The Oldest & Largest Grower of
Muscadine Vines

HOW TO PLANT AND GROW STRAWBERRY PLUGS

Strawberry PlugsStrawberries are becoming one our favorite plants. I can not think of any other plant that you can plant in the fall and begin harvesting fresh berries the following Spring.
Most fruiting plants and trees have to grow for several years to either reach maturity or they must be trellised and trained to establish the framework necessary for fruit
production.

With our strawberry plugs, you plant in October and the arrival of fresh, sweet berries begin the following spring. Now that I hopefully have your attention, I would like to go
over the details of successfully planting strawberry plugs and the care they require.

 

This is a Strawberry Plug.   There are 50 Plugs per tray.

First we need to choose a location:
It needs to get plenty of sunshine and is weed free. Strawberry plants will grow well in many different soil types; we recommend that the soil has good drainage. If the soil does not drain well then the plants should be planted on raised beds. Strawberries also like organic matter (manure, compost, or peat moss) that has a ph in the 6.5 range. We recommend at least 5% of the soil be composted with peat moss or compost. Once the location is prepared, you are ready to start planting your strawberry plugs.

Space your plugs 12-18 inches apart in the row; optimal row spacing is 3-4 ft. Set the plants in the row with the root ball facing straight down. The middle of the crown should be level with the soil line. Soil should be well watered after planting to set the plants in the ground but try not to water the plugs directly. After the soil has been watered properly the soil line should be level with the bottom of the crown on the plant.

Second maintain good weed control:
The easiest method to control weeds is called plasticulture. Place black plastic over the raised beds and plant the strawberry plugs through holes punched in the top of the plastic. This will improve weed control from growing around your strawberry plants, help conserver soil moisture, and keep the fruit clean. You may also choose to cultivate around your plants, keeping them free of weeds and this method would not require the use of plastic

The third step is fertilization:
Fertilizer is used to maintain soil fertility and maximize plant growth and fruit production. We recommend using 1/2 lb of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet to be worked into the soil prior to planting your plugs. We also offer a specialized water soluable strawberry fertilizer.

The fourth and final step is mulching:
Strawberries are perennial plants that must survive the weather conditions throughout
the winter to survive. Mulching strawberry plants help prevent quick freezing and thawing which can affect plant survival. Mulch maintains a large volume of dead air spaces, which help insulate the plants through cooler temperatures. The best mulching materials to use are wheat straw or hay. You should mulch the plants in mid to late November when the plants have started to go dormant. We need to obtain a 2 inch layer to provide adequate protection; the mulch should stay on the plants until the tops of the crowns put out new growth in the Spring.

Advantages of planting Strawberry Plugs
Plugs do not have to be planted immediately; can be kept in trays until you are
ready to plant
 Average loss rate of plugs is only 1-2% compared to 15-20% for bareroot plants
 Plugs have an intact root ball so they are easier to plant
 Plugs establish more quickly minimizing transplant shock
 Best of all, you plant in the fall and harvest in the spring

 www.isons.com
http://store.isons.com/strawberry-plugs

Reserve your Strawberry Plugs now for Oct delivery
Reserve your Strawberry Plugs now for Oct delivery
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Fall Muscadine Maintenance
Muscadine vines are just about to finish the harvest for the season, but the work for the season is not over yet. There is still maintenance to be done until the vines go completely dormant. Hopefully following these tips will ensure a productive harvest for 2013.

Water:
1) This time of year the vines are exhausted from ripening the season’s harvest, in years past the accepted watering schedule for vines in the fall was to stop irrigating once the harvest was over. The mind set was to stop watering so the vines would harden off and be prepared for winter. In my opinion this is one of the most harmful things a grower can do. After harvest we want to keep as much stress off the vines as possible, if the weather is warm and dry and we stop irrigating we are putting stress on a vine that has been under pressure from the ripening of the fruit. During the months of October and November we recommend continuing to irrigate at a rate of 8 to 10 gallons of water per week if the weather conditions are warm and dry. If we are getting adequate rainfall then irrigation is not necessary. Once the vines have dropped their leaves then irrigation should not be resumed until the spring of 2012.

