FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Browse our list of frequently asked questions (FAQs); click on the “Search” tab (below) to find questions related to a specific tree, plant, or issue; or ask us your question using the “Ask a Question” form.
Shipping / Ordering
Yes, you can. Please call Raintree Nursery at 1-800-391-8892 to adjust your order.
Absolutely! And if you order now for spring shipment you can get 20% of your order in free bonus plants. See http://www.raintreenursery.com/spring/ for details. Bareroot plants can be ordered at any time and are available for shipment in mid January through May depending on what delivery date is best for your climate. We start shipping in mid January to California, Western Washington and Western Oregon if the weather permits. In early March we start shipping to the Southern U.S. and work our way North through May.
Yes, if you live in a moderate winter part of the country where the first expected hard freeze (overnight temperature to 26° F, or daytime will stay below freezing) will usually be at least 4-6 weeks after we can get the plants to you. If you live West of the Cascade mountains or in other USDA Zone 8-10 areas, you could still order for shipment this fall. Otherwise, order now for Spring shipment! Remember to allow 3-5 business days for shipping, weather permitting and depending on where you are.
Only if the plants you are ordering are now in shippable sized pots (1 gallon or smaller). The majority of the trees and berries we offer are shipped to you as bare root dormant plants in the spring to save on shipping costs. At this time, those bare root plants are still in the ground, growing. After they have gone dormant (Nov-Dec), and we have a dry period in which to harvest (usually late December), the plants will come out of the ground. To keep everything organized we wait to start shipping until most of the plants are tagged and put away, which is usually mid to late January. Then we will ship to you at the best time to ensure the plants survive in transit and conditions are right in your area for spring planting. Fall is an excellent time to plant if you are in a USDA Zone 6 or warmer location, but only, of course, if the potted plants are available. Check your local nurseries, or come to Raintree Nursery and view our selection of potted fruit trees, ready for fall planting but too big and heavy to ship. If you prefer to plant in the fall, and you can not find what you want in a container right now, you will have to plan on receiving your plants as dormant bare-root in the spring when we can ship them to you.
We provide you information on how to choose which plants are right for you and unique location. Check out our guide: Choosing which plants will work for you.
The goal is to keep the bare root plants cool and dormant, and protect the roots from freezing or drying out. You can generally hold the plants up to two weeks in the bags they arrived in, in a cool (35-45°F) location. Check the bags for moisture a couple times, the shredded paper around the roots should be moist and there should be humidity present on the inside of the bag, standing water more than a ½” or so is undesirable. Alternatively, you can heel the dormant plants in a loose pile of soil or compost outdoors (in the shade if temperatures are on the warmer side) until you are ready to plant. Potted dormant plants (evergreen or deciduous) can also be held in a cool location, or buried outdoors, to the rim of the pot, in the compost pile. Potted hardy plants that are showing new growth are no longer dormant, and that new tender growth will probably be damaged by temperatures below 30-32°F. Keep them in a cool (35-60°F) but bright location to slow new growth until most danger of frost is past, harden them off, and plant. If late frost threatens, you can provide temporary cover to protect them. If the new growth is damaged by cold temperatures another flush of growth generally occurs within a few weeks. Hold frost tender plants at a moderate temperature, 50-65°F, with bright light, until all danger of frost has passed before taking them outside for the summer.
You do not need to be home for the delivery. The order first goes on our climate controlled truck until it reaches Chicago, IL. From there, FedEx takes over for delivery to your home. If you have any questions or concerns, please call at 1-800-391-8892.
