Fruit trees branch out in popularity at annual sale
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent April 5, 2014 11:38PM
Advanced Master Gardener James Beversdorf, right, helps package up a Douglas fir tree for Doug Kenbok, his wife, Anna, and son Fredrik Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the Porter County Expo Center during the extension services annual tree sale. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 8, 2014 9:34AM
VALPARAISO — Doug and Anna Kenbok last stopped by the annual tree sale several years ago, but a recent move from Porter Township necessitated another shopping spree.
The Kenboks, accompanied by son Fredrik, 7, bought Douglas fir trees and 50 arborvitaes.
“We came here 13 years ago and recently moved to Crown Point, so we have to start over with the trees,” Anna Kenbok said Saturday at the Porter County Expo Center during the sale, sponsored by the advisory board for the county’s extension service. “We had great success with trees from the sale.”
The board ordered 2,000 trees for the sale and about one-third of those were presold, said extension educator Annetta Jones, adding the sale has been an annual event for at least 15 years.
“Historically, we had a lot of people asking for apple, but we did see an increase in demand for cherry and peach trees,” she said, adding both those varieties sold out.
The sale also included hardwood varieties, evergreens and some other goodies, including berry bushes and asparagus plants.
Beth and Joe Johnston of Union Township came by for a raspberry bush and the asparagus.
They come to the sale when they remember, and have gotten fruit trees and arborvitaes in the past.
“It’s cheap and it’s easy,” Joe Johnston said.
“Plus, they give you all the directions on how to take care of it,” Beth Johnston added.
That’s where John Fischer, an advanced master gardener, came in. He worked the fruit tree booth, offering advice on how to take care of the trees. He has about 100 fruit trees on his property outside of Lacrosse in LaPorte County.
Because of the harsh winter, a lot of the ground is still frozen and not ready for any kind of tree planting, he said, though areas in the sun may have thawed.
“For now, if you can’t plant them, keep the roots moist,” he said, adding that could be done with straw or mulch.