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I am interested in planting some trees to produce soft mast for wildlife. What works well in PA? I want something that is hardy and produces fruit with minimal maintenance. I also want the tree to fruit in the fall. I am thinking japanese persimmons, maybe crabapples??
 

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American crabapples will fill the bill, along with regular apples.

PGC sells both at very reasonable prices and a link to their ordering process is usually posted here sometime in January.
 

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Persimmon's would be a good bet. I germintated about 6 over this spring/summer. If they make it throught the winter I'll plant them as seedlings this spring. Be a while before they produce, but when they do. I know where i'll have my tree stand come fall!
 

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Depends what part of the state you're in...

Japanese persimmons are a hair bit more cold weather hardy than American. However, I would only plant either if I was in the lower 1/3 of the state.

I would go with Seckle pears(ripe date Aug 28) and Potomac(ripe date Sept 9). Both are very hardy and later ripening than most pears. The deer will be coming in for them before archery but there should be plenty left by the time archery roles around and by then the apples will be ripe.

For apples I would go with Freedom(ripe date Oct 1), Nova Spy (ripe date Oct 10)and hardy Cumberland(ripe date Nov 15). All three varieties are hardy and mature from beginning of bow season to the end ensuring you have a constant supply of fresh apples falling to the ground to attract deer in. hardy Cumberlands also tend to hang on the tree a while and ours are often still falling well after rifle season meaning the deer are still coming into them late in the season.

I have also found deer love plums. We planted a few late ripening(Sept 20) plums of the President variety.

I like Adams County Nursery which is out of PA. If you don't plan to really take much care of your trees, save the money and just buy run of the mill apples from the PGC or another source.
 

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Between bears, bugs, disease and drought, it's a never ending battle to keep our 30 full size apple trees alive. For whatever reason, our crabapples seem to have less of a problem with all the above and when they do, they seem to recover much faster.
 

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I HATE bears! They are the single biggest PITA I have with fruit and nut trees. 10 years ago, they weren't around and things were great. Then their population blew up and they have been nothing but a PITA since!
 

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Bears are one of the reasons I don't plant fruit trees anymore. They are time consuming and all your hard work can go down the drain real fast if you have bears around. Our resident bear population has exploded in recent years as well making things worse.
 
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