We are proud of the amount of information we provide our customers in our catalog. If you are sitting in an easy chair and looking through the Raintree catalog, you are probably wondering how you should go about deciding which of the myriad of choices you should choose for your yard. Answering the following questions will help you in making decisions. Knowing the answers to some of these questions will also allow Raintree’s horticulturist to better help you. Our horticulturist can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will I use the fruit? If you will process the fruit, i.e. make jams or can, it is valuable to have the fruit ripen over a short period of time. If you are looking primarily for fresh eating, then selecting for a longer harvesting season will probably work better for you. For example, if you want to grow strawberries, choose a June or July bearing variety for processing, or an everbearing for all summer fresh eating. Choose both for the best of both worlds. Evaluate your location. Find out what the typical temperature patterns (summer and winter) and rainfall patterns in your local area are. Neighbors who have lived in the area a while, members of local garden clubs, or your local co-operative extension office are good resources. In our catalog and our web site you will find a USDA Hardiness Zone Map (Growing Info, top tool bar), which provides information on the average minimum winter temperature. Most of our plants will have a hardiness zone rating, sometimes listed with the variety, sometimes listed in the ‘How to Grow’ box in the catalog, or select Plant Care under Growing Info. This rating only tells you the minimum winter temperature the plants typically survive when properly hardened off. We do not have a good rating system at this time for summer patterns, but if known, individual descriptions will indicate if a particular plant tolerates hot or cool summers well. If you live in the south then you also need to know about chill hours, view our Chill Hours Chart(Growing Info, top tool bar) for an explanation and more information. Contact your local co-operative extension service to find out how many chill hours typically accumulate each winter in your area. Find your local co-operative extension office in our Useful Links page, found in Growers Info. Find out what insects and diseases are typical in your area. If you ask your local co-operative extension professional what varieties they recommend for your area, you will usually be told commercial varieties, because that is what they are familiar with. Instead, ask them what the typical insect and disease issues are in your area. Then you can make selections based on resistance or tolerance information available in our catalog, or, make a plan for controlling problems you can expect with the susceptible varieties you prefer to grow. If you see resistance information about a particular disease for one variety but not another of the same kind of fruit in our catalog, either that variety is susceptible, or it has not been tested so is unknown. Determine pollination and ripening time of the fruit you want to grow. Use the Pollination and Ripening Charts (under Growing Info, top tool bar) on our web site to find out what the pollination requirements are of the type of fruit you are interested in, then choose specific varieties that will pollinate each other (if needed). The same information is also available in our catalog, in the How To Grow section for each type of fruit, or the pollination charts. I like to make selections that will allow for a long picking season of a particular kind of fruit. For example, I know I need at least two varieties of blueberry for best pollination. If I choose one variety each from the early, mid, and late season ripening columns I know my pollination needs are met, plus I can pick fresh blueberries for about 3 months. You can find more helpful hints on choosing plants in Choosing Which Plants Will Work for You .
I was reading on your website about how you get plants that are disease resistant. Does that mean that the plants are genetically modified or a cross-bred with a genetically modified plant? If not, how does the disease resistance come about?
Varying degrees of disease resistance already exist in all plants — otherwise, there wouldn't be any plants! The trick is to cross the right varieties to achieve stronger resistance to common problems, like apple scab. This is an enormously complex subject, but Raintree does not now, nor will it ever, sell any genetically modified plants. I hope this answers your question.
Our plants are not certified organic, though we try to be as organic as we can. We do try to eliminate all pests on our plants before we send them out so people can get off to a good start growing them organically at home. We also offer disease-resistant varieties.
Every year is a different answer; each type of fruit is a different answer. How the trees grow is impacted by the weather, irrigation patterns, and soil fertility. Irrigation and soil fertility can be managed, but we can’t manage the weather. Last year (2011) many of our fruit trees did not size up well as a result of a long cool spring and summer in our region. This year (2012) started with a long cool spring but then warmed up very nicely, which should be reflected in our trees being much closer to our preferred size standards.
Yes, it can be OK. Branch extension will start when the roots start growing. Sometimes the top of the tree starts growing ahead of the root system. To help the tree re-establish balance provide the plant with shade (put up a simple framework and drape with burlap, shade cloth, or attach lath screens to provide 50% shade), or mist the foliage regularly to reduce water stress in the plants. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not constantly saturated — excess water remaining in the root zone area pushes oxygen out of the soil, which roots need to breathe and grow.
