Zone 7 fruit trees

Planting Fruit Trees

In most parts of the country, fruit trees should be planted in early spring. Where winters are mild (USDA Hardiness Zone 7 and south), fall is the preferred planting time. This allows roots to become better established before the trees leaf out the following spring. Fall planting is a little risky, however where winters may cause damage.

Plant Immediately

Plant the trees the day you get them, if possible. If weather conditions delay planting, keep the roots moist until you can plant. Bare-root trees will be wrapped in moist peat or a similar material when you get them; leave this intact when you open the package and add water as needed. Water balled-and-burlap container trees as needed. Soak bare roots in a bucket of water for a few hours before planting, keeping them in water until planting. Dig planting holes a few inches deeper and 2 times wider than the roots spread. Be sure to match the hole size with the type of rootstock. Set trees on standard rootstocks (including genetic dwarf varieties) with the graft union a few inches below soil level to reduce root suckering. (If the tree is budded high–a foot or so off the ground–set it just a few inches deeper than it grew in the nursery.) Set trees on dwarfing rootstocks with the graft union several inches above the soil; if the union is buried, the variety could root and overcome the rootstock’s dwarfing effect. Set interstem trees with the interstem half above and half below the soil.

Soil and Fertilizers

In all three cases, set the trees a little bit higher than you ultimately want them. Mound the soil up slightly (3 to 4 inches high and 1 foot in diameter) around the trunk to help drainage and reduce problems with crown rot. Don’t add fertilizer of any kind to the planting hole or drastically change the soil texture. Never add any materials that might burn the roots, such as chemical fertilizers, fresh manure, or moth balls. Compost can be mixed into the planting hole only if the soil if very poor, and don’t add more than a few shovelfuls–it can change the soil texture and cause poor drainage.

Pruning New Trees

Cut off, rather than bend, any broken roots and any extra-long roots. Spread out the roots in the hole and tamp the soil around them firmly. Air pockets around the roots can kill the trees. Surround the trunk of each tree with a 14-inch mouse and rabbit guard before filling the hole completely. Place the guard so that the bottom 2 inches will be below ground when the hole is filled with soil. Pour 2 gallons of water around each newly set tree to thoroughly soak the soil.

Prune spring-planted trees only if it was not done at the nursery. Wait until early spring to prune fall-planted trees if necessary. When pruning, cut the trees off at about 30 inches from the ground, just above a bud. This pruning helps adjust the tops to the root system, which was pruned in transplanting, and avoids stressing roots too much.

If the tree has branches, remove any that are less than 18 inches off the ground. If any strong branches above this height arise from the trunk at a wide angle and in desired positions, you can leave them, but cut them back by one-half. Cut all narrow-angled branches off, even if you’re left with few or no side branches. Buds on the trunk will grow into side branches that you can train to better angles. Begin training trees in early summer.

Watch how to properly plant fruit trees: apples, pears, plums, and more! Our video will show you when and how to plant bare-rooted trees successfully.

Fruit trees are some of the most productive plants you can grow, & home grown varieties taste so much better than those available in supermarkets.

For more techniques and support for a successful garden, we suggest the Almanac Garden Planner. Try free for 7-days!

How to Plant Fruit Trees

Growing fruit is one of the most efficient forms of gardening. Once the trees are established you can expect an abundant supply for decades with only a little pruning and mulching to keep them happy.

Without doubt, the cheapest way to start a mini-orchard is to buy bare-rooted plants: those sold without a pot and delivered to tree nurseries. As well as saving money, you will often find a much wider selection of varieties and sizes available as bare-rooted trees. Many wonderful types of apples, pears, plums, etc., can be grown by the home gardener that are never available in supermarkets and the trees can be trained to fit the area you have.

Bare-rooted trees need to be planted correctly and given careful treatment during the first year in order to establish healthy root systems and give a reliable harvest.

When to Plant Fruit Trees

Getting sufficient water and nutrients in the first few months after planting is essential and that’s why the timing is crucial. The number one priority is helping your new tree establish a healthy root system. The best time to plant bare-rooted trees is towards the end of winter or the first half of spring, once the ground is no longer frozen so it can be easily dug but before new growth starts.

