Jessica Damiano Jessica Damiano, Newsday columnist

Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print and online media. She has worked on Newsday's interactive endeavors since 1994, and currently is Deputy Editor overseeing Newsday.com's Lifestyle and Entertainment coverage. Jessica enjoys toiling in her garden -- a never-finished work in progress -- and helping local gardeners solve their horticultural problems in her Garden Detective column, which appears every Sunday in Newsday. Her Garden Detective column and blog have been awarded Press Club of Long Island Society of Professional Journalists Awards. Jessica lives in Glen Head, NY, with her husband John, daughters Justine and Julia, dogs Maddie and Miguel, and a whole bunch of perennials, vegetable plants and weeds. Ask a question Show More

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.

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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