2. Removal of fruit:
Any fruit left hanging on the vine that will not be harvested should be removed.  If left on the vine the fruit will rot or mummify (become raisin like) on the vine. This rotting fruit can lead to a build up of disease over the winter and will be present in the spring. If you do not remove the fruit you will have much more disease pressure such as ripe rot or macrophema rot that can affect next years harvest.

Many vines will also have what are called “shot berries”, these are grapes that get about as big as a dime and are green and will not ripen on the vine. They are the product of the vine either trying to set a second crop or late blooms being pollinated but do not have enough time allowed for the ripening of the fruit. Any green or shot berries should also be removed this time of year.

Pre-emergent herbicides:
3. This is a great time of year to apply pre-emergent herbicides if you choose. Simazine can be used this time of year for control of annual broadleaf weeds and some annual grasses. By applying a fall pre-emergent herbicide it will lower the amount of weeds the following spring. Always follow labeling instructions prior to application.

4. Do not prune too early:
For years we pruned our vines beginning after the Thanksgiving Holiday. But through trial, error and experience we have found the best time to prune muscadine vines is from mid January to mid March. We have found that a vine that has not been pruned can handle colder temperatures or big swing in temperatures better than a vine that has been pruned. In general we experience our coldest temperatures from late December-January, by pruning later we are giving our plants a better chance of coming through the winter with little or no cold weather damage.

Remove plant shelters:
5. If you are using the blue x plant shelters and your vines have reached the top wire, now is the ideal time to remove the shelters.

On a planting report we have a beautiful crop of muscadine vines this year, so if you are thinking about adding a few vines or considering planting some acreage now is a good time to begin getting your orders in.  Take advantage of the Early Bird Discount by ordering before December 1st.  The all new 2013 Catalog will be available later today on our website – check it out or request one to be mailed to you.

I hope these tips will ensure an abundant crop for 2013.

Greg Ison

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Muscadines

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Muscadines, The Next Big Thing ?

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Muscadine Varieties

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How To Grow Great Peaches

It's Time To Plant Peach Trees

Enjoy the sweet taste of summertime.
Grow your own peaches at home.

Peaches are sweet, juicy, great in cobblers and even better in ice cream, but they do come with some challenges.  Of all the fruits peach trees are perhaps the most challenging to the home gardener to grow because of the spraying and pruning required in order to be successful.

Planting and Pruning Peach Trees:
Dig a good hole and make sure that the graft on the tree is 2 inches above the ground level.  At planting you should prune the tree to the height of your knee, make a clean cut. The peach tree should be about 30 inches tall.  I know you hate to buy a tree that is 4 to 5 foot tall and then prune it to 30 inches but it is necessary to develop the proper branching that is required.  In the spring the tree will begin to branch out and we want 3 to 4 primary branches growing from the trunk at least at 45 degree angles.  Ideally we want the branching to occur on each side of the tree and if the angles are less than 45 degrees those branches should be removed.  In other words, we do not want the branches to grow too vertically we want them to grow our similir to an upside down umbrella.  At the end of the first growing season save the 3 or 4 primary branches and prune out any vertical growth.

Spray Schedule
Peaches are notorious for brown spots, bruising and worms.  Most people either do not like to spray or it is unfamiliar territory and are not comfortable with fungicides and insecticides. Our fruit tree spray makes everything simple.  It contains captan which is a fungicide to control diseases and malathion which will control insects.

Peach Tree Spray Program
1st Spray – When the green tips show up in the spring
2nd Spray – When the blooms have swollen but not yet opened
3rd Spray – When the blooms are completely open and pink
4th Spray – When the blooms / petals have fallen off
5th Spray – Cover spray – when fruit is on the tree
6th Spray – 2 weeks after the first cover spray

The fruit tree spray has an interval of 1 week from the last spray to harvest but the earlier sprays are the most important.