It’s worth consulting a tree nursery that knows your area and can advise on the window of time when they lift the young plants and deliver them and when conditions are right for your area. In mind climates, trees can be planted from November onwards and this gives them a few extra weeks for the roots to establish but in colder regions, you’ll want to wait until spring. You will need to plant them quickly once they arrive—usually within a couple of days, though it’s possible to pack the roots with moist earth to extend this period if conditions outside aren’t favorable.

If you miss the ideal window of time for your area but still want to plant this year, it’s worth paying more for container-grown plants. These will already have roots that have grown into the soil around them and as long as you don’t disturb these too much when planting, they’ll be ready to draw up moisture and nutrients during warmer weather.

Where to Plant a Fruit Tree

Fruit trees don’t like to be moved so it is important to get the location right first time. Things to consider are:

  • Sun or Partial Shade: Nearly all fruit trees require plenty of sun but by carefully scouring catalogs you’ll find there are some less well-know varieties that are tolerant of partial shade. Don’t just consider the ground; it’s the leaves that need sun and this often opens up possibilities for otherwise unproductive areas.
  • Soil: Check our Fruit Growing Guides to better understand which soil the fruit tree requires. Most will want free-draining soil, enriched with compost. Avoid areas that regularly flood or higher ground that dries out quickly.
  • Wind and Snow: Be aware of the direction of prevailing wind and any large buildings nearby. A wall or fence may create a sheltered environment perfect for heat-loving fruits, or it could funnel icy winds during winter. Roofs can dump a ton of snow on an unsuspecting tree below, snapping its branches. Observe your garden closely to choose the best spot.
  • Other Plants: Trees are remarkably good at drawing up nutrients and water from the surrounding area. Unless you’re using raised beds, remember that a nearby fruit tree or bush may compete with your other plants.

Tree Planting Tips

Many good fruit-tree suppliers will sell reasonably priced kits that include a stake, tie, mulch mat, etc. and it’s a false economy to skip these items.

Follow these simple steps to give your tree the best start:

  1. Dig a hole about a spade’s depth and around 3 feet wide. A square hole is better than a round one as it encourages the roots to push out into the surrounding ground. Keep the soil you have removed in a wheelbarrow or on a large plastic sheet.
  2. Add a few inches of good garden compost and work it into the base of the hole using a garden fork. Mixing is important so that the tree’s roots don’t meet a sudden boundary between compost and regular soil. Also mix some compost into the soil you removed.
  3. Look for the slightly darker ‘watermark’ on the tree’s trunk that indicates where the soil level was when it was first grown. Place the bare-rooted tree in the center of the hole and a cane across the hole so you can check that this line is level with the soil around your hole as trees shouldn’t be planted deeper or shallower than they were first grown. If necessary, add or remove soil to achieve this. Most fruit trees will be grafted onto a rootstock and the join should always be above ground.
  4. Remove the tree and put in a thick wooden stake a couple of inches from the center of the hole and on the side where the prevailing wind comes from. Hammer this firmly into the ground using a mallet.
  5. Place the tree back in the hole close to the stake and start to shovel the soil-and-compost mix back around the roots. Gently firm this in with your boots, being careful not to damage the roots. When it’s half full, pull the tree up an inch and then let it drop again as this helps the soil to fill in around the roots.
  6. Once all the soil has been added and firmed, fix the tree to the stake with the tie, leaving enough room for the tree trunk to grow but not so much that it wobbles about. Also add a protective tube around the trunk if animals are a problem. At this stage I also sprinkle a little seaweed meal fertilizer around and cover it with a bio-degradable hemp mat to suppress weeds.
  7. Water the soil well to stop the roots drying out and to further settle the soil around them.

See our complete Apple Tree Growing Guide.
See our complete Plum Tree Growing Guide.
See our complete Pear Tree Growing Guide.

The First Year for Fruit Trees

Until the root system is at least as large as the tree it supports, the tree is particularly vulnerable to environmental stress. During the first year, the tree can easily die from not getting enough water or nutrients. Keep the tree well watered, especially during dry weather. A good soaking once or twice a week is much better than surface watering daily, though during very hot weather it can be worth doing both. It’s also vital to keep the area around the tree completely free of weeds and grass as they will compete with the young tree, which is why mulch mats are very effective.

