BDN interviews Moran for article about choosing fruit trees

The Bangor Daily News interviewed Renae Moran, an associate professor of pomology in the School of Food and Agriculture and tree fruit specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for the article “How to choose the right fruit tree for your yard.” Moran recommends people consider the winter hardiness of fruit trees and the length of their growing season — trees with shorter growing seasons are more likely to thrive in Maine. “Apples are widely adapted to all the coldest regions of Maine. Sour cherries also seem to do well,” Moran said. But some fruit trees can be difficult to grow without pesticides. “To protect the fruit from pests is a little more challenging. Usually when you do it in the backyard, the fruit quality is not the same because of all the insects,” said Moran, who recommends peaches and pears for people who do not want to use pesticides on backyard trees. She also advised selecting varieties with the best disease resistance, and contacting a local nursery for more area-specific information. “Do some research on the many different varieties available and the nurseries that sell them. They have a lot of good information on how to grow fruit trees and the different types that are available,” said Moran, adding that it’s best to buy and plant a tree in late April or early May. “It just gives the tree a chance to establish a good root system before summertime.” To protect the tree from wildlife, Moran suggests using a small fence, cage or repellant such as hanging heavily scented bars of soap from the branches. And she said people should be realistic about the outcomes. “One of the expectations is that a fruit tree is supposed to live forever, and that’s simply not true,” said Moran. “A lot of people haven’t made that leap to the idea that fruit trees also need to be replanted when they die. People get discouraged.”