|Fruit Handbook for Western Washington: Varieties and CultureIncludes best performing varieties. Can also order by phone 1-800-723-1763 or online.|
Variety evaluation trials examined different cultivars and selections to find those that were best suited to the cool, humid climate of the Puget Sound region. Crucial factors for evaluation included high fruit quality, disease resistance, productivity, and ease of culture. Both commercial growers and home orchardists have benefited from the results of these trials.
Trial varieties were tested from areas of the U.S. and the world that have similar growing conditions and disease problems. Some experimental crosses were done to produce improved disease resistant apricots, scab immune apples, pears and ornamental crabapples, and disease resistant Asian pears. The fruit varieties in this program came from many sources including:
- University breeding programs in the U.S. and Canada: Purdue (Indiana), Rutgers (New Jersey), Geneva (New York), Byron (Georgia), U. of Minnesota, Summerland (BC), Harrow (Ontario) and Kentville (Nova Scotia)
- Breeding programs in Europe and Asia: England, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, New Zealand and Japan
- Commercial nursery introductions
- Old varieties not previously cultivated in this area
- Promising seedlings from local hobbyists and growers (e.g. Orcas and Rescue pear, Puget Gold apricot, Schoolhouse plum)
Cultural trials to address the needs of commercial growers and home orchardists in the Skagit Valley and western Washington were designed to improve horticultural methods and materials. Past research included chemical thinning of apples, soil fertility, improved cherry culture, rootstock and training of pears, and effective spray methods to prevent peach leaf curl. Cultural experiments were performed with varieties that showed commercial potential in our area.