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Fruit Tree Planting Initiative

Black Coral Inc. Spotlights Urban Fruit Tree Planting of Pears, Plums, Persimmons, Black Cherry, and Apples In Boston MA.

Black Coral Inc. is initiating a tree planting pilot program to engage youth of Greater Boston and help solve the issue of fresh fruit access in urban neighborhoods. THE PROGRAM WILL OFFER HOMEOWNERS TWO FREE PLANTED FRUIT TREES WITH EVERY $500 DOLLAR TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION to Black Coral Inc's Fruit Tree Youth Employment Fund which is tax deductible, planting starts in May 2024 beginning with Malus Domestica ( Roxbury Russet Apple) Youth from Boston will be hired to do the planting beginning in late Spring/early summer 2024 guided by professional farmers and horticulturists. Homeowners may select any of the listed fruit trees but be aware some need pollinator pairing to bear fruit, see guide below for pertinent information. Trees make a great Gift and Gift recipients will receive a certificate from Black Coral pronouncing the gift with number to schedule planting date. (Please identify if trees are to be gifts.)

Most established fruit trees will need about an inch or so of rainfall every 7-10 days in order to grow and be healthy. Annually this would mean a minimum from 36 – 52 inches of rain. Periods of drought can harm the tree while long periods of rain can cause diseases such as scab and canker for apple trees. The greater Boston area gets an average of 45 inches of rain annually. Soil analysis is also necessary to make sure fruit grown will be healthy for human consumption.

Most of Massachusetts has growing zones ranging from 5a to 7b but on average the Boston area is 7b. This means it is temperate and temperatures get cooler the further north and away from the coastal shoreline one plants. The higher the zone number the warmer the weather for growing. Some of the best fruit trees able to grow in Massachusetts include apples, pears, American persimmons, plums, cherries, and peaches.

The first Roxbury Russet apple tree sprung up around 1635 in the small town of Roxbury near Boston. The Roxbury Russet apple tree is considered one of our oldest American fruit trees still being grown today. Excellent old cider apple, a fine keeper and good for eating fresh out of hand. The Roxbury Russet apple is medium to large fruit, greenish, sometimes bronze tinged skin sometimes covered with yellowish-brown russet. The Roxbury Russet apples are remarkable for it's amount of sugar. Firm, slightly coarse, fairly tender, yellowish-white flesh. Tree medium to large, a good cropper on rich soils. Roxbury Russet apples display resistance to scab and cedar apple rust. Bears amazingly large crop every year, but don't pick too early or the sugars will fail to develop.

Common persimmon is a native tree of the southeastern U. S. that reaches its northern range edge in Connecticut (a few introduced populations have been observed in Massachusetts). It is planted for its tasty orange fruits, which ripen in September and are good fodder for birds and humans. The American persimmon tree (known as Diospyros Virginiana) is native to eastern United States and not only decorates the landscape beautifully, but also produces tasty, rich, healthy fruit. The fruit matures late in the fall and can stay on the tree until winter. Additionally, it is hardy for zone 5.

Green Gage is European plum variety, which also known as ‘Reine Claude’. The fruit has small to medium size with yellowish green skin color. The fruit is juicy and very sweet. It has very rich flavor and considered the best dessert plum. It is self-fertile. It is susceptible to brown rot. It grows USDA cold hardiness zone 5.Growing Green Gage plums is much the same as growing other plum tree cultivars. Plant bare-root Green Gages in early spring when the tree is still dormant. Container-grown trees can be planted at any time during the year. Situate the tree in a sheltered, sunny area of the garden with well-draining, fertile soil a plus .Grows 12 to 18 feet high.

Black cherry (Prunus serotina) is also known as wild black cherry, mountain black cherry, and rum cherry. The fruit has been used to flavor rum and brandy (“cherry bounce”). Their small fruits are edible and are eaten raw and used in wine and jelly. Moreover, it leaves, twigs, bark, and seeds produce a cyanogenic glycoside. In fact, the inner bark, where the glycoside is concentrated, was used historically in the Appalachians as a cough remedy, tonic, and sedative. Black cherry wood is a rich reddish-brown color and is strong, hard, and close-grained. Additionally, it’s one of the most valued cabinet and furniture woods in North America.

For bare root trees in hardiness zones 7 and below, plant when the tree is dormant and when the ground is thawed, hence early spring. If you plant in the fall, you risk having a very harsh winter damage and kill the trees before their roots establish themselves in the soil. In the summer the low moisture and high heat may cause stress and damage. Therefore you can plant once the ground thaws and there is no rain or snow. Depending on your region, this can be anytime between February to May. If you are planting in a container and not bare root, you are more flexible since you’ll be planting with the soil that the roots have established themselves in. However even with a container, be careful during the winters since the ground can’t be frozen and it shouldn’t be too wet. If the cherry trees have been in transport for more than 4 days, be sure to soak them immediately in water for 6-24 hours and plant them immediately after. Feel free to add organic matter such as compost to your soil to increase nutrients. However do not add fertilizer directly to the soil the tree’s roots will touch this tip goes for most fruit trees.

Bosc is old European pear variety. The fruit is medium-sized with a long neck. The russetted fruits are crisp and firm. Fruit is juicy with a very good aroma. The tree bears regularly and abundantly and the quality will improve during storage. Sunlight is key the more the better. Bosc pear trees do best in full sun, with at least six to eight hours of direct light a day. Bosc pears need 1 to 2 inches of water a week, either from rain or supplemental watering. Apple and pear trees come in both cross-pollinating and self-pollinating varieties, and if you choose cross-pollinating, you'll need at least two of the same trees to produce fruit. Bosc Pears are not self-fertile. You will need to plant another variety to achieve fruiting. The flowers emerge between April and May, so 'Conference', 'Williams Christ' pear or 'Clapp's Favorite' are ideal pollinators of 'Bosc' pear trees.

Black Coral Inc will pair its Bosc with conference or a Clapp;s pear tree. A Conference pear is a variety of British pear. It is an autumn cultivar of the European pear. Named for the British National Pear Conference in 1885, Europeans still gather to praise it. This leading French commercial variety is very juicy, sweet and buttery. It is the most productive pear, hanging from the branch in huge banana-like clusters. It is perfect for preserves and canning. Clapp's Favorite, a hardy vigorous tree has an upright growth habit and produces large, sun-yellow pears with a red cheek. Fruit is juicy with a fine sweet texture, ideal for fresh-eating and canning. Harvest a week or two before Bartlett. Originates from Massachusetts in the late 1800s. Harvest in late August. Best pollinator: Beurre Bosc! Attractive, large yellow fruit matures in October.

For more information about Summer Jobs or to receive or 2024 digital newsletter with full program information and scheduling info for tree planting join website and send email or chat directly to Black Coral Inc staff. NOTE: Black Coral Inc utilizes New England Specialty Soil Testing Facility in Lancaster MA as well as Hub Testing consulting and environmental testing service on all properties to make sure the soil is safe to plant crops for human consumption. Hub Testing is a Woman owned Business Enterprise (WEB).


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