Finally, don’t forget to remove all blossom from the tree in the first year. Although it’s tempting to let some fruit develop, doing so will again place more stress on the tree as it establishes and forgoing the first year’s fruit will result in a much healthier tree and better harvest in years to come.

Garden Planning Apps

If you need help designing your garden, try our Vegetable Garden Planner (for PC & Mac) or learn about our mobile app.

Growing Zone 7 Fruit Trees: Tips On Planting Fruit Trees In Zone 7 Gardens

There are many different fruit trees that grow in zone 7. Milder winters allow zone 7 gardeners to grow a number of fruit varieties that are not available to northern gardeners. At the same time, zone 7 is not so far south that northern growing fruit trees scorch and fry in the summer heat. Zone 7 fruit growers can take advantage of the best of both worlds. Continue reading for a list of fruit trees for zone 7.

Planting Fruit Trees in Zone 7 Gardens

In any hardiness zone, fruit trees require rich, fertile soil that drains well. Pests and diseases of fruit trees can vary somewhat from zone to zone, as certain pests and diseases thrive in specific conditions. However, trees that are properly planted, watered and fertilized are better able to withstand disease and pests. Just like a herd of gazelle being stalked by lions, the young, weak or sick are usually the first to fall victim.

When planting fruit trees in zone 7, you may also need to plant a pollinator if the fruit tree is not a self-pollinating variety. For example, apple trees usually require another nearby apple tree or crabapple to pollinate. Honeycrisp is a recommended pollinator for Snow Sweet apple trees. Do your homework on the fruit trees you are considering so you don’t end up planting a tree that may never produce fruit. Garden center workers can also help you select the right trees and answer questions you may have, as can your local extension office.

Growing Zone 7 Fruit Trees

Below are listed some common fruit trees that grow in zone 7, and their most popular varieties.

Apple

Apple trees in the landscape are great to have and these varieties do well in zone 7:

  • Cortland
  • Empire
  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Jonathan
  • McIntosh
  • Fuji
  • SnowSweet
  • Wealthy
  • Zestar

Apricot

If you prefer apricotsover apples, then these selections are recommended:

  • Moongold
  • Moorpark
  • Scout
  • Sungold

Cherry

Most people love cherries and these zone 7 cherry trees are great additions:

  • Bing
  • Black Tartarian
  • Evans Bali
  • Mesabi
  • Montemorency
  • Rainier Sweet
  • Stella

Fig

Growing a fig tree is easy enough, especially varieties that thrive in zone 7 like:

  • Celeste
  • Turkey
  • Greenish
  • Marseille

Nectarine

Nectarinesare another fruit tree favorite. Try your hand at growing these types:

  • Sunglo
  • Red Gold
  • Fantasia
  • Carolina Red

Peach

If you don’t mind the fuzz, then maybe a peach tree is more to your liking. These varieties are common:

  • Contender
  • Elberta
  • Redhaven
  • Reliance
  • Saturn

Pear

Pearsare great fruits trees to consider for zone 7. Try the following:

  • Gourmet
  • Luscious
  • Parker
  • Patten
  • Summercrisp

Asian Pear

Like their cousins, the Asian pear is another popular fruit tree in the landscape. Those for zone 7 include:

  • Twentieth Century
  • Nititaka
  • Shinseiki

Persimmon

If you’re into persimmons, these tree varieties work well:

  • Fuyu
  • Jiro
  • Hanagosho

Plum

Plum trees grow easily in zone 7. Try the varieties below:

  • Black Ice
  • La Crescent
  • Mount Royal
  • Methley
  • Byron Gold
  • Ozark
  • Stanley
  • Superior
  • Toka

Some less common fruit trees that grow in zone 7 are:

  • Banana – Blue Java
  • Chinese Jujube
  • Elderberry
  • Mulberry
  • Pawpaw
  • Pomegranate – Russian

Choosing the right fruit for your climate

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With having the last name of Shade, I naturally love trees. Every homestead should have some trees. Planting trees needs to be one of your first and highest priorities when you buy your land, because it can take a few of years for them to get established and start producing for you.