For those that do not like to use chemicals you can use metal products to keep the peach

It's Time To Plant Peach Trees!

It’s Time To Plant Peach Trees.
Order yours today.
Fruiting plants make great Christmas gifts.

tree and fruit clean.  Copper or cocide is a metal based spray that will keep the peach tree and fruit clean if used properly.  Do Not use if the temperatures exceed 90 degrees – If you do the copper can burn the leaves and all of the leaves will fall off. Make sure to use copper based products either early in the morning or late in the evening.  

We also recommend a dormant spray on peach trees in the month of January.

Fertilizer
Peach trees love to grow.  I recommend using 1 lb. of 10-10-10 in early April and follow up with a 1/2 lb. of calcium nitrate mid-summer.  On an average year the peach tree will grow 5 to 6′ tall by the end of the summer.

Let’s grow some peach trees together!

Greg Ison
Ison’s Nursery & Vineyard
www.isons.com 

 

 

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Winter Fruit Tree Care

pruning image

A good spray program includes using a dormant oil spray during winter pruning or any time before bud break.  We recommend applying Hi-Yield Dormant Oil Spray in late winter or early spring. Application of this spray protects apples, pears, cherries and grapes from scale, mealy bugs, aphids, mites and pear-pyslla. If you are growing peaches, plums and nectarines, consider applying Hi-Yield Lime Sulfur Spray to prevent leaf curl. The first spray of the season is a crucial for a healthy fruit tree.  It’s important to spray thoroughly the entire tree.

Winter Pruning: New Fruit Trees:
Start your  fruit tree off right by  pruning when planting.  The primary reason we do this is to keep the fruit tree in balance with its root system especially when planting.  If there is an imbalance it can cause the tree to be stunted. It also helps the fruit tree to bear fruit sooner.

Pruning the fruit tree stimulates growth. You will have a stronger more vigorous tree after a single growing season.  A pruned tree will be bigger than a matching unpruned tree. Begin shaping your fruit trees early.  Their natural growth tendency is not always the best for maximum fruit production.

Winter Fruit Tree Pruning:
Prune fruit trees in mid-late winter.  Remove weak, injured or narrow- angle branches, the
weaker of any crossing or interfering branches, and one branch of forked limbs.   You want to keep your tree from becoming too thick and crowded. 

Train young trees to grow in a spreading shape.  Keep in mind the image of a mature tree as you prune away buds or twigs.  Your goal is to develop a strong tree with a branch structure strong enough to support heavy crops.  You also want to prune so that plenty of sunshine gets in.  You do not want the branches to be so thick and tight that sunlight cannot reach the fruit.  Prune to admit more light to the center of the fruit tree.

Central Leader – Apples and pears, which bear heavy fruit, are often trained to form aPruning-Methods-For-fruit-Trees central leader. This system encourages one main trunk with strong side branches. Maintain open space between limbs and thin secondary branches to allow sunlight and air to reach the center of the tree. As the trees age, it is possible to switch to a modified central leader training which requires less annual pruning. In orchards, these trees are sometimes pruned to a lower and wider modified leader form from the start. Much depends on how you want the tree to look in your yard.

Modified Leader – Begin pruning the same way as the central leader form with one strong central trunk. In the second or third year allow more than one strong branch to grow forming several leaders. The modified leader system may be easier to maintain since many fruit trees tend to grow this way naturally. It is recommended for cherries and plums.

Open Vase Method  works well for peaches, nectarines and apricots. This method opens up the center of the tree to let light and air in but can create weaker branches and is not recommended for apples and pears. Avoid several limbs growing from nearly the same point on the trunk or weak crotches will result. Space the principal limbs out over as much area of the trunk as possible.

Ison’s Nursery & Vineyards offer many varieties of fruit trees, berry plants, nut trees and grape vines.

