pristine (yellow), Liberty (a disease resistant MacIntosh)

Mid-Season: Belmac, Greensleeves, Beni Shogun (early Fuji, Fuji is will not grow here), Dayton, Prima, Pink Pearl (red flesh)

Mid-Late Season: Honeycrisp, Shay, Wolf River (big, but low flavor) Hudson’s Golden Gem, Rubinette (has Cox’s Orange flavor), Karmijn de Sonnaville (non pollinator), Tomkins King, NY-75414-1 (as yet unnamed)

Late Season: Bramley Seedling (best cooking)

Keepers: Enterprise, Melrose, Red Boskoop

Cider: Kingston Black

Crab: Evereste, Dolgo


Notes: Well adapted to W.Wash, requires pollinizer. Russet is a climate effect, especially pronounced in W.Wash.

Cultivars: Bella di Guigno, Ubileen, Honey Sweet, Seckel, White Doyenne, Stuttgarter Gieshirtle (Stuttgart Goat Herder) Rescue and Orcas (best in NW), Bosc (russet), Blake’s Pride, Spaulding


Notes: Prune in late spring to avoid disease, requires pollinizer.

Cultivars: Yoinashi*, Shinseki, Hamese (russet, best flavor)

EUROPEAN PLUMS:Notes: Easiest fruit to grow in W.Wash. Usually free-stone

Cultivars: Reine Claude Doree* (best Gage type), Early Laxton, Italian Prune Sehome strain (crack resistant), Stanley, Victoria (heavy bearer), Seneca, Reine de Mirabelle (smaller plum), Kuban.

ASIAN PLUMS:Notes: Easy to grow, not free-stone

Cultivars: Methley (earliest, reliable fruit set, heavy bearer), Shiro, Hollywood

CHERRIES:Notes: Seek crack resistance for W.Wash due to frequent rain during harvest. The popular Bing variety is especially susceptible to this problem. The Gisela5 rootstock is worth the higher price due to royalties paid.

Cultivars: Hudson (late), Early Burlat (early). Self-fertile varieties: Lapins, Sweetheart, Vandalay. Tart Pie: Almaden Duke, Surefire, Montmorency

PEACHES & NECTARINES:Notes: Not well suited to W.Wash, leaf curl resistance needed. Genetic dwarf peach may work in containers.

Cultivars: Frost, Q18, Avalon Pride.


Notes: Not recommended for W.Wash.

Cultivars: Puget Gold, Harlow.

Cultivars: Aromatnaya, Carps Sweet Quince, Cathay Quince.


Cultivars: Pakistan, White Mulberry (Morus alba)


Notes: Hard to ripen in W.Wash, slow growing.

Cultivars: Pennsylvania Golden


Notes: Harvest in August when figs begin to droop on stems, hardy to 10O F

Cultivars: Desert King (the best)


Notes: Two types: Asian and American. Asians need heat to

ripen, American provide better harvest reliability.

Cultivars: Ichi-kiki-chiro.

Views: 805


You need to be a member of Sustainable NE Seattle to add comments!

Join Sustainable NE Seattle

© 2019   Created by Leo Brodie.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service