Michael’s Apples Releases February 2012 Fruit Tree and Gardening Newsletter


Bare root fruit trees for sale, gardening talks starting, another dry winter and the start of pest control.


Educational Opportunities/Resources:

  • The annual Gardening in Nevada: A Master Gardener Miniseries starts February 7. The talks are given each Tuesday in February and March by Master Gardener volunteers, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Bartley Ranch (off Lakeside, south of South McCarran). I will be giving the first talk on Training and Pruning Fruit Trees on Tuesday, February 7. I will give the Selecting and Growing Fruit Trees talk on March 6, same time, same venue. The schedule for all of the talks is available on the Grow Your Own! website.
  • I will also be giving the Pruning Fruit Trees talk for the UNR Cooperative Extension Grow Your Own! series.  The talks will start on February 8, 2012, and  will be given at the Reno Cooperative Extension office from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The talks will be available at the same time by the miracle of modern communications to many northern Nevada Cooperative Extension offices. For the locations and schedule, go to the Grow Your Own! website.
  • I will be holding grafting classes again this year. The cost will be about $35 per person. I’ll provide rootstocks, scions, and grafting materials; participants will go home with 6 grafted baby apple trees. The dates and locations are as follows (more details for the classes will be in the March newsletter):
        • Saturday, March 31, Rail City Garden Center, 9:00 a.m.
        • Saturday, April 14, Reno, 9:00 a.m.
        • Saturday, April 14, Reno, 1:00 pm
        • Saturday, April 21, Paradise Valley, 9:00 a.m.
  • Also in March is the WNC Small Farm Conference.

Landscape Maintenance and Planting Tips:

  • We are having another dry winter. The ground in my garden here in Reno is frozen. When the ground thaws, be sure to water your trees.
  • Although not necessary until spring bud swell to ¼” green tip, I like to attack aphids early by applying a winter application of dormant oil spray to my fruit trees; the oil smothers the over-wintering aphid eggs. The mild weather this January provides us with a good opportunity for this spray if no precipitation is in the forecast for at least 48 hrs after you spray. Follow label directions. Most garden supply shops carry dormant oil in a pint or quart size.
  • Attention garlic lovers. Now is the time to order fancy garlic varieties for delivery and planting in September/October. Thanks to tip from fellow gardener Mr. Ed Klemish in Winnemucca, we have a website for gourmet garlic bulbs to order now and start this fall (they early bird gets the Spanish Roja and other high demand varieties. Filaree Farm in Okanogan, Washington, www.filareefarm.com has over 100 varieties of garlic!!!  The website contains a wealth of information about garlic; they sell large bulbs for seed and smaller bulbs for consumption. Order early to get the varieties you want.
  • I am available and scheduling pruning jobs and consults starting in late February. I’ll start pruning peaches and nectarines in March.  I appreciate any and all business and referrals. Thanks.


Revised 2/5/2012

2012 Retail Bare Root Trees:

Again this year, I have ordered trees from several nurseries. By ordering in bulk, I think I can offer them at prices less than you could get them on a small, individual order. If I think you’ll do better ordering on your own, I’ll let you know.

Prices are $25 per tree unless otherwise noted; the price is affected by and includes royalty payments, tree size, shipping, and handling (including mine). I have to charge Nevada sales tax for Washoe County (7.725%). I’ll send out the bills in early February and will ask for payment by March 1. I will have the trees in mid to late March for pickup/delivery. I’ll deliver within the McCarran loop in Reno/Sparks; otherwise, you will need to pick them up at our house at 901 Gordon Avenue, Reno, NV. I can also arrange delivery between here and Paradise Valley.

To receive the 2012 Retail Bare Root Trees list, email Michael’s Apples at michael@michaelsapples.com.

Variety Notes:


