fruit trees for lower midwest

I dont have a yard now but am trying to help daughter. We live in lower midwest-about 40 miles east of st louis. we have good soil but temperature drops can be extreme. I remember doing fruit trees myself. Many days in summer of 90-100 % humidity brought all kinds of diseases to my peach trees. I have heard that sour cherry trees dont require spraying & did get one to grow about 3 years when it too died. What are the best fruits for this kind of environment with little or no spraying required?
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you have many choices for no spraying fruits, so long as you don't restrict yourself to trees. First, fight temperature drops by insulating the trunk - white paint is an option but you can directly use pipe insulation (to be removed occasionally to prevent insect buildup).
Second, the type of soil and pH you have will restrict some the type of fruits you can grow. You will have to forget about the most popular fruits, like apple or peach, which catch too many diseases in the midwest but you have plenty of berries to choose from.
I would recommend mulberry (a tree) and blackberry under most circumstances, but probably raspberry will do well too. I have a jostaberry (black gooseberry) that has developed into a magnificent , heavily bearing shrub which is known to do well in clay, and the best varieties of elderberry (halfway between a shrub and a tree, though mine have gotten up to 20 ft, so a small tree probably) are good eating and trouble-free. Strawberries, if you have the space, will probably do well, and if you are willing to put in the annual work, melons of all sorts too.
Grapes will almost certainly do well, several types of nuts (like walnut or chestnut) will do well. Hardy kiwis (a vine) will do well. Amongst the small trees, american persimmon will do well, and juneberry will do well. Of the classic fruits, I would experiment with some of the strongest plum varieties, and you can also experiment with vines like akebia and schizandra. My seaberries died, but many say it is one of the toughest shrubs. Finally, if you want to get into apples, pick a variety like Liberty, which is not only a great apple but also has resistance to a number of diseases (I would not do it, though).
The vines, of course, can be arranged as a shade area for the summer, adding functionality, though they should not be mixed in the same pergola (kiwi will overpower anything else). Once you have no spray fruits, your enemies will be birds and squirrels. Here is my advice
1) plan to have fruits from june to november, one or more fruit at a time. 2) ask fruit nurseries locally, and also check Edible Landscaping on the web for what sells in your area (call or email them, and ask specifically about your climate, soil and pH) 3) plan for protection from the birds, by building supports where netting can be applied easily and thoroughly.
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You have to define what you mean by 'little spraying'. You could probably get by with minimal spraying (say once or twice a month) with an orchard spray that has both fungicide and pesticide. You could try a disease resistant apple tree like William's Pride or Liberty, but you still might have a problem with insects. If you are willing to lose a portion of your crop to insects, you may not have to spray these trees. Be sure and buy dwarf or semi-dwarf trees, as they are much easier to maintain, and give plenty of fruit. If you follow the advice about protecting the trunks, plus you cover the base of the trees with a few inches of mulch, you should mimize the affect of temperature swings and strong winter sun.
Sherwin D.
cricket wrote:

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A cold hardy pear tree comes to mind. In my limited experience with them, I have only seen a couple of pears with holes in them made by insects, and I have never seen them damaged by peach tree borers. I spray all my fruit trees in the early spring with a dormant spray, and get some lures for the flying insects. Get some that are resistant to cedar blight, cedar rust, etc. and buy from a reputable source (I use Raintree in WA - www.raintreenursery.com). Dwayne

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cricket wrote:

If your daughter is willing to think outside the box a little, you might consider a few paw-paws, which are native to your region. (You need at least two trees to ensure polination). They may be a little tricky to find, commercially--here's one list of growers: http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/nurslst.htm
It's got few insect pests; your main worry is getting the fruit before the possums and raccoons do. The Kentucky State site above has a good recipe list.
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