Popular Mayhaw Selections Listed below are some of the best selections found, or developed over the past 20 years. Mr. Billy Craft, Reuben "Spec" Sherrill and Johnny Smith conferred to create the list based on their many years of combined research. The list is not all-inclusive. It is recognized that manymay perform better in one region rather than another due to differences in soil composition, temperature variances and the amount of pest and, or disease control needed in an area.Selections may be added to this list, or replace some on it, as new hybrids are developed or new selections are discovered in the wild. While all mayhaws have some susceptibility to fire blight, with proper care, this malady can be controlled. Some trees are more or less susceptible as stated below.
1. Maxine - A very good selection found by Mr. James Eaves near DeRidder La. It is a large-fruited (.8 inch), red mayhaw. Maxine is a very late bloomer, blooming around March 20. Tree shape is excellent, naturally forming an inverted umbrella shape. A consistent heavy producer, uniform ripening, shattering (fruit drop) is very low. 95% of the fruit can be harvested at one shaking. Maxine is very resistant to fire blight. Many growers believe Maxine to be about the best tree ever taken from the wild.
2. Red Champ - A Billy Craft selection following 20 years of hybridizing. This is a very large-fruited (.9 inch), dark red mayhaw. A very productive selection, ripening is very uniform and shattering is very low. Peak blooming of this variety is about March 15, directly between Maxine and Double G. 95% of fruit can be harvested with one shaking. Fire blight resistance has shown to be very good. This is a super tree taking the best qualities from Maxine and Double G.
3. Double G - Another Billy Craft selection, being a cross between Texas Star and Royal Star. The fruit is dark red with a strawberry colored pulp. This is an easy tree to grow with nearly perfect tree form with no manual shaping needed. This tree produces at an early age, one to two years prior to other varieties. Peak of blooming is about March 10. Fruit holds very well on the tree and 95% can be harvested with one shaking. It has some susceptibility to fire blight, but seemingly not as much as its parents.
4. Surprise - This is another super tree from Billy Craft created at the same time as Red Champ. It has large fruit, very productive, later than Red Champ, similar in growing speed as Maxine. Heavy producer, at least as productive as Red Champ and seems as resistant to fire blight as Maxine. Its slow growth caused it to be overlooked .and when it produced it was a big, pleasant "Surprise."
5. Royal Star - A Bobby Talbert selection from Gist Texas. Fruit is a deep red, nearly purple mayhaw. It averages .75 inch in size. Royal Star is a very productive, uniform ripening mayhaw. Shatter resistance is very good with this tree and 95% of the fruit can be harvested at one time. Peak of blooming is after the very early varieties, but before the late ones. One attractive feature of this tree is the fact that it is completely thornless. It is susceptible to fire blight.
6. Spectacular - Another large fruited thornless discovered by Bobby Talbert from East Texas. Fruit is larger than a quarter, the largest we cultivate. Production seems to vary based on factors encountered by different growers. This selection must have a pollinator, such as Texas Star or Royal Star. Peak blooming occurs early. Tree form is good, fruit holds well and a high percentage can be harvested with one shaking. This variety has shown to be very fire blight resistant. Fruit will bruise easily.
7. Lil Deb - From the same neighborhood as Maxine, this inappropriately named tree (since it is without thorns) is a super early producer. Fire blight resistant and producing very large, fancy red fruit, it holds on the tree well and has a spendid shape.
8. Red Beauty 3 - From a large well shaped tree, very resistant to fire blight and a fairly heavy producer. Medium sized blood red fruit, 95% holding on tree until shaken. This fruit has given the highest Brix count (sugar content, strength of solution) of any we've tested. Great for improving the quality of jelly or any product made from the juice.
MAYHAW GROWING TIPS
Location – Don’t necessarily use the wettest place on your property to plant mayhaws. Plant where you would plant other fruit trees. Soil ph of 6.0 – 6.5 seems to be optimal. You can have your soil analyzed and get with your county agent on the best way to add supplements if needed. Spacing- you need an area large enough to give the trees and you room- it doesn’t seem like it when they are small, but you need to space them about 25’ x 25’. You need to consider having enough space at the ends of the rows to turn your tractor with cutting equipment attached. Is there adequate sunlight? Your trees need about 8 hours of sunlight per day. It’s better to have morning sunlight with any shading to occur in late afternoon. Do you or your neighbors have cedar trees? Cedar trees can cause apple cedar rust or quince rust in the spring. This will damage your fruit and get into the limbs causing cankers and damaging the tree. This can be controlled with Rally or other chemicals. Old pear trees nearby with fire blight can spread and do major damage to mayhaws. Cutting back affected limbs, removing them and burning them is necessary along with spraying. A.M. Leonard is selling a product called Agrifos now, which works systemically. Rampart is another systemic product like Agrifos to fight and/or prevent fire blight.