What Trees to Plant

When you are deciding which varieties of tree to plant there are a few of things to consider. The first thing you should do is check with your local extension office to find out what grows best in your area. Some trees will struggle in certain climates and flourish in others. This will also give you guidance on whether or not you have a winter that is cold enough long enough to plant certain varieties. (See tree descriptions below for number of chill hours needed by tree) You will also want to check with your nursery before purchasing a specific variety of tree. If you don’t know how many chill hours your get, check out this article.

The second thing to consider is the harvest. Plant early and late harvest varieties, so you can extend the time that you have fresh fruit. You also want to plant a hardy, long storage variety so you can store some for winter. At the end of this article is a list of trees to help you with your selection.

Last but not least, know how your tree pollinates. Most varieties of apricot, peach, citrus, nectarine and sour cherry are self-pollinating, which means you only need to buy one tree. Self-pollinating trees can pollinate themselves and set their own fruit. Most apple, plum, sweet cherry and pears are the cross-pollinating type, which means you have to buy at least two trees. This allows the pollen from one tree to pollinate and set the fruit of the other tree. If you are not careful, you’ll have barren fruit trees on your hands.

Where to Buy a Tree
I suggest you go to a local nursery. They usually have a better local variety and expert advice on what grows well in your area. Also, they can usually special order if you are looking for something specific. You can also check with most hardware stores. I have also ordered online from places like Burgess, but each state has its own laws regarding the shipping of live plants. You may not be able to get what you want, but it is worth checking out.

Where to Plant
Deciding where to plant a tree or trees can be tricky, but if you keep all these factors in mind you should do fine.
• Know where your utility lines are underground and avoid them.
• Don’t plant near sewer, septic or water lines.
• Plant your trees north of your garden so you don’t shade your veggies.
• For easier pruning, harvesting and ladder work plant on level ground.
• Avoid having to clean your walkways by planting messy trees away from them.
• Plant attractive flowering trees, like cherries, where everyone can see them.
• Planting close, but not too close, to your house can increase the energy efficiency of your home and reduce noise.
• Keep in mind the future growth or the mature size of your tree.

Companion Planting
Permaculture research shows that you should plant 50% nitrogen fixing plants and 50% production plants. This goes for fruit and nut trees as well. The Nitrogen fixing trees support the production trees by providing both Nitrogen and organic matter for use in composting.

When to Plant a Tree
You want to plant your tree when you are having moderate temperatures and a good amount of rain. Planting is stressful for the tree. You don’t want to plant a tree when it is trying to deal with heat of summer or the cold of winter. Therefore, early spring after the last freeze is the best time to plant. The next best time is in early fall once the temperatures have cooled off and are below 90oF.

How to Plant Your Trees
The most common mistake people make when planting a tree is the way they dig the hole for the tree. Most tree roots grow outward more than downward, so it is better to dig a wider hole rather than a deeper hole. This will also encourage the roots to grow outward and help stabilize your tree. Here is an article with more details on how to plant. Also, this article has some space saving techniques that you can use when planting.

Caring for Your Trees
Whether you plant in the fall or the spring, during the first production season you want to remove any flowers or potential fruit, so that the tree can focus on root development. You can also do some minor pruning to begin developing the leader branches for the shape you want. After the second production season in the late winter, you will need to start pruning and shaping your tree. You want to keep your trees small for ease of picking and future pruning. For help pruning your trees refer to my article on how to prune your trees.

If you are growing some of the warm weather exotic fruit trees varieties, you will need to keep them from freezing in winter. There are a few things you can do to help prevent winter damage. The first is protecting your tree with a shade cloth (affiliate link) by either building a frame over your tree or just laying the cloth directly on the tree. Another thing you can do is spray your tree with a seaweed frost protecting solution. The Cytokinins in the seaweed help strengthen the cell walls of the tree. Here are some sample products: Maxicrop, Frost Away, Wilt-Pruf, Frostguard and Frost Shield.

Finally you can put a large number of buckets, pools and barrels of water under your tree and fill them with water. The water acts as thermal mass, and will give off heat at night warming your tree.