  • ARKANSAS BLACK: Benton County, Arkansas ~1870 Probably a Winesap seedling. Beautiful, dark red to black, crisp, firm, juicy with yellow flesh. Excellent for eating out of hand, cooking and cider blends.  Ripens in late October to early November.
  • CALVILLE BLANC d’HIVER: France; introduced in 1598. Grown for Louis XIII; a favorite of Thomas Jefferson and still served for desert in fine Paris restaurants. Pale green fruit; tender, sweet, spicy, and favorable. More vitamin C than an orange. Excellent keeper that turns yellow and more flavorful with storage. Ripens Oct to Dec. Zone 5.
  • FUJI SEPTEMBER WONDER: Earliest ripening true Fuji. Developed in Japan 1962, a cross between Ralls Janet x Delicious, Fuji is a now popular eating apple that is crisp, juicy, and with a great texture. It ripens in September and keeps into the next year.
  • GRANNY SMITH: New South Wales, Australia. Well know commercial apple in the US. Large, green fruit with crisp, juicy flesh. Long growing season, but I know several folks in Reno that get apples almost every year. Classic story of discarded seeds sprouting in the compost pile of Mrs. Thomas Smith; the tree was moved to the orchard and at maturity produced a great apple. The tree was propagated and the rest is history. Hardy in zones 5-8.
  • HONEYCRISP: University of Minnesota 1992. Macoun x Honeygold One of UM’s cold hardy developments; is currently being widely planted commercially. Very crisp, excellent for fresh eating. It ripens in Late September to late October. Hardy to Zone 3. Keeps up to 5 months in common storage. My honeycrisp produced after 3 years and has cropped annually except 2010 (weather).
  • HUDSON’S GOLDEN GEM: Oregon 1931. Discovered as a fence row seedling at Hudson Nursery in Tangent, OR. A large, high quality russet desert apple: sugary, juicy, nutty flavor with crisp flesh. Ripens in late October and hardy to zone 3.
  • NEWTOWN PIPPIN: Newtown, Long Island, New York early 1700’s  Ben Franklin had some sent to him in England in 1759, the British loved it and the subsequent demand launched the US fruit export business. A great all around apple including cider. Ripens in October, but is and excellent keeper that develops full sugar and rich flavor when stored until March.
  • MUTSU: (also Crispin) Japan 1948  Golden Delicious x Indio. Large, round, crunchy, juicy, tart, spicy flavor. Good desert and cooking apple; excellent for apple sauce and cider. Ripens mid to late September. Zone 5.
  • SMOKEHOUSE: A seedling of Vandevere that grew near the smokehouse on the farm of William Gibbons in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Introduced in 1836. Red-striped, yellow fruit with firm, very juicy, yellow tinged flesh. Very good for eating, cooking, and juice. Ripens late August through October; will keep a month or so after picking. Zone 3; hardy to –40 F. One of our favorites; has cropped annually in Reno.
  • ZESTAR!: (aka Zesta) Another University of Minnesota release (1997). Red color over yellow background, good sweet/tart flavor. Stores for 6 weeks. Hardy in Zone 4 and ripens in late August to September.


  • BARTLETT: A standard for pears, it comprises 75% of all US and Canada production. Ripen off the tree for several weeks to develop flavor; keeps up to 3 months in storage. Annual producer in Reno.
  • BOSC: Brown, russeted skin, white flesh; a late blooming variety that keeps up to 6 months in cold storage. Introduced from Belgium in 1807.
  • COMICE: A green-yellow fruit with a red blush and light russet. Needs a month of cold storage to properly ripen. Risky, with a lower chill requirement, but an outstanding gourmet winter apple worth the risk.
  • MOONGLOW: A Comice seedling introduced in 1960, Moonglow is a dull yellow fruit with a pink blush, excellent mild flavor and almost no grit cells. It ripens a couple of weeks earlier than Bartlett and ripens to perfection in cold storage after 10 to 14 days.
  • SECKEL: Not pretty, small, but an excellent dessert pear, it was introduced from England in 1790 and has been a favorite for eating fresh, spicing and canning whole since colonial times. Also called the honey or sugar pear, it ripens in September.
  • UBILEEN: A relative newcomer to the US, Ubileen originated in Bulgaria and is an early ripening, summer pear the size of Bartlett with a red blush and buttery-textured flesh.


Note:   All Har.* varieties were developed at the Harrow Research Station, Canada and were developed for northern climes.

  • Harcot: Medium to large, oblong, orange fruit with a slight red blush. Firm, smooth, fine-grained, flesh; freestone. Early ripening fruit hangs on tree when ripe without dropping. Ripens late July in upstate NY. Introduced in 1977.
  • Harglow: Medium sized, bright orange fruit, freestone. Ripens in July. Introduced in 1982.
  • Hargrand: Very large (2.25-2.5 inch diameter), dull orange skin with speckled blush, firm, smooth, orange flesh; freestone. Ripens in late July to early August in upstate NY. Cold hardy. Introduced in 1982.
  • Harlayne: Medium fruit, orange with a red blush; a freestone with good tasted and texture.  Ripens in late August. Introduced in 1980.
  • Harogem: Small to medium size, glossy orange fruit with a bright red blush; very firm, orange freestone flesh with good texture and flavor. Cross pollinates with Hargrand. Ripens in early August. Cold hardy in zone 4. Introduced in 1985.
  • Harval: Freestone with a 30% red blush over bright orange background, it has firm, melting flesh of good quality. Introduced in 1985.
  • Jerseycot: A very productive (needs thinning for good fruit size) and self-fertile, it has a 1.5” diameter fruit. Developed in New Jersey, it cropped 20 out of 22 years in central New Jersey and ripened in early July for Bob Purvis in MN.