First we have to determine why. Sometimes it is in the nature of the plant not to grow vigorously in the first year, such as Monkey Puzzle or Bamboo. More often the root system is not growing and establishing properly. There can be several reasons why. Perhaps the top of the tree started growing before the roots after the tree was planted (this often occurs when daytime temperatures are warm and the soil is still wet and cold after planting), creating an imbalance in the tree. The demands by the top of the tree for water and nutrients are using up all of the energy resources in the tree, so the roots aren’t growing. Re-establish balance in the plant by providing 50% shade from the mid-day sun, and keep the soil evenly moist (not constantly saturated). Over-watering a newly planted tree will keep the soil wet and cold. Check the soil 4-6” deep for moisture content before watering, where the roots are, rather than looking at the surface. In addition, if the ground remains constantly wet oxygen is pushed out of the soil, which the roots also need for active growth. Too much modification of the soil in the planting hole can also lead to problems for the root system. Sometimes water does not exit the planting hole as fast as we thought it would, keeping the soil wet and cold, because the soil porosity created in the planting hole is too different from the native soil. Maybe the roots are not eager to leave the planting hole because what is in the planting hole is too nice compared to the native soil. Over-fertilization with chemical fertilizers or animal manures in the planting hole can burn the roots, stopping them from growing until the excess nutrients have leached out of the soil. The best solution when preparing the planting hole? Keep the fertilizer to a minimum, do not add more than 20% compost to a planting hole (about 2 shovels full), and fracture the sides of the hole before planting. After planting fracture the ground next to the planting hole (I use a digging fork), mulch with straw or leaves, and water only as necessary the first few weeks. Finally, order your plants now through the first of the year so we can deliver them to you at the beginning of your planting season. If the roots are not growing vigorously the top of the plant will not grow vigorously.
In the video "How to plant a tree" I see that you add Myco packs to the bottom of the planting hole when transplanting bareroot trees. Can these be added to an existing planting near the surface? Would it still be of similar benefit for root development and growth?
Yes. Try putting the myco packs into soil where the roots will probably be in the near future. In other words, you need to get the material into the root zone. Since most roots will be in the top 18" of the soil, digging the myco pack in near a newly transplanted tree should work well.
The bare root trees that we send out in the spring are 3- to 5-feet tall with an average of a 1/2" caliber. They are grown on two-year-old rootstocks with one-year old tops. We have larger -- too large to ship -- and more mature trees available at the Garden Center. These were bare root trees that we potted up in the spring and have had all summer to grow. If you can come to the nursery to shop you'll find a limited variety (but best for the Northwest) of our favorite apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, and apple espaliers ready to plant in your own garden -- fiber pot and all.
Most of our fruit trees will start producing fruit in their third summer. In some cases there may be some fruit in the first or second year. It is best for the health and long-term vigor of your new tree that any fruit that starts to grow in the first two years be removed. This allows the tree to focus the available energy on growing strong roots, trunk, and primary scaffolding branches, instead of energy demanding fruit. Often, if the tree is allowed to ripen fruit during the first two years, it will be several years before it flowers again.
I have two fruit trees in big pots, they are second year grafts from your annual all-day class and grafting event. I want to plant them in the ground, but I am worried that their roots won't spread out into the native soil. Would it be better to plant them bareroot-style by removing the potting soil when dormant? If so, should I do it this late fall / early winter or wait until spring?
Are the roots are circling around the rootballs? If not, there is no problem. Just loosen or cut some of the roots on the outside so they will head outward when you plant. Removing all of the soil would be possible, but will set your trees back considerably. Do your transplanting when the tree is dormant, early winter is best. If your trees are in fiber pots then they can go into the ground -- pot and all -- and your trees will have a great start in developing a strong root system when they are ready to come out of their dormant state in the spring.