Fertilizing Your Trees
I am all for natural fertilizing. In nature a tree has a layer of dead leaves, sticks and other organic material under it. As those things break down they provide a slow but constant flow of nutrients to the roots of a tree. You can try to replicate nature with wood chips and shredded garden scraps or a store bought mulch. Just make sure that the material is made up of a variety of sized pieces. This will also help hold moisture into the earth. Every 4 inches of material can soak up 1 inch of rain water and store it for the trees later use.
I suggest just adding compost to your trees throughout the year, but if your trees are showing any of the following signs of malnutrition, then you should test your soil and apply fertilizer appropriately. (More on testing your soil later):
• Slow rate and low amount of growth
• Signs of disease or insect problems
• Smaller than normal leaves
• Leaves that are yellowed or off in color
• Dead branches
• Limb die back
Applying chemical fertilizers is a slippery slope and can lead to toxic and unusable soil. I highly recommend using fertilizer sparingly, and not making it an annual habit.

If you want to give your trees an extra boost you should fertilize in the early spring and the fall. Trees have a growth spurt in early spring, so you want to fertilize them just before they start to come out of dormancy. If your soil is sandy you want to only apply half of your fertilizer before and the other half about 2 weeks after is starts to grow. It is also good to add fertilizer in the fall, so the tree can have some extra help developing roots and fighting off disease.

In general the roots of a tree extend out past the canopy. So when you apply your fertilizer make sure start at the edge of the canopy and put a ring around the entire tree. Also, make sure to put your fertilizer below the roots of any undergrowth. This will ensure that the tree and not the undergrowth gets the nutrients. Be careful not to over fertilize and make sure you provide plenty of water afterwards, so that a salt residue does not build up.

Other Great Resources
Before I get to the list of trees and things you should know about them, I wanted to share these links. They have invaluable information on trees, and will help you plan your orchard.
http://ucmgvideo.ucanr.org/Chuck_Ingles/ – A couple of videos and some downloadable content from the University of California about trees. I highly suggest you set aside a couple of hours and watch these.
http://www.crfg.org/tidbits/ – Some good info and space saving techniques plus info on tropical trees.
https://raintreenursery.com/chill_hours – A great chart of estimated chill hours in your area and a list of trees with a range of their chill hour requirement.
http://www.networkearth.org/perma/culture.html – In this video series Bill Mollison talks about sustainable agriculture. There is four videos about an hour each on trees.
http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.com/2011/05/plants-nitrogen-fixers.html – A detailed list of nitrogen fixing plants including hardiness zone.
http://www.backyardgardener.com/tree/indexlist9.html – A fairly good description of alkaline and acidic soils and what trees grow in which.
More About Pruning Fruit Trees – a fairly detailed list of flowering wood age for pruning
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ – a great database of articles on all sorts of trees and pests.

Things You Need to Know About Your Trees

Apple

Positives: disease resistant varieties are available, fruit can store for a couple months, usually adaptable to most environments, relatively easy to grow
Negatives: large range of potential pests, don’t like being planted to close together
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
Light: full sun
Soil: neutral PH ideally 6.5, well-fertilized
Water: moist, well-drained
Chill Hours Needed: 400 to 1000 hrs
Pollination: by variety, usually cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 2 to 5 years
Wood: best fruit grows on 2 or 3 year old wood
Height & Width: standard tree more grew up to 50 feet tall and wide; most modern varieties grow 12~20 feet tall and wide
Growth: medium growth speed
Other Notes: Mid- and late-season apples usually have better flavor and store longer compared with early-season varieties.

Cherry
Positives: many varieties, can be bushes or trees
Negatives: birds love them so it’s tough to get the most from your harvest
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8
Light: full sun
Soil: neutral to alkaline PH, well fertilized
Water: moist
Chill Hours Needed: 700 to 800 hrs
Pollination: “sweet” class are usually cross pollinating trees, “sour” class are usually self pollinating bushes, but check with your nursery when you purchase.
Age Starts Fruiting: 3 to 7 years
Wood: best fruit grows on 2 or 3 year old wood
Height & Width: 12 to 20 ft tall and wide
Growth: medium growth speed
Other Notes: These trees are not only productive, but they are beautiful, so feel free to use them as a decorative plant as well.

