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  #1  
Old 01-15-2012, 12:05 PM
heytae heytae is offline
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Default 4 in 1 vs single variety?

Hi,

My local nursery (Summerwinds Nursery near San Jose, CA) just got their first shipment of DWN 4 in 1 pluot trees in. They said they're flavor king, flavor queen, Dapple, and Flavor Supreme. I'm considering getting one vs. two or three separate trees of those same varieties.

I was wondering if any of you experts out here have any opinions about the pros and cons of getting a 4 in 1 vs. single variety trees. As in, will the 4 in 1 tree have just as good fruit as a single variety tree? Will they be just as sweet, size, and plentiful of fruit? Any other pros or cons of getting a multi-grafted tree besides the obvious space savings.

As a newbie, I may be overlooking something that I may run into in future years.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2012, 04:06 PM
fruitnut fruitnut is offline
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Default Favorite pluot

heytae:

Biggest problem I'd have is that three of those varieties are outdated IMO. Flavor Supreme doesn't set, Dapple Dandy doesn't get very sweet, and Flavor Queen cracks plus it's all sugar and no flavor. My favorites are Geo Pride, Flavor Grenade, Flavor King, and Flavor Finale. Get those four and plant them all right next to each other if necessary, spread out if you can.

It's standard practice to put the old standby varieties on a multigrafted tree. But Zaiger has made advances and there are better new varieties, in some cases.

Either way, multigraft or several trees in a hole, will give same fruit quality if thinning, crop load, and light into the canopy are similar.

Your tastes and climate will be different than mine. Plus I grow in a greenhouse. But good fruit in one area is usually good fruit in another provided both get adequate heat and light.
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2012, 05:58 PM
Fascist Nation Fascist Nation is offline
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My thoughts:

If you are space challenged then 3-n-1's, etc. make sense. But you will get a single main branch of fruit as opposed to a triple tree (even small trees), etc. full of fruit.

Whether you plant a 3-n-1... or three (ect.)_ trees in a hole, you need to orient trees with respect to which ever one is most vigorous to the north so it doesn't shade out the others. Though orientation can be made for other reasons....

Multigrafts are on one rootstock...multiple trees in a while should be on the same rootstock...unfortunately that is often beyond your control.

Multigrafts lend good cross pollination. So will same species in a hole.

Multigrafts are cool. But then so is multiple trees in a hole because who does that?
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  #4  
Old 01-15-2012, 10:06 PM
Big Jim Big Jim is offline
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Multi-grafts require strict attention when pruning to keep them balanced. It is not uncommon for multi-grafts becoming a single variety in a few years.
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:07 PM
heytae heytae is offline
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Thanks for all the replies so far. They're all good points and now I'm re-considering our purchase yesterday.

@fruitnut:
Wow, I never heard about these issues with those 3 varieties. Of course the DWN info has nothing but glowing info about taste test winners, etc.
You said: "Flavor Supreme doesn't set" - What exactly do you mean by that? Not much fruit due to lack of pollination? Layperson terms please.
"Dapple Dandy doesn't get very sweet" - Even in the eyes of a non-fruit-expert? Please don't take that wrong....I know you're an expert with high expectations and I just want to "calibrate" our expectations with an expert's such as you. We're just a family of 4 who love eating summer fruit that we've gotten at the local farmer's market....now we just want to grow some of our own instead of buying them at the farmer's market all summer.
"Flavor Queen cracks plus it's all sugar and no flavor." - Wow, I didn't know that. Why do all Flavor Queen's fruit crack? Would they also crack even if they weren't on a 4 in 1 tree or is it because it's on a grafted tree?
Are all of your favorite pluots available via retail nurseries or do some of them have to be special ordered? I guess I have to call around to see what'll be available in the upcoming month or so as the DWN trees arrive.

@Fascist Nation
"Multigrafts are on one rootstock...multiple trees in a while should be on the same rootstock" -- Does this mean that all of the trees that'd go into one hole have to be of the same rootstock? If so, why is that? What could happen if they were different rootstocks?
"...you will get a single main branch of fruit..." - As the 4 in 1 matures, I assumed that each of the 4 varieties' main branch would grow additional fruit bearing branches instead of the fruit growing on JUST each of the 4 main "trunks." Is that not the case? I wish I could see a picture of a multi-grafted tree with fruit on it so that I can see what they actually look like around harvest time. Anyone got such a picture please???

@BigJim
"It is not uncommon for multi-grafts becoming a single variety in a few years." -- What the heck!?! Really? This, along with Fruitnut's comments, are really starting to scare me that I'm thinking of returning the 4 in 1 pluot tree that I just picked up last night. We're in this for the long run (5 - 10 years) so we definitely don't want our multigrafts to turn into a single variety in a few years. Yikes!

I'm SO glad I'm asking you experts the original question as I would have learned the lessons the hard way, years from now, when the trees are mature and fruit bearing. And I would have then been bummed and discouraged. Thank you all for the continuing advice! This forum, and especially your knowledge that you're sharing, has been invaluable for learning how to do thing right the first time!
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2012, 02:27 PM
Administrator Administrator is offline
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Comments -

1. Main advantages of 4-n-1 fruit tree: a)one tree, four varieties b) fun, novelty. Main disadvantages: a) variety combinations are limited and b) if you don’t control the most vigorous variety it will eventually take over the tree (solution: control that variety, cut it back as often as necessary to keep it the same size as the others).

