Planting Time Ref
Intro InfomySA: Fruit trees that survive Citrus make desirable lawn and container trees but have varying degrees of cold tolerance. The species in descending order of cold tolerance are:
Calamondin fruit is small and sour. Use the plant for an 8-foot-tall evergreen hedge and use the fruit as you would lemons in cooking. Satsuma mandarins are very productive large sweet fruit. They can tolerate temperatures to 28 degrees. Changsha are generally more cold tolerant than Satsuma, but they are very seedy, and the fruit is small. Navel orange and grapefruit will produce fruit if you protect them from extended temperatures below 30 degrees. Use Meyer lemons and Mexican limes in half whiskey barrels on the patio, where you can enjoy the foliage, blooms and fruit, and where they can be protected from temperatures below 30 degrees.
Peaches are among our favorite fruits. They can be grown here, but trees are generally short-lived (seven to 10 years) and require a disciplined spray program to fight off diseases and insects.
Apples are even more difficult to grow than peaches for many of the same reasons. It is best to have two varieties of apples that bloom at the same time to accomplish pollination. The combination that works best is Dorset Golden and Anna. Red Delicious apples will not produce in our area.
Fruit Trees in San Antonio Have you ever considered planting a fruit tree in your yard? Mid-winter is an excellent time to plant fruit trees in the Bexar County area. Planting at this time allows the tree to place its energy toward root development in preparation for spring growth. Most fruit trees require a growing space of 25 feet by 25 feet; but dwarf fruit trees need only about 12 feet by 12 feet. The site must have exposure to full sun for at least 7 to 8 hours per day. Don’t plant too many fruit trees! A single peach tree can easily produce two bushels of fruit–about 100 pounds!
Prior to planting, the site should be prepared as follows: clear the site of perennial weeds and thoroughly till an area at least 4 feet by 4feet in size. Any hard pan layer beneath the soil should be broken up as well. Level the site, then till again. Organic matter may be added to the planting area, but it is not necessary. Don’t add fertilizer. To allow for better drainage, the planting site may be built up so that the tree will be sitting on a small berm.
At planting time, plant the tree in the middle of the prepared area in a hole as big as the root system, usually about 12 inches square, and at least 18 inches deep. Plant the tree and refill the soil to the same depth that the tree grew in, at the nursery. Be careful that the tree does not settle too deep. If the trunk of the plant is submersed in soil at a higher level than it was originally grown, the tree will die. In April or may, as the grass greens up, spray a 3 or 4 foot circle around the base of the tree with a glyphosate herbicide. It is critical that this be done if the tree is to grow well. If you do little else, maintain this weed-free circle around the tree. The tree will do better than if nothing else is done.
Recommended fruit varieties for our area include:
Peaches: Springold, Bicentennial, Sentinel, Ranger, Harvester, Red Globe, Milam, Denman, Loring, Dixiland, Redskin, Jefferson, Surecrop, Belle of Georgia
When buying your new fruit tree, select a mid-size tree. They are usually cheaper and grow just as well, if not better, than the larger trees. It is also easier to cut a 3 to 4 foot tree back to 18-24 inches, than to prune a 5 to 6 foot tree to that small size. Such strong cutback is necessary not only to remove apical dominance, but to put the top in balance with a reduced root system, and force out strong vigorous shoots which are easier to train. When purchased, the trees should have healthy white roots with no brown streaks. Also reject any tree with borer presence or damage. With proper care, it is very possible for your fruit tree to fruit the second year after planting.
SAWS: No-Fail Fruit Trees for San Antonio Around February, area nurseries will begin receiving shipments of fruit trees for the year. Did you know there's a large assortment of fruit trees you can grow with much success in San Antonio? The key: choosing the right variety.
Some fruit trees such as pears, oriental persimmons, figs, and pomegranates are easy to grow since they do well in our native soils and don't require extensive pesticide spraying to survive and produce a crop.
