Acid   Acidity is tart and zesty. Tingling sensation that focuses on the front and sides of your tongue.

Bloom   Natural wax is found on the surface of fruits as small crystals which appear as a powdery bloom to the naked eye. Reflection and scattering of lights on the fruit surface by the wax crystals are responsible for the prominent natural waxy bloom found on fruit surfaces.

Blush   description to indicate a solid rosy colored area, usually the exposed side of the fruit.

Breba  Some figs have two crops in hot climates. The first crop is breba tends to be lower yield.

Brown Rot  a fungal disease that affects stone fruit, especially peaches and cherries. At first (commonly seen in spring), the symptoms of the disease are dying blossoms that turn to mush and form a grayish fuzzy spore mass on the branch. Then it may enter the twig and cankers form. When maturing fruit is infected, the signs begin with a small brown rotted spot and rapid spore growth. The entire fruit may be consumed in a matter of days.

Budding   Budding is a type of grafting. Budding is our primary method used to make new fruit trees that resemble their “parents.” Most all fruity trees do not breed anywhere near true from seed, and to get the exact characteristics of a fruit variety, you need to graft. To propagate a fruit tree of a desired variety, one grafts scion wood of the desired variety onto rootstock. Scion wood is first year growth from a tree with known (and typically, desirable) fruit characteristics. While any wood from the above-ground portion of a tree will carry the genetic identity of the tree, young wood with healthy buds has the best chance of making a successful graft.

Cedar Apple Rust   If your apple trees (Malus spp.) develop cedar apple rust, there's not much you can do this season. In future years, however, knowing how to keep the disease from gaining a foothold on new crops may reduce or eliminate the amount of ruined fruit you harvest. As the name suggests, cedar apple rust most often develops on apple trees growing in the vicinity of cedar trees (Juniperus spp).

Cedar apple rust first appears as shiny orange spots on apple tree foliage. Young fruit have raised orange spots, which turn brown as the disease progresses. By the time harvest time approaches, the fruit lesions are larger and cracked. If your cedar trees are infected, you'll notice golf ball-sized brownish growth that develop spikes in the spring.

It is important to remove any possible host plants growing within 300 yards of your apple trees. Red cedar (Juniperus virginia) is a common host. Additionally, any members of the juniper family are capable of spreading the disease. Other potential culprits that can "catch" the disorder and spread it to apple trees include hawthorn trees (Crataegus spp.) and flowering crabapples (Malus spp.).

Sulfur treatment is considered an organically acceptable preventable treatment for cedar rust disease. Apply it three times during the growing season. The most effective periods to spray are when trees form flower buds, 10 days after the first spray and 10 days after the flowers fall from the trees. Coat upper and lower surfaces of the apple tree's foliage. Spray in the early evening to avoid disturbing beneficial pollinating birds and insects. If you have only a few trees, the sulfur is usually diluted at a rate of 3 tablespoons per gallon If cedar apple rust is a continuing problem, organic fungicides can be applied weekly starting with bud break on apples and crabapples. Fungicide applications are used to protect the tree from spores being released by the juniper host in mid-spring. This occurs only once a year, so additional applications after this springtime spread are not necessary. Rake up and dispose of fallen leaves and other debris from under apple trees. Remove galls from infected junipers. In some cases, juniper plants should be removed entirely.

Organic Orchardist and author, Michael Phillips, advises that bolstering the health of apple trees helps them resist diseases like cedar apple rust. He suggests making sprays from garlic (Allium sativum), stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) or horsetail (Equisetum arvense). All are traditional treatments in the garden and orchard to fight off bacterial and fungal diseases, based on their pathogen-fighting isoflavonoid and terpene content. Garlic sprays may be made by blending cloves with water, straining and decanting in a spray bottle or orchard sprayer. Stinging nettle and horsetail involves filling a 5-gallon bucket with either botanical, covering with water and leaving to steep for at least 24 hours. The resulting solution, once strained, can be applied to apple foliage either full strength or diluted with plain water.

Central Leader a pruning method that produces a taller tree, allowing a larger harvest and more shade. A central branch becomes dominant, and the lower scaffolding branches are chosen to grow evenly  below and around the leader.