2. FS, DD and FQ are good varieties when well-grown and picked at the right time (i.e. firm-ripe or soft-ripe according to preference); they have done well in unfudged blind fruit tastings. I’ve had all of them when they were very pleasing (and all when they were not at their best). FS sets satisfactorily in an orchard with lots of pollen sources, but seems to be inconsistent elsewhere.

3. Fruit cracking depends on genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, e.g. irrigation practices and rain near harvest (when sugar levels are high). Many varieties have a tendency to crack. A variety that cracks in Fruitnut’s greenhouse on low water is a bad cracker – I don’t recall FQ being that bad.

4. When planting two or more trees together “in one hole” it is best to have them on rootstocks of equal vigor, which generally means on the same rootstock.

5. With any variety it’s great fun to pick fruit each day as the crop ripens to learn when that variety is at its best for you – by color, softness to the touch, ease of pulling off the tree, etc.

6. No matter what is first planted, you’ll probably want to add varieties later – so, if possible, save some space.

7. Personal opinion of fruits is difficult to communicate, even difficult to understand for oneself. Fruit preferences vary among people as much as do other food preferences.

Craig
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2012, 04:21 PM
fruitnut fruitnut is offline
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Default pluot cracking

Craig:

Flavor queen is the only pluot that has cracked for me in about 6 years. It does relate to watering near harvest. Even in my greenhouse water control isn't perfect. Flavor Queen has been on a tree that is overly vigorous because I keep cutting back the top while root system stays the same. I've had it on potted trees and don't remember cracking there. But I've never had fruit I really liked and that's 10 crops. Maybe just me.

heytae:

Whether you do multigraft or multiple trees in one hole, differing vigor will need to be balanced out by pruning. Flavor King won't turn into Flavor Supreme but FS is much more vigorous and will outgrow and shade out FK.

Variety preferences will vary. All I can do is give my experience based on eating a lot of fruit. For me Dapple Dandy averages about 18-19 brix. That is still pretty sweet. But last year Geo Pride and Flavor Finale were 22-25 average, very sweet.

Flavor King is great at even 18 brix. You can't go wrong there. And I'd get that on the most vigorous rootstock you can. It is the one that will tend to get shaded out. FK on a vigorous rootstock will grow less than FS on Citation. By going single variety trees you can choose a more appropriate rootstock for each variety.

Last edited by fruitnut; 01-16-2012 at 04:35 PM.
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2012, 05:44 PM
heytae heytae is offline
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Hi guys,

Ok, so I'm at a crossroads here and need to decide on which trees to keep now. I went ahead and got more pluot trees so that I can get your opinions before deciding which ones to keep and which ones to return to the nursery. I live near San Jose, CA.

I've still got the 4 in 1 pluot tree (flavor king, flavor queen, Dapple, and Flavor Supreme).
Based on what I read here, I then also went out and purchased the following individual varieties in 5 gallon pots:
Flavor King
Flavor Finale
Flavor Grenade
(yes fruitnut, good or bad, I bought based on your recommendations)
Geopride is NOT available locally and I'd have to mail order it if I really want that one.

I have a new burgundy plum tree that is just waist high now (planted 2 months ago) and I'm hoping it'll pollinate whatever I end up keeping. The 4 in 1s should pollinate each other, I'm assuming. But of course the other single-tree varieties will need pollination.

I am trying to start a backyard orchard culture per DWN guidelines.

So:

1) Will my Burgundy Plum tree pollinate any of the above pluots I end up keeping? The Burgundy Plum tree will be around 25 feet away. In another thread, others said it should be fine, but I just want to make sure I don't end up with varieties that won't pollinate with what I have (or end up keeping).

2) If I keep 2 or 3 of the single variety trees, I'll have to plant them 3 feet apart from each other due to lack of space in a sunny area. At least one of the trees will get partially shaded by the other pluot. So knowing which variety is more vigorous over another is helpful, thanks. Which of the above 3 single varieties is more vigorous? I'll put the more vigorous one behind the lessor one (when looking from the sun's perspective).

For the best long term experience, do you guys recommend going with the single variety route or with the 4 in 1? I already have all these trees sitting in my yard, so it's just a matter of deciding which ones to keep and which ones to return.

Lastly, what's the brix range of store bought fruit? (pluots for example). I see mentions of a fruit's brix range of in the teens to 20s, but I have no reference point of how that compares with non-home-grown fruit. I'm guessing the home grown or farmer's market bought fruits are typically higher brix than their equivalents bought at a grocery store, right?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts. And thanks again!
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  #9  
Old 01-22-2012, 08:11 AM
fruitnut fruitnut is offline
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Flavor King is the least vigorous so give it a favored sunny position. Flavor Supreme is the most vigorous so prune to keep that tree in balance and position accordingly.

Since you have the trees why not keep them all. They should all be good compared to average store bought fruit.

DWN commercial side of their website lists brix for some of the pluot. These are the brix that are listed on the patent application. So I'd suspect that is the average of their readings. In general 18-19 starts the really sweet fruit. I like anything in the 20s. Above about 32 indicates overly water stressed often with off flavors.

Your growing conditions influence brix. If it's not sweet enough you may be over watering, leaving too much fruit, not pruning enough to open canopy, or your planting is too shaded.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2012, 11:03 PM
whytreewhy whytreewhy is offline
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I agree you should keep them all. You'll have more chances at success that way.
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