1) Why should I choose PPS Fruit Trees?
PPS Fruit Trees (formerly Prairie Plant Systems) is one of the longest standing propagators with a history of producing the highest quality plants in the industry. We take the time to nurture and grow up our plants to field ready size so you have the best possible chance of success. We want the plants to flourish for you so we never force plants out our door before they are ready. Don’t risk disappoint, choose PPS Fruit Trees when only the highest quality plants are good enough.
2) What size of plant will I receive?
All plants are grown and shipped in square vacuum deep pots that are perfect for growing a plant up to field readiness. The pots are small enough to be easily transported while large enough to all the plant roots plenty of room. Each pot measures about 2.5 inches in diameter and about 3.5 inches deep.
The shipping height of the plants can range from 6-16 inches tall depending on species/variety and the age of the plant. Although height is useful in determining overall vigour, more important is the overall health of the root system. We inspect each plant individually, whether you order 10 or 10,000 plants. We look at each root system to make sure the plant is field ready. If a plant that is 6 inches tall has a more developed root system than a plant that is 12 inches tall, we will always choose the shorter plant with a more advanced root system. This reduces transplant shock increases your success.
3) Are your plants GMO (genetically modified organism)?
No. All of our fruit trees are propagated from diverse collection of cultivars (varieties) developed at the University of Saskatchewan Fruit Program. These cultivars have been selected through controlled crosses (breeding) specifically for their cold hardiness, superior quality, yield and also ease for mechanical harvesting. No genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. All of our fruit trees are propagated under sterile conditions, where plant explants (plant parts) have been sterilized before being placed in a sterile gel-like nutrient medium required for plant growth.
4) Why are tissue culture plants superior and what justifies the cost?
Tissue culture plants are the highest quality of plants one can receive. They are produced in a sterile and clean environment where varieties are true to form and disease free. The higher costs associated with producing plants in this manner ensure you are getting superior plants. Orchard growers demand consistency and uniformity in quality and growth. Only tissue culture can provide large numbers of plants with their exceptional traits. Other propagation techniques have their limitations and are not generally recommended. We want you to have success with your plants and we recommend planting top quality plants so you get it right the first time. Please see “Our Process” for more information on how we produce our plants.
5) Do my plants need another variety to produce fruit?
Some do and some don’t. Both Saskatoon Berry and Dwarf Sour Cherry plants have flowers that are self-pollinating. This means that they can pollinate themselves and their neighbours without the need for a second pollinizer. On the other hand, Haskap flowers are not self-pollinated and a successful orchard will require at least two compatible varieties. The ratio of compatible varieties can be anywhere from 1:1 to 1:5. Any lower of a ratio and you risk poor pollination.
6) When can I expect the plants to produce fruit?
Most plants will take the first year or two to establish a healthy root system deep into the ground. Once the plants feels as though it is strong enough, it will begin putting more energy into flowering. This typically occurs in the third year. Most of our plants reach full maturity 5-7 years after planting. It is not uncommon however to begin receiving small amounts of fruit as early as year 2.
7) How much fruit can I expect from my plants?
The amount of fruit that a plant produces from year to year changes depending on several key factors including climate, weather events and natural cycles.
On average, mature Saskatoon Berry plants will produce 5-10lbs.
On average, mature Dwarf Sour Cherry plants will produce 15-20lbs.
On average, mature Haskap plants will produce 10-15lbs.
Mature fruit trees are considered a minimum 5-7 years old. Since these plants are all long lived, they will produce plenty of fruit for decades to come.
8) How cold hardy are these plants?
We only sell the hardiest plants which were selected and bred for Canadian/northern USA climates. Saskatoon Berry, Haskap and Dwarf Sour Cherry can all withstand winter temperatures below -35 C.
9) Will the plants grow in my area?
Most of our plants are highly adaptable. That being said, we specialize in northern species that are adapted to cold climates. We have customers in zones 1-7 that have each experienced good success. Most of Canada and northern US states fall under this designation. We do not recommend planting these cold hardy fruit trees if you live in a plant hardiness zone of 8 or above. Please see the links below to find your hardiness zone:
1) How should I space my plants/orchard?
Spacing requirements differ depending on several factors. Species selection, harvesting method and land availability are some of the main factors at play when deciding on spacing. Plantings range from a low density of 218 plants/acre up to a high density of 1815 plants/acre. Most orchards would be somewhere in the middle, usually anywhere from 750-1100 plants/acre. Please see our spacing chart for the recommend spacing of each species depending on their method of harvest.
2) What type of soil do my plants need?
Saskatoon Berry and Dwarf Sour Cherry prefer a well-drained sandy loam soil. Adequate moisture is required for both but standing water is not tolerated.
Haskap prefer a soil higher in organic content (5-10%) and higher moisture, but also well drained. A pH just under 7 is preferred so that nutrients are readily available. Don’t fret if your soil does not fit this model scenario however, Haskap are highly adaptable and can tolerate soil conditions outside of what is considered ideal.