Apples, peaches and plums are another story. They do best in raised garden beds with drip irrigation and must be sprayed every week with an insecticide and fungicide to prosper.
It is best bet is to select fruit trees that are suited for our warm winters. Consider these:
For peaches, 'June Gold,' Tex Royal' and 'La Feliciana' do best; 'Elberta' will not survive here.
Full sun and good drainage are musts for all fruit trees whether they're grown in native soil or raised beds.
PearsGrow Organic: Warren Pear Tree, European Type (Semi-dwarf) 5* Excellent Disease Resistance and Cold Hardy $13.99
Warren Pear pyrus communus x Warren Pear was named after T O Warren from Hattiesburg, MS. Thought to be a seedling selection from the breeding work of USDA's fruit breeder Dr. Magness, Beltsville,MD. T O, a fruit explorer, found the tree at a pear test plot near his home and popularized the variety. Warren pear comes from the same seed stock as Magness Pear and is very similar in appearance and disease resistance.
Zone 5-8 semi dwarf tree space @ 10' circles.Estimated Chilling Requirement 600 hours below 45°F USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 - 9 Pollination Self-fruitful. Bloom Season within fruit type. midseason to late midseason.
Warren Pear Tree
Harvest Season within fruit type midseason. Harvest Dates August 7 to August 27. (approximate for Hickman, CA) 3 weeks later in Virginia.
Warren is an excellent quality dessert pear, tree is highly resistant to fire blight. Medium to large, long-necked fruit with pale green skin, sometimes blushed red. Smooth flesh (no grit cells) is juicy and buttery with superb flavor. Good keeper. Cold hardy to -20 deg F. From Mississippi.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced gardener, planting and caring for a pear tree should be easy. If a spot is already considered for planting, good. The semi-dwarf need a 10 - 15' circle and dwarf's 8 - 10'. Standards are 15 - 20' circle. Full sun is best. Pears have an upright growth habit, they are usually taller than wider. Soil prep will go along way. If the area chosen has been cultivated for the last few years, good. If it's just lawn, there's some work. Pears exceed in a loose, moisture retentive soil with good drainage, adequate nutrition of organic matter with a Ph @ 6.2 or 'fairly sweet'. If the area is usually acidic then annual lime is a good course. The additions of this calcium works well with pears, especially if they have some susceptibility to fireblight. Compost will increase the organic matter and manure, if old, works, but not a lot. Once the plant is set in place a mulch of 1 to 2 year old bark works well to keep all things snug and weed free for the first growing season. Hopefully, your chosen spot is not frequented by deer, and is easily watered. Deer browsing on a young plant can set it back a lot. Sometimes never to recover. Bunnies like to nibble on the young bark near the ground of pears, as do voles. To prevent this, aluminum screen around the trunk and stapled together at the ends, will keep them off. The screen should go into the loose soil about 1" to protect below the soil surface too. Keep the diameter of the screen larger than the trunk diameter. Oh yes, and another aspect of your chosen site. Make it hard for squirrels to get to it. If a taller tree is near your pear they can easily jump from it to your fruit. Squirrels do not like being on the ground to long, especially if there are dogs around. So, keep this squirrel tip to add to others you may learn in the future years, because there will be more. Tip one - make squirrels run to your tree.
Warren Pear Tree
Crows will also peck the heck out of the fruit, usually to the point they drop before you think they're ripe. Choosing a site where human activity usually is, can keep the crows away. To get a better idea of your pears evolution, familiarize yourself with it's family heritage. Knowing about what part of the world it originated gives you a good idea of what attributes and limitations it evolved with. Now that you've made the pear feel like a honored guest with its own 'room' with a 'view'. It should have no trouble becoming a healthy member of the family. As the tree matures and begins to set fruit there will be questions that arise from your observations. Insect knowledge, pruning, harvesting, ripening and animal knowledge will mature in you as the tree grows. None of these areas of endeavor are 'rocket science' since pears are fairly easy to grow. Challenges for success don't come all at once, but are seasonal. Plus the season from one year to the next will differ in the severity of the challenge. Aggie: Pears We always look forward to the end of August and September for the maturity of one of my favorite fruit, and really one of the easiest to grow sustainably, pears. Across Texas, and indeed all of the south, the variety of pears we can grow is limited by fire blight, a bacterial pathogen that will flat out kill susceptible varieties like ‘Bartlett’.
