Native and Garden Flora
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~ personal observations ~
I may occasionally go off topic.
website: https://cultivar.guide
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European plums from a well-established seedling tree (purple) and the variety ‘Pearl’, which was grafted 3 years ago. This is the first year it produced, and I got about 2 dozen small, yellow plums from it. I prefer the flavor of the seedling, although I find them a bit too acidic at times, but Pearl is distinct enough to appreciate. It has a musky flavor, sometimes with a hint of apricot.
Edelweiss (green) and Vanessa grapes. I don’t have much to say about Vanessa. The vine is pretty much cursed for various reasons, none of which I will get into right now, so I haven’t had many, and I doubt most of those I have were near their peak. Regardless, they can be quite good, but I feel the same about a number of America hybrids. The varieties offered have a lot of variation in flavor you can’t get at the store.

While I won’t say that it is my favorite, Edelweiss is the most intriguing one I have tried. It develops a unique flavor in my Dfb climate, one that doesn't make me think of a grape, but only if they are left on the vine for quite awhile. It also demonstrates greater resistance to pest and disease than most of those I have observed, but it does have one significant flaw. While edible, I don’t know of a variety with harder seeds, which makes for a harsh experience if you harvest them shortly after they ripen, since their acid content is still relatively high at the time.
A study done to determine if Japanese beetles have a stronger preference for certain grape varieties. Out of the 32 varieties tested, the leaves of Edelweiss and Concord Seedless (image related) were some of the least attractive, which is, year after year, something I have observed as well. However, they preferred Reliance slightly less in the study, which is different from my experience.

The main anomaly I see is that Vanessa was greatly preferred over these three in my area. In fact, they seem to prefer Vanessa just as much, if not more, than sweet cherries, but in the study, their preference for Vanessa wasn’t much greater.

I can’t comment on the more shaded varieties on their list that I have some recollection of, since Japanese beetles prefer leaves that have good sun exposure. They are also said to prefer leaves that are thin and glossy, which would help explain why they don’t care for Edelweiss and Concord Seedless as much (Vanessa is thinner, but it’s not glossy).

https://bit.ly/aril_grapes_jb
This is a pretty good article on Japanese beetles. It includes biological control methods, from bacteria to nematodes, and information about parasitic wasps that have been introduced to the United States.

The one thing that has really caught my eye was the use of Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae, which I wanted to experiment with this year, but I completely forgot about it. I did use kaolin clay (Surround) on a few grape vines last year, which is a product the article does not cover. Basically, if there wasn't too much rain, an application would deter the beetles rather effectively for about a week before they started to ignore it again, even though the leaves looked like they were still covered fairly well. I have also thought about keeping the vines quite small and simply throwing a mosquito net over them, since the beetles appear to be rather clumsy.

https://academic.oup.com/jipm/article/13/1/2/6503655
While the quality of the Shinsui Asian pear is very good, the wood is quite susceptible to the bacterium “pseudomonas” in cool, wet weather, which is what I experience for an exceedingly long duration during spring. It seems that, there is only one reason why this tree was able to survive, and it’s because I grafted one to a well-established rootstock roughly 4 feet off the ground. Pseudomonas on Asian pear has not reached anything over 3 feet at my location (as of yet). Susceptible varieties grafted below that point generally died the spring after. Other people in the east seem to have had better luck, probably because they live in a warmer region (some may have grafted high as well), but I would rather rely on varieties that have demonstrated greater disease resistance, even if I have to sacrifice on quality to do it.
Jupiter grape is currently my favorite American hybrid. The flavor is similar to some of those at the store, but it is fruitier and generally more astringent. Unfortunately, I have had some trouble with dieback in an area that frequently experiences zone 5a temperatures, but it is holding up well enough to keep around for awhile. It is possible the vine wasn't as tolerant of the cold as it could have been due to extensive leaf damage and some exposure to shade during the grow season, since Jupiter only experienced "some" dieback after being exposed to -26F during a trial in Indiana.
The University of Arkansas’ latest table grape ‘Compassion’ compared to their other releases.

Compassion was considered to be nearly as good in flavor as their top rated variety (Jupiter). However, Compassion has a much firmer texture and, unlike Jupiter, is said to rarely be astringent.

One of the most important advantages of Compassion is a later bud break, 6-10 days after Jupiter in Arkansas, which helps them avoid frost damage. The cold hardiness of the vine itself is unknown, but it is not expected to be as tolerant as Jupiter (refer to my previous post for details).

Disease resistance was not properly tested since fungicides were used, but Jupiter struggled with leaf disease on occasion when Compassion did not, implying that it is more resistant. Fruit diseases were not mentioned, but Compassion forms tighter clusters, which can encourage problems.

https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/53/3/article-p401.xml
Yoinashi Asian pears don’t have as much flavor as Shinsui, but they are said to have greater resistance to disease, which has been my experience. Both varieties were grafted next to each other on one well-established rootstock just over 2ft off the ground a few years back. Shinsui died immediately the next spring from a pseudomonas infection of the wood, but Yoinashi never displayed signs of the disease.

Fireblight is the other disease Yoinashi is mentioned for having at least some resistance to, and it is one of the few Asian pears known to possess resistance to both. However, (while its texture is fine) it is often implied that it may not be as good in quality as the others, but I opted for Yoinashi because I figured it would be a better fit for my climate, since it doesn’t seem to be as reliant on heat.
Chang Bai hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) produces large berries compared to most varieties from this species, but their quality is pretty average if not variable. While I like the aesthetic of the vine, I much prefer the flavor of Anna, which isn't quite ready yet.
Forwarded from Native and Garden Flora
Jupiter grape is currently my favorite American hybrid. The flavor is similar to some of those at the store, but it is fruitier and generally more astringent. Unfortunately, I have had some trouble with dieback in an area that frequently experiences zone 5a temperatures, but it is holding up well enough to keep around for awhile. It is possible the vine wasn't as tolerant of the cold as it could have been due to extensive leaf damage and some exposure to shade during the grow season, since Jupiter only experienced "some" dieback after being exposed to -26F during a trial in Indiana.
Fall colors helped me spot nearly a dozen more wild gooseberry plants that I was previously not aware of. Strangely, every one I did know about is still primarily green and are only turning yellow.