Including Muscadine Vines, Blueberry Plants, Blackberry Plants, Raspberry Plants, Fruit Trees, Apple Trees, Plum Trees, Peach Trees, Pear Trees, Olive Trees, Pomegranate Trees, Persimmon Trees, Berry Plants, Grape Vines.

Winter Pruning for Muscadine Vines 

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Muscadines, The Next Big Thing?

Muscadines could be one of the the last frontiers.

Muscadines

Muscadine grapes are only available a short time each year and the demand for them continues to grow. There are many ways to market your fruit.

Being a business owner I am always looking for the next big thing or new ways to market or merchandise products. I recently visited a new clothing store in Griffin that is selling clothing lines that up to this point have only been recognized on southern college campuses. Southern Tide, Southern Marsh, and Vineyard Vines clothing lines occupied most of the store. I thought it was brilliant that the business owner was introducing high quality clothes that most people were unaware of the brands. I mean really, who wants to go to a backyard cook out and everyone is wearing either Columbia or Polo shirts.

I know everyone is waiting for my angle so here it comes.
  Did you know that muscadine fruit is only available once a year?

  Did you know that the fruit is only offered in grocery store chains mainly
in the southeast, roughly there are about 12 states that offer the fruit and
usually not on a  consistent basis? Everyone is looking for the next big
thing, an uncovered gem or unlimited marketing capabilities.

Muscadines give the opportunity to introduce a new product to a new target area with little or no competition and it offers health benefits to its consumers. This whole time I have been looking for the next big thing and it has been surrounding me this whole time.

A ten acre planting of muscadines would require about two thousand plants x 50 pounds per plant would equal 100,000 lbs of fruit.

100,000 lbs of fruit would fill about 100,000 clam shells x $2.00/lb would gross revenue about $200,000 for a 10     acre planting. I have not even mentioned the possiblilty of shipping fruit to our Canadian friends to the north or our Latino friends to the south.

I often ask myself why has no one ventured out and grabbed this opportunity. Potential road blocks could be that people outside of the south do not know what muscadines are, logistics or if growers can sell all they can grow in the south why sell to other areas.

We have been active in marketing our vines in all the states that can successfully grow muscadines. I look forward to the time where our fellow Nebraskans or Arizonians go to there local grocer and see muscadines on the shelves. I only hope someone can send me the video of the expression and the results of the moment when they pop the muscadine in their mouth and the juice runs down their chin.

Now that the world is discovering just how healthy muscadines are for you their popularity has soared and we are still at the very beginning. Do a little research on-line and google muscadine health. You will be amazed. Dr. Oz even featured muscadine juice recently as a way to fight cancer on one of his shows.

So if you have just a little bit of land – there is tremendous opportunity with this amazing southern fruit.  We are always available to answer questions or offer advice.

Food for thought,
Greg Ison
ison@isons.com
www.isons.com

fruit stand muscadine in baskets

We have operated a roadside fruit stand for decades. We have 40 acres of muscadines in fruit production. With plans for adding more this year. Muscadine season is early August to mid October in our area.

Ison’s Nursery & Vineyards offer many varieities of fruit trees, berry plants, nut trees and grape vines. Including Muscadine Vines, Blueberry Plants, Blackberry Plants, Raspberry Plants, Fruit Trees, Apple Trees, Plum Trees, Peach Trees, Pear Trees, Olive Trees, Pomegranate Trees, Persimmon Trees, Berry Plants, Grape Vines.

 

 

 

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The Easiest Fruiting Plants To Grow In Your Home Garden

It is a joy to harvest fruit grown from your own fruit trees at home. When it comes to growing fruit trees and  fruiting plants many gardeners can be either intimidated or out of their comfort zone. The biggest challenge for the home gardener usually comes down to pruning and summer maintenance of fruiting plants. I have compiled a list of cultivars that I believe are the easiest for the home Gardener in terms of pruning, spraying, and low maintenance.