Chill Hours  Chill hours are roughly the number of hours between the temperatures of 32-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter hours above 60 degrees are subtracted from the totals. The idea is that a deciduous plant goes dormant in the cold winter to protect itself from the cold. These buds remain dormant until they  have accumulated sufficient chilling hours of cold weather. When enough chilling accumulates, the buds are ready to grow in response to warm temperatures. As long as there have been enough chill hours the flower and leaf buds develop normally. if the buds do not receive sufficient chilling temperatures during winter to completely release dormancy, trees will develop one of more of the physiological symptoms associated with insufficient chilling such as delayed bud break, reduced fruit set and /or reduced fruit quality. We consider varieties rated for USDA zone 10 or above to be low chill varieties.

Cider Tree We carry a large selection of hard cider apple varieties, including the old English cider trees. Cider is an ancient drink dating back to the Phoenicians. Cider attained great popularity in England soon after the Norman conquest in 1066. The art of cider making begins with the proper balance of apples, providing proportions of sweet, sharp and bitter apples. The exact percentage is open to debate, but a general rule has been 40-60% sweet varieties, like Roxbury Russet, Ashmeads Kernel, Hudsons Golden Gem, Jonagold, Wickson, Sweet Alford to name just a few. Second is sharp apples, commonly recognized as a tart, (high in malic acid) the percentage should be between 10-20%. A few examples of these apples are the Black Twig, Belle de Boskoop, Karmjn de Sonnaville and the Ribston Pippin. Lastly, the critical element in the mix is the bitter apple varieties (high tannins) that establish the body of the drink. At least 20% of the mix needs to be from high tannin apples. These varieties are specifically for hard cider: Foxwhelp, Kingston Black, Muscat De Bernay, Nehou, Porters Perfection, Taylors, Trembletts Bitter, and Yarlington Mill.

Climate Zone  The USDA Climate Zone Maps are maps created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to categorize different regions of the United States based on their climate. These maps are used to determine which types of plants are best suited for growing in specific areas, as well as to inform building design and construction practices that must consider local climate conditions. The maps divide the country into 11 different climate zones, ranging from extremely cold zones to warm temperate zones, taking into account average minimum winter temperatures, length of growing season, and rainfall patterns. These maps are updated periodically to reflect changing climate conditions.

Dessert Apple    good eaten fresh.

Dormancy   Deciduous fruit trees develop their leaves and fruiting buds in the summer. As winter approaches, the developed buds enter a dormant response to both shortening day lengths and cooler temperatures. This dormant stage protects buds from the effects of cold weather. Once buds have started dormancy, they will be tolerant to temperatures much below freezing and will not grow in response to mid-winter warm spells.

Espalier   Espalier is a tree, shrub, or vine that has been trained as a trellis, fence or wall. Espaliers are ideal for small areas because the training allows the plant to receive maximum air and sun to the plant and the fruit is within easy grasp. Historically, espalier is a training technique developed by ancient Egyptians. Espalier arose from practical concerns; in the cooler climates many fruits were not able to ripen before the onset of winter. Apples and Pears benefited from the radiate heat generated off the south facing walls, which extended the growing season earlier in spring and later into fall. Medieval Europeans popularized espaliers in their gardens by growing many varieties in limited spaces. Espalier became an art form, “botanical architecture” Gardeners began to create interesting two dimensional structures, or living fences.

Feathered  single dominant trunk with lateral branches throughout the height of the tree.

Fireblight    Fire blight is considered the most devastating bacterial disease of apples and pears. It is caused by a bacterium (Erwinia amylovora) that enters the plant through susceptible tissue, such as flowers, wounds or young growing tips, and the disease cycle starts from there.

Infected blooms appear water-soaked and discolored, and it rapidly turns black. If the disease enters twigs, it will move from the tip down, with stem and leaves looking water-soaked then turning brown. The leaves will remain attached to the stem as the stem shrivels and bends at the tip, resembling a shepherd’s crook. The disease moves from the tips into main branches, causing cankers that ooze bacteria. Splashing rain or insects can move the bacterial ooze to new places.

Floricane These are second-year canes of raspberries and blackberries known as floricanes. After fruiting, the canes die and are removed.

Freestone  A stone fruit in which the pit does cling to the flesh, but breaks free easily.

Fruit spurs   small twigs which contain fruit buds.

Hardiness   ability to withstand cold temperatures.

