Buying online makes finding rare fruit trees easier

Asian persimmons are much larger than our native persimmon. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Asian persimmons are much larger than our native persimmon. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Walter Reeves

Credit: Walter Reeves

Q: I am trying to put together a small group of Asian persimmons in my home garden: ‘Tsurunoko’, ‘Maru’, ‘Nishimura Wase’, and ‘Hyakume’. I have been able to locate sources for the first three, but not ‘Hyakume’. Can you help me find it? Rick Lanser, Elverson, Pennsylvania

A: Common varieties of fruiting plants are relatively easy to find at local garden centers. But when you want a special plant, online vendors are ready to serve. When my friend Bill Ford in Ellijay retired from his nursery a few years ago, I asked him to recommend online fruit nurseries he trusted. I keep his list handy at bit.ly/GAfruitsource.

Q: I’m looking for a book to help identify birds in my backyard. Lisa Saad, email

A: I highly recommend “Common Birds of Greater Atlanta” by Jim Wilson and Anselm Atkins, available online and at local bird supply stores. It contains photos of more than 60 birds you are likely to see here. I keep mine by my sunroom window, where I can see visitors to my sunflower seed feeder and my suet stand.

Q: My crape myrtle is 20 feet tall and needs to be trimmed as it is getting too big and is touching my house. What is the proper way to prune it? Kevin Kovalchik, Buford

A: Your best option is to do several thinning cuts. That means taking out an entire branch all the way to the base rather than simply shortening it. If you only shorten branches, they will vigorously re-sprout in spring, and the tree will resume growing in ways you don’t want. By removing limbs that go excessively upward and outward, the crape myrtle will be reduced in size without excessive sprouting.

Q: I have a grape vine that I planted some years ago. The vine grows nicely but there are few grapes. Not sure of variety. Eddie Dillard, email

A: It sounds like a pollination problem. In other words, there is a lack of sex amongst the vines. Some muscadine varieties have perfect flowers, which contain both male and female organs. These varieties do not require another variety nearby to achieve pollination. However, some varieties have flowers with only female organs. These varieties require a perfect-flowered variety nearby to contribute pollen. My bet is that you have a female-flowered variety. The lack of pollen would explain why the little grapes never develop to maturity. The cure? Plant a perfect-flowered grape nearby. ‘Cowart’, ‘Triumph’, ‘Nesbitt’ and ‘Carlos’ are all perfect-flowered.

Listen to Walter Reeves’ segments at 6:35 a.m. on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips.

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