Blueberries:
Blueberries are one of the lowest maintenance plants a home gardener can add to their Powderbluelandscape. Blueberry plants have little to no disease or insect issues. They will grow to a height of 8-10 ft tall with a 3-4’ spread. The home gardener can hedge the plants back to control the height if desired. Plant spacing should be 4-6’ apart, in full sun with well drained soil. Blueberry plants like a pH in the 4.5 range. If your pH needs to be corrected you can add peat moss in the hole when planting your blueberries then mulch with pine straw. In the summer the plants are graced with plump, juicy, fruit and the fall will add striking color to your landscape. They can be planted as a hedge or grouped in an island similar to the way azaleas and roses are. Blueberry plants are partially self-fertile but will produce more fruit when planted with another variety. Pruning simply involves a light hedging in mid-winter, and removing any interior branches that are crossing one another.

Figs:
Figs are a traditional southern fruit that is easy to gro. Fig trees (bushes) have little to noBrown_Turkey disease or insect issues. Fig trees can grow as tall as 10-12’ tall with a 10-12’ spread. The home gardener can control the height by cutting the tops out of the tree which will lead to more lateral branching. Figs are tolerant of most soil types but grow best in a deep clay loam soil. Figs like a pH in the 6’s and a heavy layer of mulch. Figs produce best with little or no pruning, however branch thinning is recommended to prevent the accumulation of dense unproductive twig growth. Figs ripen in late summer/early fall and are a beautiful addition to your landscape. Figs are self-fruitful. Try growing this fruit tree to see how easy and delicious it really is.

Pomegranates:
Pomegrante and seedsPomegranates are steeped in history and are one of my favorite fall fruits. Pomegranate trees have little to no disease or insect issues.  They grow to a height of 8-10 ft tall with a spread of about 6 ft. The home gardener can control the height of the tree and the spread by hedging back mid-summer and again in the winter months. Pomegranates prefer a more alkaline soil and will grow best in amended soils using a soil conditioner or peat moss. In the early years of planting we recommend pruning the bush to 1/2 of its original height the first 2 winters to promote a strong framework and discourage straggly branches. After the first couple of years the only pruning required will be the removal of low branching and the removal of dead branches. Pomegranates are a self-fruitful fruit tree.

Olives:
Olives are one of the oldest cultivated fruits and steeped in history. There are little or noMission Olivedisease or insect issues on the plant. They will grow to a height over 20’ but most are kept pruned to a height of 8 to 10’. They can grow in any light soil, including clay if well drained. Olive trees prefer a hot summer and a milder winter, if the winter temperatures drop below 14 degrees Fahrenheit the tree may incur some winter injury. Olive trees are drought tolerant and can live and produce olives for decades if properly pruned. Olives ripen in the fall and early winter. The fruit must be cured before consumption.

Persimmons:
shutterstock_121082962Persimmon trees were first introduced into the United States in the 19th Century. There are little or no disease or insect issues on the plant.  They will grow to a height of 12-15’ tall with a spread of 6-8’. The home gardener can control the height and spread of the tree by pruning mid-summer and again in the winter months. Persimmons prefer a soil pH of 6.0-6.5, well drained and fertile. They can tolerate many different soil types but need it well drained and in full sun. As the tree matures, any branches that cross over one another should be removed allowing adequate sunlight and air penetration through the canopy. Persimmon trees live a very long time and make a nice landscape tree. Their beautiful fall color and decorative fruit make a nice addition to any landscape.

Muscadines:
Muscadines are a native plant to the southeast and have little or no disease/insect issues. PamThey love our heat and humidity. Muscadines prefer a pH in the 6’s, and like a well drained soil in full sun . Muscadines do require a wire trellis or an arbor to grow up and down on. The first year there is simple pruning involved to direct the growth up and down the wire. Once the framework is established, a winter pruning is necessary to ensure proper fruit set. Muscadines ripen late summer and early fall. The aroma is sure to attract anyone to their location in the garden. An arbor makes a stunning display in any landscape.

