Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print
Planting: Plant bare-root trees in fall in a sunny, sheltered location. Plant on the north side of a structure to prolong dormancy and protect from early spring frosts.
pH range: 6.7-7.5
Years until fruit bearing: 4; thereafter, expect intermittent off years without fruit.
Pollination: self-pollinating, but early spring blossoms may require hand pollination.
Pruning: Annually remove shoots that are too crowded and shorten others to lateral shoots to encourage the production of fruiting spurs.
Fertilizing: Apply 5-10-5 or 10-10-10 in early spring.
Harvest period: July-August; ripeness is determined by fruit color. Netting can be used to protect ripening fruit from wildlife.
Storage: Best to consume within a day or two of harvest if not canning, cooking or freezing. May store for a few day in a single layer in a cool cellar or refrigerator, away from apples and pears.
Recommended varieties: Alfred, Harcot, Harglow, Hargrand, Harlayne, Harogem, New York 544, Sundrop, Veecot