Growing Information

Whether you want to start your own orchard, or you just want to grow some fruit in your back yard, here's some information to help get you started.

Choosing your plants

If you want to grow fruit in Saskatchewan, you have a very diverse range of plants to choose from. Grapes, Plums, Currants, Apples, Sour Cherries, Saskatoon Berries, Haskap Berries, Pears, Strawberries and Raspberries. Just make sure hardinessyou choose the plants right for your location. Look up your hardiness zone, and only buy plants suitable for your zone. If you live in the city, you can sometimes get away with planting trees meant for a zone warmer. For example, Saskatoon is rated zone 2 but a plant rated zone 3 will likely survive just fine in the right location within the city. This is due to the "microclimate" created by the buildings, roads and trees associated with the city. Below is a list of recommended cultivars for the Saskatoon area. (Cultivars released by the U of S are tested in zone 2b.)

Cultivars

Grapes
Valiant and Beta. Minnesota type wine grapes may survive within the city.
Plums
Patterson Pride, Pembina, Brookgold, Green Elf, Ivanofka, Ptitisn #3 or #5, Brook Red and Perfection. 2 plums are required for cross pollination. Usually wild plums are used as pollenizers.
Currants
The 'Ben' Series european black currants, Red lake and Honey Red red currants.
Apples
Prairie Sensation, Autumn Delight, Minn 447, Goodland, Carlos Queen. Honeycrisp may survive within the city. Ottawa3 or Crabapple seedling rootstocks are recommended for Saskatchewan
Sour Cherries
Valentine, Juliet, Carmine Jewel, Cupid
Saskatoons
Northline, Smoky, Honeywood, Parkhill, Thiessen, Martin, Nelson
Haskap Berries
Tundra, Indigo Gem, Borealis, Berry Blue, Honeybee, Aurora
Pears
David, John, Ure
Strawberries
Seascape, Cavendish, Kent, Honeoye, Albion
Raspberries
Boyne, Red Bounty, Red Mammoth, Steadfast

 

Planting Location

Choosing the right location for your plants is expremely important for fruit growers, especially in Saskatchewan. Most fruit trees and bushes are borderline hardy in Saskatchewan's climate to begin with, so trees planted in a low frost pocket, or an exposed windy location don't really stand a chance. In contrast, a carefully chosen planting location can coddle the tenderest of prairie cultivars.

If you're planting in the city, you usually don't have to worry about exposed locations or frost pockets, but make sure your fruit plants are getting plenty of light. Avoid the north side of a big fence or the shade of a big tree. Fruit trees need lots of sun to bloom and ripen their fruit properly.

Soils

An ideal soil for a fruit tree is a well drained sandy loam. However, the soils at the U of S are made up of a notoriously poor draining heavy clay, and they support a wide range of healthy fruit trees. So don't dispair if your soils are less than ideal.

Planting

The best time to plant is when the plants are not actively growing. In the spring before the plants are in full swing, or in the fall, once the plants haves started to shut down for the winter. Watering for the first couple years will help to get the root systems established. Once the trees are established, some people consider irrigation optional.Orchards operating without irrigation may not produce optimum yield, but can still produce a crop.

Planting distance is one of our most frequently asked questions. In general, the bigger the tree, the further apart they should be planted.

Mature Heights
Planting Distances
Grapes
5-20ft(depends on trellising)
3-8ft
Apple Trees on Ottawa 3 Rootstock
10-12ft
5-10ft
Apple Trees on Crabapple Rootstock
20-30ft
15-20ft
Plums
15-20ft
7-13ft
Currants
3-4ft
3-5ft
Sour Cherries
6-8ft
4-6ft
Saskatoons
5-12ft
3-6ft
Haskap
3-4ft
3-5ft
Pears
15-25ft
15-20ft
Strawberries
4-8"
10-18"
Raspberries
3-6ft
2-3ft

 

Harvest

Harvest dates will vary from species to species, but they’ll also vary within species from cultivar to cultivar.  Planting the right combination of plants can give you fruit all season long.

 

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