Blackberries:
Blackberries  can be easily grown and require very little space in the garden. They have Ouachitafew disease or insect issues on the plants. Blackberries are tolerant to a wide variety of soil types, they prefer well drained, sandy loam, and a pH in the 6’s. Blackberries produce their crop on the last seasons growth. Once the cane has produced and begins dying back, the cane should be removed and discarded to help reduce disease pressure. Once the old woody canes have been removed, only the vigorous new growth will be remaining. Once the new growth reaches 48-60 inches in height, the canes should be tipped to encourage branching. Plant spacing should be 3-4 ft apart, and average yield would be 1-2 gallons per plant. Delicious

Jujube’s:
Jujube’s are commonly called the Chinese date.  It is an exotic fruit that grows well in mostRipe jujube fruit, commonly called Chinese dates. (submitted photo) APR10 areas of the South. They have little or no disease or insect issues. Jujubes are a nice landscape fruit however most varieties have a few thorns on the tree. Jujubes are adapted to a wide range of soil types and prefer a pH in the 6’s. When eaten fresh the jujube is like a sweet, dry apple. The fruit is about the size of a date and are best eaten when the fruit is half green. Jujubes ripen in the fall. Try this exotic fruit tree.  You will be glad you did.

In my opinion these are the best options for growers who want to grow fruit organically and have little disease or insect issues. All of these selections will add beauty and interest to any garden and will only require minimal maintenance. We hope you have room in your landscape to add one of these great cultivars to your garden.

We are shipping fruit trees, berry plants, nut trees and grapevines now through April.
We have a great inventory this year and the plants are beautiful!  Order yours today.

Keep Growing,

Greg Ison
ison@isons.com

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Do Your Plants Have Gas In Their Tanks ?

fuel-tank-emptyDo you make sure your gas tank is not on “E” before you make a trip to work, shopping, or vacation? One of the first things I do when I get into my vehicle is to make sure I have enough gas to get where I need to go. Fuel is what keeps us going on the road, if we run out of fuel we are going to be stuck.

Plants and trees are the same way, if they do not have adequate fertilizer releasing to their root zones the growth is going to get stuck and the plant is not going to grow to its potential.

Customers tell me all the time that they were told not to fertilize the first year or that theyMuscadine Leaves just did not realize that it was necessary. I have never understood the logic of  “do not fertilize the first year so the plants can get established” to me it is a huge mistake not to encourage as much growth the first year as possible.

The first year of planting we want to encourage as much vegetative growth as possible to establish the framework or the branching of the plant.

On fruit trees if we can encourage 6-7 feet of growth it allows us to choose the branches we wish to keep, develop the scaffold of the tree, and be that much closer to production.

On grapevines it allows us to have the grapevine reach the top of the wire and extend down the wire and be that much closer to production.

On berries it allows us to push the primocanes and to be that much closer to production. The first year we can be the most aggressive because the plants are not of fruit bearing age, so all of the nutrients the plants receive will go strictly to the growth of the plant.

Recommended Fertilizer Schedule on Young Plants and Trees

Isons Custom Fertilizer Blends

Fruit Trees:
1 lb 10-10-10 April 1st,
1 cup calcium nitrate June 1st,  1 lb 10-10-10 July 15th

Raspberry and Blackberries:
1/4 lb. 10-10-10 April 1st,
1/4 calcium nitrate June 1st
1/4 10-10-10 July 15th

Blueberries:
1/4 lb. 10-10-10 April 1st, June 1st, and August 1st

Muscadines and bunch grapes:
1/4 lb. 12-10-10 or 10-10-10 April 1st, May 1st, June 1st, and July 1st

1/4 lb. Calcium Nitrate April 15, May 15th, June 15th, and July 15th

Follow these recommended guidelines to ensure your plants get where they need to go.

Greg Ison
Ison’s Nursery & Vineyard
www.isons.com

Take advantage of the Eary Bird Discount by ordering your fruiting plants by Aug 1, 2013 for winter delivery.

 

Supreme Muscadine

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