In the highest rainfall, most hot and humid part of the state, standards like ‘Kieffer’ and ‘Orient’ are the most durable and long-lived choices, but in the Hill Country, drier parts of Central Texas and West Texas, we have many other varieties we can grow successfully. . At our sustainable fruit planting in Fredericksburg, we have 14 pear varieties planted, both Asian and European Hybrid types, and we like what we see.
The first is the old blight resistant standby ‘Orient’. Not a favorite fresh eating pear, its great for canning or cooking. Very blight resistant and productive, this pear is a good choice for growers in East Texas or the Gulf Coast.
The next and one of my favorites is ‘Ayres’, a 1954 release from the Tennessee Ag. Experiment Station that arose as the result of a cross between ‘Garber’ and ‘Anjou’. ‘Ayres’ can be a bit small, but its attractive blush, sweet, aromatic flavor and melting flesh make it one of the best pears we can grow. ‘Ayres’ is pollen sterile, so it must be planted with other varieties to set fruit. It has held up to fire blight pressure very well across the Hill Country.
This next pear came to us from my neighbor across the creek, Lewis Hussing. His pear tree is easily forty years old and when he gave me fruit a few years ago, I flipped. Easily the best pear I have ever had. Sending photos around, George Ray McEachern identified this pear variety as ‘LeConte’. That’s what we think it is, and fruit from our Fredericksburg orchard this past year did not disappoint us. Amazing that from the old heirloom varieties we already have that there are pears we can grow that are this good!
Kieffer Pear: An Unexpected Delight The Kieffer pear tree is said to be an accidental hybrid, a cross of the Sand Pear and Bartlett. It was first cultivated on the farm of Peter Kieffer in Philadelphia in the 1860s. So how did the Kieffer pear come to be? Peter Kieffer planted a seed from a Sand pear tree, and it was pollinated by a nearby Bartlett pear tree. The effortless product that came grew in popularity for its mixed characteristics, resembling that of a pear and an apple.
Kieffer pears are large and golden yellow with a coarse, white flesh (drier than Orient Pear) and musky aroma. They are very hardy, tolerating both drought and floods (hardiness zones 4-9). The tree blooms small, white flowers in the spring and has dark glossy leaves. Similar to other pear trees the Kieffer is self-fertile, but for optimal results planting a second pear tree is beneficial. It is fast growing, so it won’t be long before you can enjoy the fruit under the shade of its canopy. Kieffer pear trees reach up to 20 feet at maturity.
Keiffer Pear: an Unexpected Delight
The Kieffer Pear Tree In Old World folklore, planting a pear tree was a living good-luck charm. Our lovely little peach tree was planted eight years ago on the exact spot where my daughter and son in law stood to exchange their wedding vows. It's a Kieffer pear (originated near Philadelphia in 1863), the only pear tree in our orchard. Because it is special to us, we have enjoyed watching it's slow and steady growth with patience and anticipation. We were not disappointed. This year, for the first time, our pear tree was was loaded with fruit!
The Kieffer Pear is considered a self fertile, hearty, heirloom pear tree that seems to have lots of mixed reviews. After a little first hand experience, I can honesty tell you that I also was a little confused about how and when to harvest this little jewel of a tree!
As September rolled around, the little pears had turned into lovely big fat pears. Their color was a beautiful spotted golden-green. We watched and waited until the middle of October for the pears to turn yellow and soften into that delicate, buttery eating stage ... but they just never did!
Keiffer Pear: an Unexpected Delight. In the spring, the tree is covered with beautiful white blossoms!