Trees- Become familiar with the varieties available. Right now, my picks are Maxine and the new Red Champ. Double G, Spectacular and the new Surprise are others I have to have in my orchard. You can get unbelievable yields from these trees and they seem to be the most fire blight resistant trees available. Big beautiful fruit- you just get a higher quality fruit which carries over to the juice and jelly you get from them. However, there are several other great trees available. With proper care, and hopefully, with systemic Agrifos and Rampart available now, fire blight can be controlled and varieties like G-5, G-1 and Red Majesty can thrive. I have some G-2 (Spectacular) which have shown a good resistance to fire blight. I’m using them in the line-up for hybridization. Cajun, a super late bloomer, produces small fruit but is very productive-makes excellent juice. If there are other growers in your area, you may learn which trees perform well for them. I plant my trees flat, just using the native soil there when I put them in. They should get used to the soil they will be growing in. I water them in with root stimulator and scatter in about a tablespoon of 8-24-24 when planting in the spring. During the winter, I just water them in with root stimulator. You can use a tablespoon of Osmacote when planting instead, as it is time released. I stake them for about 3 years to try to keep them straight. This encourages limbs to form equally on each side. I fertilize larger trees with straight Phosphorus and Potassium. I try to limit or eliminate adding Nitrogen to fruit bearing trees due to it promoting sudden growth and that promoting fire blight. Keep the grass away. Grass and trees are natural enemies. Grass will kill your small trees if it gets the upper hand. Keep suckers cleaned off. They will sometimes pop out near the base or along the trunk. They are energy sappers.
Irrigation- You will have to provide some type of irrigation system, whether for a few fruit trees in your yard or for a large orchard. An easy and affordable method is to purchase roll out water line and insert drip emitters at each tree. It is critical that young trees have plenty of moisture as they are developing their root systems and older trees can be severely stressed if they go through a drought. Stress from drought can affect their growth and fruiting ability in the future and leave them susceptible to insect pests as well.
Pruning- I don’t prune much for the first two or three years. I then try to begin opening up the center and eliminating limbs which cross over. You want to prune so that eventually, your lowest limb starts about 4 feet up. Limbs of some varieties need training in order to open them up, or angle out rather than up. Ideally, your limbs angle upward at about 60 degrees. Maxine and Double G naturally open out like an upside down umbrella, which is what you want. I generally do major pruning in winter, some minor in early spring and some more after harvest.
Pests- In the spring, for my older trees (3 years old and older), I mix a cocktail spray, which I spray 4 times, every 5 days, starting about Feb. 5th. I use products like Rally, Rampart and a Bayer insecticide. This should cover just before and during some of the bloom time. I’m fighting cedar rust, fire blight, plum curculio and aphids. I also recommend making a white wash for trunks of young trees. You can apply it to older trees as well. I do this in Fall or Winter. I purchase the cheapest white latex paint I can find, add two parts water and some insecticide like Bayer to the watered down paint. I apply it to the trunk at least up to the bottom limb. This helps prevent sun scalding to the bark, which will crack and invite pear borers to infest your tree. Pear borers are difficult to deal with once they enter and most trees die within a few years.
Mayhaw Fertilization by Billy Craft – applied in early August
Phosphorus = 2 pounds/1000 sq. ft. of tree covering
Postash= 3 pounds/1000 sq. ft. of tree covering
Mayhaw tree covering 400 sq. ft. (20ft. X 20ft.)
40% of 2 pounds = .8 pound -- Note 1 pint of phosphorus = 1 pound
Amount = .8 pint/tree
Mayhaw tree covering 400 sq. ft. (20ft. X20ft.)
40 percent of 3 pounds = 1.2 pounds -- Note 1 pint of potash = 1 pound
Amount = 1.2 pints/tree
Example (young tree 3-4 years old) -- 10ft. X 10ft. = 100 sq. ft.
10 percent of 3 pounds = 4.8 ounces
Amount = 4.8 oz./tree
Based on recommendations used in large apple orchards.