Pawpaw
Positives: easy to grow, tastes like banana custard to some, leaves extract a natural insecticide which can be used in a compost tea, fruit is medicinal and tree smells good
Negatives: tastes like yucky slime to some people, higher chance of allergic reaction because of the natural insecticide, fruit is soft and doesn’t store well.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 5 to 7
Light: full sun for best fruit, but it is shade tolerant
Soil: neutral to alkaline PH
Water: wet to moist
Chill Hours Needed: 400 to 1000 hrs
Pollination: usually cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 4 to 8 years
Wood: generally flowers on 1 year old wood
Height & Width: 20 to 35 ft tall and wide
Growth: slow to medium growth speed, spreads by seed or suckering

Peaches and Nectarines
Positives: home grown peaches have the best flavor
Negatives: pest management is more difficult, needs non-compacted deep soil
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9
Light: full sun
Soil: neutral PH, well fertilized
Water: well drained soil, moist
Chill Hours Needed: 600 to 800 hrs
Pollination: usually self pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 3 to 4 years
Wood: generally flowers on 1 year old wood
Height & Width: 10 to 20 ft tall and wide
Growth: medium speed growth, spreads by seed or suckering
Other Notes: needs good airflow to prevent fungal infections

Pears (European & Asian)
Positives: fresh pairs beat store bought every time, grafting multiple varieties is possible and disease resistant varieties are available
Negatives: can be tricky to get ripe and avoid pests at the same time, since it is usually best to harvest the fruit before it is fully ripe
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: European: 4 to 7, Asian: 5 to 8
Light: full sun
Soil: neutral PH
Water: moist
Chill Hours Needed: 600 to 800 hrs
Pollination: usually cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 4 to 6 years
Wood: flowers on 2 to 3 year old wood
Height & Width: depending on variety 15 to 40 ft tall and wide
Growth: medium growth speed
Other Notes: make sure to get a tree grafted onto a fire blight resistant root stock

Lemon, Lime and Orange
Positives: easy to grow organically, can grow in colder zones if potted and wintered properly, self-pollinating so you only need one
Negatives: sensitive to cold, may need to cover with blanket in below freezing weather
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 8b to 11
Light: full sun
Soil: prefer well drained soil with pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5
Water: moist, not soggy
Chill Hours Needed: none
Pollination: most are self pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: between 3 and 6 years old
Wood: flowers on new wood, so be careful when pruning
Height & Width: Lemons & Limes: 10 to 15 feet tall and wide, Oranges & Grapefruits: 18 to 22 feet tall
Growth: Needs lots of unblocked sun and warmth to set fruit and grow properly

Apricots, Plums, Apriums & Pluots
Positives: Hard to find in stores, relatively easy to grow
Negatives: apricots flower early in spring and a late frost can kill the production for that year, fruit doesn’t store well
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
Light: full sun
Soil: neutral PH
Water: moist
Chill Hours Needed: Plums: 400 hrs, Apricots: 500 to 600 hrs
Pollination: cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 2 to 5 years
Wood: flowers on one year old wood
Height & Width: 8 to 15 feet tall and wide
Growth: medium to fast growth, spreads by suckers or seed
Other Notes: birds love to eat your fruits, so you have to harvest a little early and aggressively to beat them

Buckthorn Seaberry
Positives: great medicinal value, can survive in temperatures as low as -40F, it is also a nitrogen fixing tree
Negatives: does require annual pruning
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 4 to 7
Light: full sun to partial shade
Soil: slightly acidic or alkaline
Water: dry to moist
Chill Hours Needed: 700 to 1500 hrs
Pollination: cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 3 to 5 years
Wood: flowers on 3 to 4 year old wood
Height & Width: 8 to 15 feet tall and wide
Growth: medium to fast, spreads by suckers
Other Notes: truly a super plant!

Serviceberry or Juneberry
Positives: bears fruit in spring, full of antioxidants
Negatives:
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9
Light: full sun to partial shade
Soil: neutral to preferably slightly acidic
Water: dry to moist
Chill Hours Needed: by variety 800 to 1000 hrs
Pollination: by variety, some are self pollinating others are cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 2 to 3 years
Wood: flowers on last years growth, the buds are created in the fall and bloom in the spring
Height & Width: by variety, Juneberry, a tree, can grow 35 to 50 ft tall and 20 to 35 ft wide. Saskatoon, a shrub, grows about 5 to 15 ft tall and wide.
Growth: medium growth speed