3) Do I need to prune my plants?
Our plants do not require heavy pruning but a light thinning is always a good practice to maximize fruit yields. Pruning should always be done a few weeks before bud break in spring. In the 3rd year, top apical meristems can be pruned off to encourage more lateral growth. As the plants ages, prune out older branches to allow more sunlight to reach the inside of the bush. This will encourage more flower buds and increase yields.
4) My Haskap plant’s leaves are turning brown and falling off in late summer. Is it dying?
Not likely. Haskap are a northern species and adapt to their environment. They are often the first to bear leaves/flowers in spring. This adaptability allows them to withstand environmental stresses. The most common stress for Haskap is high heat/light intensity in the middle of summer. When this is combined with low rainfall, Haskap plants have a tendency to shut down and turn brown. This allows the plant to withstand the drought by losing its biggest user of water, the leaves. Once favourable conditions return, the plant will resume growth.
5) Should I worry about birds?
Birds can be a source of frustration for some growers but generally they take relatively few berries and sometimes none at all. The only way to ensure your plants will remain bird-free is to set up bird netting. This can be expensive and unpractical for most growers. While some orchards go the expense of setting up a bird-proof site, most will accept a small amount of loses due to birds and other fruit loving animals. If you find your losses are above acceptable levels, then bird netting may be worthwhile.
6) Why is it important I implement an Integrated Pest Management program?
An integrated pest management program (IPM) is critical to the health of your orchard. The first step is the buy plants from a propagator like PPS Fruit Trees that supplies top quality and disease free stock. The second step is to monitor the plants in the orchard for signs of an issue. Step three is to implement disease/insect control methods. Disease/insect/pest concerns should be dealt with immediately to reduce the risk of further spread. It is often much easier to control a small outbreak than correcting a major problem later. All observations and applications should be recorded for future reference. We highly recommend all of our customers, large or small, implement such a system.
1) Who do you sell your plants to?
Anyone and everyone. We regularly sell plants to customers ranging from backyard gardeners to the largest of orchards. Our minimum order requirement is 10 plants, but that can be any combination of available species/varieties.
2) Do you offer discounts for larger orders?
Yes we do. Any order that is 50 or more total plants qualifies for incremental discounts. Our first price break occurs at 50 total plants but we also have further discounts applicable at 100, 500 and 1000 plants. Large orders allow us to get our volume up and prices down. We then pass these savings on to you.
3) What are royalties?
A royalty is a small fee that is collected and submitted to the plant breeder or organization that developed the cultivar. Most of our plants were bred at the University of Saskatchewan located right here in Saskatoon. Royalty revenues allow the researches to develop new varieties and also reward them for past successes in plant breeding. All species and varieties are protected under Plant Breeder Rights and are grown under license from the plant breeder or organization. Any purchase of our plants comes with the condition that they may not be propagated without license.
1) Can I pick up my order?
Yes you can. However, we do require that all pickups are pre-arranged prior to the pickup date. That way we can have all the plants cleaned and prepared for transport.
2) Is the cost of shipping included?
All shipping costs are paid for by the customer. PPS Fruit Trees will arrange shipping and handle all of the payment details on your behalf prior to the arrival of your order so that the entire experience is stress free.
3) How do you ship?
Most orders under 500 total plants are sent via Canada Post Expedited Service. Since we ship a lot of boxes, we get a favourable rate with Canada Post. Order over 500 plants are typically sent on skids shipping via trucking service (LTL freight).
4) How safe is shipping?
Shipping is very safe. For all orders sent by courier, we package all plants into a snug cardboard sleeve so that interior movement is greatly reduced. All boxes are clearly labelled as fragile/perishable so handlers can take the necessary precautions.
5) What are the shipping periods?
Although there is no set date, our shipping season typically begins in early April for select locations. We have two primary shipping period; spring (April, May and June) and fall (September and October). In a typical year, the end of October marks the end of our shipping season for most locations. However, those in zone 7-8 may receive plants up to mid November.
6) Do you ship plants to the United States?
Yes, we do. We ship select species/varieties of plants into USA. All Saskatoon Berry varieties and nearly all Haskap varieties are authorised for US bound shipments. Please note that as of fall 2016, Dwarf Sour Cherry is not listed on our USA order forms. All USA bound orders have a minimum purchase requirement of 25 plants. You can combine any number of available species/varieties to achieve that number.
All USA bound shipments are sent in fall. This provides the benefit of a less stressful shipping environment for the plants which is especially important for cross border travel. And don't forget that fall is a great time to plant.
7) Do you ship plants to Europe?
Yes, we do. All Saskatoon Berry varieties and nearly all Haskap varieties are authorised for Europe bound shipments. Please check your local import regulations to see what species are allowed and what are restricted. All European orders are sent “in vitro” which means they come as plantlets in jars/test tubes. We also have a minimum order requirement of 1000 plantlets for Europe orders. Contact us for more details.