I am interested in growing fruit trees in my suburban DuPage County yard. Can sweet cherries be grown here? Can you suggest varieties of apples, pears, peaches, apricots and plums that are hardy and disease resistant?
Sweet cherries are not hardy in this area. Some fruit trees are sensitive to winter cold and spring frost damage to the buds. Early flowering apricots are the most sensitive, followed by peaches. Pears and sour cherries bloom later and are less sensitive to late frosts.
Apples are the least sensitive to frost damage. Apple scab and apple maggot are common pests. Fruit trees require a regular schedule of spraying for pest control.
For a backyard fruit tree grower, tree size is important. Dwarf fruit trees bear full-sized fruit earlier than standard sized trees. Most fruit cultivars need two different varieties to cross- pollinate and produce fruit.
Midwest Fruit Explorers is a non-profit amateur backyard fruit-growing group. For more information about fruit growing, see www.midfex.org.
I have read that purple coneflowers (Echinacea) are a good source of food for birds in the winter. Will they be okay if not trimmed back until spring? If so, how early should they be trimmed?
I have a large variegated sedum with pink flowers that I have had for years. I noticed that it has started to send up some all-green shoots. Why is it doing this and how can I keep my plant variegated?
The foliage on our cucumber plants is starting to wither and turn yellow. They get plenty of water and I feed them regularly. What could be wrong?