After a little research, I think I totally understand this pear! First, I went back through my files and read the description for the tree, "large, yellow skinned fruit with dull red blush. Crisp, juicy white flesh with coarse texture. Great for canning and baking. Hardy, vigorous tree, tolerates hot climates and is a heavy producer". This tells me it's a CRISP pear and it's good for canning and baking. It says nothing about eating!
The kieffer Pear is considered an Oriental pear. Think... crunchy like an apple, only with a coarse texture. When picked green and refrigerated this pear will keep for weeks. When you're ready to use, ripen in a brown bag. Now that we know what to expect from our long awaited peaches, they are best pickled, baked, poached, thinly sliced for salads or with a little cheese, the Kieffer pears are worth the wait. They are loaded with a high potassium and fiber content, making it a very healthy fruit!
Keiffer Pear: an Unexpected Delight
KIEFFER PEAR TREE fast growing. The pear tree that grows anywhere in the US! Kieffer Pear Trees produce delicious pears for fresh snacking, baking and desserts. The Kieffer Pear tree is one of the latest ripening pears available,
Kieffer Pear trees are one of the later producing pears, ripening from October to November. The Kieffer Pear is fire blight resistant and requires roughtly 400 chill hours for fruit to produce (3 weeks of 45 degree temps. or below). The Kieffer Pear Tree is a large pear tree of the antique variety, that produces large, aromatic, golden-yellow fruit that also has a ruby red cheek.
Can Two Kieffer Pears Pollinate Each Other? Among the kinds of pear trees referred to as European, Kieffer pear trees (Pyrus communis x P. pyrifolia) produce ripe fruits as long as fruits are picked off the trees well before they become soft and ready to eat. Typically producing ripe fruits in winter, Kieffer is a hybrid pear tree variety. A Kieffer pear tree needs successful pollination from itself or another pear tree, which can be another Kieffer pear tree or a pear tree that is a different variety. Kieffer pear trees are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9.
LECONTE PEAR TREE Leconte Pear are an early season producer that requires low chill hours. Leconte Pear trees require pollination from another variety of Pear. The Leconte Pear Tree is an old North Carolina variety that produces bell-shaped fruit that is bright yellow, with a pink overlay. In the Fall, the yielding large crops of fruit ready to be eaten fresh.
PeachesmySA: Growing peaches on a backyard tree isn't as tough as it seems Too much trouble? Not necessarily, says Larry Stein, co-author of the new Texas Peach Handbook (Texas A&M University Press, $24.95). Many home gardeners see fruit trees as magnets for insect pests that require spraying.
"You can grow fairly good peaches without a whole lot of spraying," says Stein, who with co-author Jim Kamas
Stein and Kamas, both horticulturists with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, work with commercial peach growers, and their book is one that will work for growers with 100 trees or one tree. And one peach tree is all you need in your yard.
"Don't plant 10 trees. Then you can't care for them," Stein says. "And if planted too close, they compete with each other." In a good year, a single tree should produce about 500 peaches. How much cobbler can you make?
Other tips for growing peaches:
Start with the right variety. Choose a bare-root specimen of 'La Feliciana,' 'TexPrince' or 'June Gold,' all varieties that bear fruit with about 500 chill hours, or time with temperatures below 45 degrees.
Plant in January or early February in a spot that will receive at least eight hours of sun a day. Grow in deep, well-draining soil - about 20 inches deep, even if that means building a raised bed. Give the tree room to spread to about 20 feet wide.
Keep the area from the trunk to the outer edge of the branches free of weeds and grass. Apply a layer of mulch 4 to 6 inches deep to that area.
Apply an inch of water a week at the drip line if there's no rain.
As buds start to swell in mid- to late January, spray with dormant oil to suffocate eggs and tiny insects. The key, Stein says, is to spray every surface thoroughly and to shake the oil-water mix as you spray so the oil stays in suspension.