Sweet Cherries

  • Attika (Kordia): Large, black fruit with juicy, dark red, firm flesh. Blooms late. Originated in Czechoslovakia.
  • Gold:  (aka. Golden Sweet, Golden Cherry) Fruit is relatively small, but very sweet and juicy. An excellent pollinizer and heavy producer, Gold can be canned in light syrup and is used commercially for maraschino processing.
  • Kristin:  Large (1”), purplish black fruit with a sweet, richly aromatic flavor; heavy cropping, and proven hardy in Zones 4-5. Introduced in 1982, tested in Norway, Montana, and at Geneva, NY, Ag station.

Pie or Tart Cherries

  • North Star Large-fruited Morello-type pie cherry with light red skin, red flesh, and small freestone, tangy/sweet, great for pies and jams.  Ripens from mid June to early July self fruitful, a natural dwarf that grows from 6 to 12 ft tall. Developed in Minnesota from a seedling discovered in Yugoslavia, hardy to -40 degrees. Our tree fruited the second year after planting in PV; fruit is very tart—another grower recommended 1.5 parts sugar to 1 part juice for jam.


  • Red Gold: Large, almost all red fruit with firm, juicy, deep yellow flesh; a free stone that holds its firmness. Ripens 14 days before Elberta, it requires 850 chill hours. Originated in California and introduced in 1960.


  • Contender: Large round fruit with a red blush over yellow and firm yellow flesh that resists browning. Freestone. Ripens 9 days before Elberta. Requires 1050 chill hours. Developed at North Carolina State University.
  • Elberta: Most popular American variety. Large, yellow fruit with a light red blush. Freestone with juicy yellow flesh. Excellent for canning and eating fresh or freezing for pies. Self-fruitful and a good pollinizer. Ripens early September. Hardy in zone 5, it needs 800-950 chill hours. Reported a near annual bearer in Reno.
  • Redhaven: The standard for early peaches, it ripens a month before Elberta. Medium-size, nearly fuzzless, bright red skin and firm yellow flesh becoming freestone as it ripens fully. Excellent fresh and for canning and freezing. Abundant fruit set requires early, thorough thinning. Requires 800-950 chill hours.
  • Early Redhaven: A mutant of Redhaven, it is a brilliant red semi clingstone with firm yellow flesh that ripens 14 days before Redhaven (and 34 before Elberta). It requires 950 chill hours.
  • Veteran: Large, round, golden yellow fruit with a slight red blush; freestone when fully ripe. Yellow, firm fresh is easy to peel and excellent fresh, canned, or frozen. Ripening 8-10 days before Elberta, it is self fruitful, one of the hardiest peach varieties that requires 1000+ chill hours. Reported to be an annual producer in Reno.


  • Green Gage: (Reine Claude) An old European plum and an American favorite since colonial times. Small to medium (1 to 1.5 inch diameter), yellowish green with juicy, smooth textured, amber freestone flesh. Ripens in August to September. Productive and self fertile (will cross pollinate with Italian). Hardy in zone 4. Mine has annual crops in Paradise Valley.
  • Castleton: Blue, slightly ovate fruit with green to yellow flesh. A dual purpose plum, it is a fine early dessert plum and is and excellent processing European variety (prunes). A consistent heavy producer, thinning is recommended. Self fruitful, it ripens 2-3 weeks before Stanley (Stanley ripens mid-September). Developed at Cornell in 1993 as an improved Stanley.
  • Empress: Deep blue skin over firm, fine-textured yellow flesh, Empress is a European plum that is popular commercially in Idaho. Cross pollinates well with President and ripens in early September a week before President.
  • Fortune: Japanese plum that would require a pollinator (see Toka below). Large red fruit.
  • Italian: (Italian prune) Old European plum. Medium to large fruit, purplish black fruit with juicy, greenish yellow flesh. Rich, sweet flavor fresh, good for cooking or drying. Self fruitful and will cross pollinate with Green Gage. Ripens from late August to September. An annual producer for me. Requires 800 chill hours and is hardy in zone 4.
  • President: Large, round to oblong, blue-black fruit with a fine textured, yellow freestone flesh. Pollinates with other European plums, it is a heavy producer that ripens in mid September (same as Italian and Stanley).
  • Stanley: European medium to large, oval, dark blue fruit with yellowish green, freestone flesh. Requires 800-900 chill hours, hardy to zone 4, it was introduced by Geneva station in 1926. Our Stanley produces a good crop annually in PV.
  • Toka: A cross of the American wild plum P. americana and P. simonii an apricot plum from China, it is a pollinator for American, Japanese, and hybrid plums. It is a reddish bronze fruit with firm, yellow, flesh; a freestone that ripens form late August to early September. Developed at the South Dakota Experiment Station and introduced in 1911.
  • Victory: A large attractive European plum that ripens 5 days after Stanley, it was developed at Vineland, Ontario.


12/27/2011 mgj