Heirlooms    Exactly what an heirloom plant is can mean different things to different people. We consider heirloom  fruit trees as varieties that have developed a historical or cultural significance which have been passed from generation-to-generation and often have a local or even familial significance.  There is no hard and fast definition of “heirloom” as we also consider age a determining factor in the “heirloom” designation. We consider an heirloom to be no younger than 60 years old to qualify, because that would ensure its origins are from before WWII, when modern agriculture emerged and varieties began to be patented.

Leaf Mosaic  any plant disease characterized by mottled discoloration of leaves. Common in figs under environmental stress.

Oblate   A fruit shaped with flat ends, wider than it's tall.

Open Center A pruning method designed to produce a smaller tree.  The fruit can be harvested without a ladder and is done from the ground. Three to four strong scaffold (or main structural) branches are chosen, evenly distributed around the trunk. The total height is below 6 feet.  This creates a more open tree, increasing fruit quality by allowing greater light penetration and air circulation, which discourages disease and insects.

Ornamental  plants or tree grown for its attractive appearance, sometimes decorative.

Perennial Canker  canker growing on trunk and branches that lives from one season to the next.

Pollinizer   The plant cultivar that produces the pollen.

Pollinator    The agent transferring the pollen; bees, flies or wind.

Pollination  the act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. The goal of every living organism, including plants, is to create offspring for the next generation. 

Powdery Mildew  fungal disease that affects plants and crop yield. Powdery mildew is one of the easier plant diseases to identify as its white powdery spots on the leaves and stems will be a sure giveaway. 

Precocious    Fruit trees that bear fruit at a young age. 


Primocane  The first-year canes of raspberries and blackberries are called primocanes, and these canes, after a dormant or rest period, bloom and fruit the following year. 

Russet (Reinette)   Reddish brown or yellow brown rough mottled skin on fruit.

Rootstock   Rootstock is wood with established roots, typically from the same species as the desired fruit, or a very closely related one. Rootstock affects tree size, precocity of fruiting, and resistance to soil born diseases. While any seedling can serve as rootstock, fruit tree propagators typically will use wood from varieties bred for particular rooting characteristics.

Scab   dark, corky patches infect developing leaves and fruit. Many scabs scattered over fruit surface.

Scaffold  primary limbs that create the trees canopy.

Scion    bud or branch used for grafting.

Shoots   twigs or branches on current years growth.

Sport   A variety or strain arising from a bud mutation on a previously named variety.

Sprightly   means the acid in the fruit comes through and influences the flavor favorably.

Subacid   Originally meaning "mildly sour , but now referring to flavors that are "slightly sweet" low in acid.

Suckers   Shoots growing from the roots or below the graft union.

Tannins   Tannin is often confused with  dryness because tannin dries your mouth.  Tannin in apples are the presence of phenolic compounds that add bitterness to a cider. Phenolics are found in the skins and seeds of apples and can also be added to a cider with the use of aging in wood (oak). Tannins taste like a used black tea bag on your tongue. A wet tea bag is practically pure tannin that is bitter and has a drying sensation. Tannin tastes herbaceous and is often described as astringent. While all of these descriptors sound very negative, tannin adds balance, complexity, structure and makes a cider store well.

Thinning  Fruit thinning is defined as the removal of certain flowers or clusters of flowers or individual fruitlets after fruit set and natural dropping have occurred.  It improves fruit yield and quality and return  bloom for the following year.

Triploid   An apple variety with three sets of chromosomes which have sterile pollen; typically vigorous tree.

Vinous   Wine-like flavor.

Water Sprout   Vigorous shoot growing vertically from a scaffold, unproductive and saps energy from trees.

Water Core   Water core is common especially in arid and semi-arid climates and associated with high fruit maturity. Large fruit, excessive thinning, excessive growth especially in young trees, fruit borne near tips, intense sunlight, can be contributory causes. Most often shows up during hot weather, and is associated with sun scald. Excessive water-supply such as rain or water of irrigation under certain conditions is a significant contributing factor. If an abundance of water is applied just before maturity of the fruit, and if this excess be accompanied by extremes of temperature and atmospheric humidity, the disease is very likely to appear. It’s hard to tell whether a fruit is affected without cutting into it, so you need to sample. Water core increases rapidly in over-mature fruit, but stops once the fruit’s been harvested. If the fruit has severe water core it will still be fine to eat, but use it immediately, as it will not store well.

Whip  slender, unbranched immature tree