Fertilize new trees in May with 1 cup of nitrogen fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate. Organic gardeners should adjust the amount to achieve the same rate of nitrogen.
Give mature trees, those about 5 years old, two doses of fertilizer a year, one when the buds break early in the year and another in May if they have peaches. Use a half-pound of nitrogen per inch of trunk diameter at each feeding.
Once the tree blooms, prune it. Yes, you are removing a lot of potential peaches, but that's good for the tree. "A mature peach tree will put on 5,000 flowers. You need 500 to make a good crop," Stein says. Leaving all 5,000 on the tree will stress the tree.
Stein and other horticulturists say to prune the tree so it has an open center and looks like a wine glass. But he advises homeowners not to get bogged down in technicalities. "Just take off 60 to 70 percent of the wood that grew the year before."
Follow those steps, Stein says, and "every once in a while you're going to have peaches regardless of whether you spray for insects."
June Gold Peach Estimated Chilling Requirement 600 hours below 45°F. USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6 - 9. Pollination Self-fruitful. Bloom Season within fruit type(see note) midseason. Harvest Season within fruit type early midseason. Harvest Dates June 20 to July 4
Large, firm, yellow-fleshed fruit is red-skinned and freestone when fully ripe. Early midseason harvest, 7-10 days before Redhaven. Long time leading fresh market peach in Texas. Frost hardy, showy blossoms.
June Gold Peach
June Gold Peach Produces yellow fruit with sweet, juicy yellow flesh. Freestone. Perfect for eating fresh or for baking.
Botanical Name Prunus persica ‘Junegold’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 10-15' H x 10-15' W. Hardiness Hardy to -10°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season and more during times of drought.
Peach 'June Gold' Prunus persica June Gold normally grows to a max height of 17.88 feet (5.50 metres metric). June Gold Peach tends to need a moderate amount of maintenance, so ensuring that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant is quite important to ensure you have a happy and healthy plant.
June Gold Peach
Try to plant in a location that enjoys full sun and remember to water moderately. June Gold is generally regarded as a hardy plant, so it can be safe to leave outdoors for the majority of winter (although if in doubt, using a row cover is often a good idea). The USDA Hardiness Zones typically associated with June Gold are Zone 5 and Zone 9. June Gold needs a loamy and sandy soil with a ph of 4.5 to 7.5 (moderately acidic soil to weakly alkaline soil).
Transplanting June Gold--June Gold is hardy, so ensure you wait until all danger of frost has passed in your area before considering planting outside.
La Feliciana Peach A later ripening variety that yields a large, sweet, freestone peach. Big producer and excellent flavor. Great for the home orchard. Self fertile.
Botanical Name Prunus persica ‘La Feliciana’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 10-15' H x 10-15' W. Hardiness Hardy to -10°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season and more during times of drought.
La Feliciana Peach
Tex Royal Peach Yellow fleshed, red freestone fruit. Self fertile. 600 chill hours.
Botanical Name Prunus persica ‘TexRoyal’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 12-18' H x 12-18' W. Hardiness Hardy to -10°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season and more during times of drought.
Tex Royal Peach
ApplesAnna Apple * Self Pollinating Semi-dwarf growing tree that produces large sized sweet fruit. Yellow-skinned fruit with a heavy red blush ripens in mid-summer. This is a popular low chill variety but requires a pollinator for best yields. 300 chill hours.
Botanical Name Malus domestica ‘Anna’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 15-20' H x 15-20' W. Hardiness Hardy to -30°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season and more during times of drought.
Dorsett Apple One of the best low chill apple varieties. Skin is golden with a hint of red blush. Very flavorful, similar in taste to ‘Golden Delicious’. Self fertile. 200 chill hours.
Botanical Name Malus domestica ‘Dorsett’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 15-20' H x 15-20' W. Hardiness Hardy to -20°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season and more during times of drought.
APPLE TREES - DORSETT GOLD Scientific Name: Malus domestica Best Planted In Zone: 6-9
5* The Dorsett Gold Apple tree produces a medium sized, firm, and sweet apple that is perfect for eating fresh off the tree. The apples, a soft yellow with a pink blush, ripen in late June, and after picked, they can be kept for two weeks if refrigerated. The Dorsett Gold is perfect for Gulf Coast planting. It requires 250 chill hours and needs a pollinator. The Dorsett Gold Apple trees prefer full sun and slightly acidic soil. At maturity, the Dorsett Gold apple can reach a height and width of 10-20 feet. The Dorsett Gold can be pollinated by the Anna or the Ein Shemer apple.
Dorsett Gold Apple
PlumsMethley Plum * Self Pollinating Medium to large reddish-purple fruit with red flesh. Excellent quality. Sweet mild flavor. Excellent for eating fresh or processing. Self pollinating. 250 chill hours.
Botanical Name Prunus salicina ‘Methley’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 10-15' H x 10-15' W. Hardiness Hardy to -20°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season and more during times of drought.
PomegranatesWonderful Pomegranate Wonderful deciduous shrub or small tree with outstanding qualities. Showy orange-red flowers give way to delicious, reddish, vitamin rich fruit.
Botanical Name Punica granatum ‘Wonderful’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 10' T x 10' W. Hardiness Hardy to 0°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season
GrapesNiagara Grape Strongly flavored white grape that is produced in large clusters. Used for eating fresh, juice and making wine. Vigorous vine.
Botanical Name Vitis labrusca ‘Niagara’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width As trained. Hardiness Hardy to -30°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season.
FigsTexas Everbearing Fig Violet-brown skin and amber colored flesh. Bears well, having two crops of fruit a year.
Botanical Name Ficus carica ‘Texas Everbearing’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 10-15' H x 10-15' W. Hardiness Hardy to 0°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season .
Texas Everbearing Fig
AlmondTexas Mission Almond One of the top almond producing trees. It is very ornamental with a showy white bloom in spring. Produces a sweet nut.
Botanical Name Prunus dulcis ‘Texas Mission’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 10-15' H x 10-15' W. Hardiness Hardy to 0°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season .
Texas Mission Almond
CrabapplesPrairifire Crabapple Showy landscape tree with bright red flowers and red-purple fruit. New growth is reddish, maturing to dark green. Rounded canopy with age. Good disease resistance.
Botanical Name Malus ‘Prairifire’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 15-20' H x 15-20' W. Hardiness Hardy to -30°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season .
Hopa Crabapple Upright, spreading ornamental shade tree with masses of fragrant, pink blooms in early spring. Showy round fruits in late summer, persisting into winter.
Botanical Name Malus ‘Hopa’. Exposure Full sun. Height-width 20' H x 20' W. Hardiness Hardy to -30°F. Water Keep moist until established. Needs average water during the growing season .
LinksFor peaches, 'June Gold,' Tex Royal' and 'La Feliciana' do best; 'Elberta' will not survive here.
For apples, try 'Dorset Golden' and 'Anna;' forget about 'Red Delicious.'
The best pear varieties are 'Warren' and 'Kieffer;' 'Bartlett' pears are highly susceptible to fire blight.
The 'Methley' plum is the best choice for San Antonio.
Texas Pecan Nursery Texas Pecan Nursery carries more than just the highest quality pecan trees. Browse our website and see all the varieties of nut, fruit and shade trees we have to offer.
David's Garden Seeds 7715 Tezel Drive San Antonio, TX 78250 (210)390-9873... Huebner to Bandera, go north. Left on Guilbeau. Left on Tezel. On right before Mainland St. Open weekdays 9-5.
Planting Time ReferencesWhite Flower Farm See plant descr. then click on Growing guide
West Coast Seeds see plant descr. then go to Growing Guides
By Zip 1st freeze 11/12... last freeze 3/20
Email Professor Colby Glass, MAc, MLIS, PhDc, Prof. Emeritus