I'm looking for a reference text that makes detailed comparisons of different varieties of fruit scions and rootstocks: specific disease susceptibility, fruiting output, time to maturity, size of mature tree, etc. All too often I’m left with the vague statements and hyperbole of the nurseries (“More productive! Less susceptible to diseases!”), and the isolated detail of journal articles (useful, but lacking in apples-to-apples comparisons [ha] with similar cultivars).
A couple ideal characteristics:
- A Willamette Valley (or at least Pacific Northwest) focus
- A good section on European plums and figs
...or, you know, feel free to just list your favorite fruit tree reference. I'm a data junky and I have an inordinate fondness for textbooks 🙂
I like "Apples for the 21st Century" by former HOS president Warren Marnhart. It's locally based, a little dated , and only about apples, but otherwise, it's great. I think it's out of print, but you might find a used copy somewhere.
Thanks, John! I'll see if I can dig it up.
Well, I too would recommend "Apples for the 21st Century", and I saw copies for sale at Portland Nursery last Fall.
Moreover, copies can usually be obtained either on E-Bay, or the ABE Advanced Book Exchange. I once bought one, for less than 10 bucks, with free shipping.
I'm also fond of "Fruits for the Home Garden", by Hedrick. A Dover book. Usually paperback. But, hard to find used.
Those vague statements in catalogs, are derived from such books as the above.
There just aren't that many great books on the subject. Few people have grown and tasted, the myriads of obscure fruit varieties listed in catalogs. So, sellers rely on quoting "experts". Some, from long-bygone eras.
Heh, heh... In fact, Manhart, a guy many of us knew, has become one of those immortal "experts". I see him quoted, as if he were Moses. And, that is how it goes. A few guys, a few great books. And, not too many living people, who have actually tasted all of the exotic fruits in question.
Good timing for those of you wanting a copy of Manhart's book. Lot's of copies available, at bargain prices. A Deal!
Thanks for the suggestions and links, buzzoff! Hendrick's book looks especially interesting. While it's too bad there don't appear to be any current sources that can fully replace these older texts (I see Hendrick's book was originally published in 1944), I do like digging through some of the older sources -- it's something of a treasure hunt.