Im having a hard time wrapping my head around why/how retailers would sellfruittrees that may clearly not be suited to fruit in the zones they are labeled to grow in or is that the tree will surely grow but what we dont tell you is that it will never fruit?
I recently purchased some fruit trees from TSC, brought them home and nursed them back to health, not a big job, just basic common sense, Im happy to say that there isnt a single one that hasnt bounced back and is showing new growth with the exception of 2 blue berry bushes which Im guessing are done.
Looking online shortly after purchase I became discouraged to see that nearly all of these tree were suited for very North Fl and above but looking further on some site such as Stark Bros as an example ( pretty reputable company I thought ) they have some listed as being suited for 9A which is my grow zone.
Im confused, is their an unbiased site that shows actual chill hours? University of FL says no way to all of them and lists the chill hours as stupid high compared to some other sites but again they also promote their homegrown varieties.
It would be fantastic to know that my Bartlett pears, Santa Rosa Plum, Elberta Peach and Pink lady apple trees will all bear me fruit but with all the discrepancies I dont know what to believe.
I understand your frustration. I have planted sweet cherries only to dig them up years later because they’re never going to produce. I have trusted stark brothers for plants that I didn’t think would do well. They’ve been right every time.
I was thinking about this recently. That's just what happens with national chain stores, especially the big box farm and hardware stores. They are set up to buy and distribute plants. The additional consideration of growing zones just does not come into play with them. Why should they bother when people will buy them anyway? Menards has a one year return policy on perennials but I'm betting they're betting too few people keep receipts for plants for them to lose money.
I don't own the plants, they own me.
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit