Advice wanted on potential fruit/nut orchard

TWIMC:
I'm new to this group, but not to tree-growing/gardening. However, I have a challenging plot of lowland that I'd like to make productive. It is:
Near Kansas City, so hot/humid summers and cold/dry winters (middle of Zone 5);
Can have lots of rain/snow/ice, and/or a couple months of drought with watering restrictions in a year;
Is in a floodway, so 0 - 6 times a year it is a shallow, slow-moving river;
Has heavy, deep black soil, but is high in clay content and low in iron;
Is currently covered in tall fescue grass, has lots of insects, and occasionally has deer and other wildlife.
I've got time -- 20+ years, hopefully -- and I'd like to make the land productive. I've been thinking of planting some fruit or nut trees on it, or failing that some type of desirable-wood tree. Or other ideas?
Here's some trees I see in the mass-market catalog(s):
Hardy almond Hardy walnut (no tomatoes too near) Hardy pecan American hazelnut Chinese chestnut Black walnut Golden delicious apple Red delicious apple Bartlett pear Stella cherry Superior plum Goldcot apricot Reliance peach Seedless pink reliance grape (vines)
Are any of these likely to do well (assuming well-planted and protected from the deer)? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
-Brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Brian wrote:

Hi Brian,
Can't speak much about the nut trees, but on the fruit trees I think you can select more interesting varieties of apples. Besides all the environmental concerns, you should decide what size trees you want, dwarf, semi-dwarf, or full standard size. The smaller trees are easier to maintain, but may require some staking. The standard trees take longer to bear fruit, but are more firmly rooted in the ground. You have to pick the right rootstock, both for your sizing and to best meet your climate conditions. Most of the varieties you selected are good for zone 5. Apricot is a bit fussy and the blossoms may suffer from early frosts. Stella cherry is supposed to be self-fertile, but mine never really gave abundant crops. You may want to consider a sour cherry like Montmorency, which is a more reliable producer. The Superior Plum is hardy to zone 4, should not be a problem for you. Reliance Peach is also very hardy and good for zones 5-8. Apples are generally not a problem for cold hardiness. Bartlett Pear is hardy for zones 5-7, but may require a pollinator unless you consider yourself in the arid West.
Sherwin
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 18 Mar 2008 18:49:13 -0500, Brian

Find the county extension office for the area. They will have good advice on what kind and what variety grows well in your area.
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/index.html
--
Susan N.

"Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral,
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The Cook wrote:

Susan,
My guess would be that most county extension offices are not into fruit trees. I would try specialists at Universities, message forums like ours, and those of several fruit clubs throughout the USA. My club Midfex at www.midfex.org has links to some of these clubs, like the Northern Nut Growers Association. Unless he is in some kind of mini-climate zone with special conditions, he should be good with any trees for zone 5. I have purchased fruit trees from California rated for zone 5 that have grown marvelously here in the Chicago area.
Sherwin
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You would be wrong. http://www.umass.edu/fruitadvisor/ That's just one part of one state's extension website.
--
Ann
e-mail address is not checked
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The Cook wrote:

Thanks to all for your comments. I'll likely contact my local extension service soon.
-Brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Brian wrote:

Hi again Brian,
I am going to backtrack a bit and say you might find some information on University Extension web sites. You won't get the full story there, but it may be a good resource. If you can find the right publications there and/or find a good fruit specialist, you may get some answers. My point still stands that an excellent source of information are fruit growing clubs. Some of the fruit extension people are geared for commercial growers, which do not always coincide with the small orchard people.
Here is a good site from a Wisconsin site, so if you find a similar one for your area, I'm sure it would be helpful:
http://learningstore.uwex.edu/pdf/A3565.PDF
I would also recommend getting a hold of a publication from the Seed Saver's Exchange called Fruit, Berry, and Nut Inventory. It lists many of the various fruits, berries, and nuts in the USA. It gives sources for buying the trees, bushes, vines, etc., and a description of the climate zones they are good for. It's a little out of date, so I am anxiously awaiting a new edition.
In any case, let us know what results you find, good or bad.
Sherwin
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.