Yes, to the best of our knowledge, any of the varieties should be okay on this rootstock.
Go ahead and enjoy the blossoms! Just remove any fruit that may form.
Try the Chehalis. Pristine is also a similar apple.
Pears are ready to pick when they easily come off the branch, except the Bosc, which is never happy to leave the tree. For more information, see http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/17252/fs147.pdf.
The Comice is often sold in gift packs (like Harry and David's, under the name Royal Riviera), but you will need another variety of European pear for pollination, like Bosc. Asian pears also need two varieties for pollination. You may want to try our combination grafted trees.
Plums with some resistance include Santa Rosa, Burbank, AU Producer, and Beauty.
I have struggled to find a pollinator for my Satsuma semi-dwarf asian plum tree (about 8 yrs old now and has never produced more than a few plums).The nursery I bought it from recommended a Methley plum as a pollinator, but that tree flowered too early to pollinate the Satsuma. Then I tried a Santa Rosa, but it was killed in a storm before it could mature enough to pollinate the Satsuma. I've looked at your catalog and I'm wondering if the Obilnaja tree or the Shiro tree would be pollinators for the Satsuma? My Satsuma produces fruit in late August (if it does) or even early September.
The Craig's Crimson cherry is a very good variety for fresh eating. Trees planted from bare roots will usually begin to fruit their third year in the ground. The spread on this tree is about 8 feet. It can do well in Redmond!
Your best choices will be the earlier ripening apples, like Akane and Pristine, and the Asian plums like Beauty and Methley.
Sorry, none of the Mirabelles are self-pollinating. They need another variety of Mirabelle or another late blooming European plum for pollination. They can do well in Western Washington especially in the long, hot summers.
We recommend checking with your county’s Cooperative Extension or Oregon State’s Horticulture Department for this. Up here in Lewis County, Wash., Melrose and Arkansas Black ripen mid- to late October, and Fuji may not ripen at all. Your summers are longer and warmer, so local advice is best.
The Jiro has large fruit and can do very well in your area.
Yes. The entire eastern half of the United States is infected with chestnut blight.
Blueberry plants can live to be as old as 50 years, but may need rejuvenation long before that: http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/production/pdfs/blueberries/bbprunerejuv.pdf If you prefer replacing your plants, some very good varieties include Olympia, Patriot, Sierra, Bluecrop, and Legacy — hard choices, as you are in a great area for blueberries!
Your raspberries will benefit from an inch or two of good compost in the early spring or use a balanced fertilizer like a 10-10-10- with micronutrients. However, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Over-fertilization can lead to problems like great vegetative growth with few berries. A soil test can tell you what is and is not available in your soil or just watch your plants for yellowing or weak growth.
Do Rosanna raspberries have a lifespan? I had a very poor crop this year, very late and small berries. Any reason for this? I live in Northern California and have had these plans for 5-6 years with good results. Thanks!
Raspberries are susceptible to many virus problems, which is usually the determining factor in their lifespan. These viruses are spread from wild plants and by sucking insects, like aphids. I just talked to a person in Montana who had her sickly raspberry plant worked over by a pathologist, who said they had found 27 different viruses in her poor plant.
My Berry Blue Honeyberry blossomed well this spring, but almost all the blossoms fell off and there was very little fruit. Do you have any suggestions as to why the blossoms would drop and how to prevent it next year?
Your Berry Blue needs an early-blooming pollenizer like Blue Bird.
Start them in the early spring so the mycelium can establish before cold weather stops it.
Currants will not thrive in your area. They need a long, cold winter to do well.
Spring planting is best in your area. Check www.raintreenursery.com for the available selection in January.
Figs can do very well when grown indoors! The Petite Negri is a natural dwarf and will not try to grow past about 7 feet. All figs can be kept short with pruning and do not mind being root bound.
Books & Supplies
Mesh dimension is 1/2".