Persimmons
Positives: American persimmons are disease and pest resistant and easy to grow, but have smaller golf ball size fruit. Asian varieties have apple sized fruit and can be grafted on American disease and pest resistant root stock making a perfect combination.
Negatives: Don’t eat the fruit before it is ready to fall off, it will put hair on your chest. You may not like the texture. Deer love them.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9
Light: full sun
Soil: slightly acidic or alkaline
Water: dry to moist
Chill Hours Needed: 200 to 400 hrs
Pollination: by variety, most are cross pollinating, some are self pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 4 to 6 years
Wood: flowers on new wood
Height & Width: American: 50 to 75 ft tall by 35 to 50 ft wide, Asian: 25 to 40 ft tall by 25 to 40 ft wide
Growth: slow to medium
Other Notes: Ripened fruit often hangs onto the tree well into winter looking like Christmas ornaments.

Pomegranate
Positives: This super fruit is making a come back. They grow great in the desert and are drought tolerant.
Negatives: May die back in cold winters. Hardy varieties can be hard to find back east, but out west they are fairly prolific.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 7 to 13
Light: full sun to partial shade
Soil: not picky
Water: dry to moist, dislikes wetlands
Chill Hours Needed: 100 to 200 hrs
Pollination: self pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 3 to 4 years
Wood: flowers on new wood
Height & Width: about a 20ft sphere
Growth: medium to fast growth depending on water
Other Notes: Because they are usually smaller and bush like, they can be used as understory trees. Be careful though not to over shade them

Figs
Positives: Figs are a great fruit for a home garden. They have great flavor and produces multiple crops a year.
Negatives: Fruit doesn’t store well.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 7 to 10
Light: Full Sun
Soil: prefers loamy to clay soils, sandy soil dries out to quickly and increases risk of nematode attack
Water: moist
Chill Hours Needed: 100 to 200 hrs
Pollination: by variety, try to buy self pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 2 to 3 years
Wood: spring crop on last years wood, fall crops on new wood
Height & Width: usually 10 to 30ft sphere
Growth: slow to medium growth, spreads via root suckers.
Other Notes: Some varieties require fig wasps to pollinate the main crop. For example, the figs I have are the Desert King. Ironically, the Arizona desert doesn’t have any fig wasps, so I only get the first crop and the second or main crop just shrivels up and falls off the tree.

Quince
Positives: Great for jellies and jams because of their high pectin content. Hard to find in grocery stores, so it’s nice to grow your own.
Negatives: more susceptible to disease in the shade. Might be a little tart for some, but tartness is reduced when cooked into pie and marmalade.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 4 to 9
Light: full sun to partial shade
Soil: neutral PH between 6.1 and 7
Water: moist soil preferred
Chill Hours Needed: 300 to 500 hrs
Pollination: self pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 4 to 5 years
Wood: flowers on 1 year old wood
Height & Width: 10 to 20 ft tall and wide
Growth: medium growth rate. Shrub like growth pattern, but can be trained into small trees.
Other Notes: Tolerates Black Walnut’s grown inhibitor juglone, it can be used as a buffer between your walnuts and your other trees. Relative to the apple, so it is susceptible to the same diseases.

Mulberry
Positives: Very tasty and produce a large crop, lost crops are great for chicken fodder
Negatives: Hard to harvest from a large tree, and unpicked berries will get everywhere and do stain
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 5 to 9
Light: full sun to partial shade
Soil: need deep soil, neutral to slightly alkaline
Water: dry to moist. Somewhat drought tolerant, but do need water in hottest driest periods
Chill Hours Needed: about 400 hrs
Pollination: self pollinated by wind
Age Starts Fruiting: normally 2 to 3 years
Wood: flowers on new wood and on old wood spurs
Height & Width: 30 ft to 50 ft tall and wide, some varieties can get up to 80 ft tall, dwarf varieties are available
Growth: fast growth rate
Other Notes: Black Mulberries are the smallest and live the longest. All Mulberries gather calcium from the soil into it’s fruit.

Almonds
Positives: Beautiful flowers. Almonds are still pricey in stores. I did some math once and estimated that if I grew 10 almond trees, I would have enough almonds for a year’s supply of almond milk.
Negatives: Almonds bloom really early in spring, so a late spring frost can ruin all of your fruit. Fruit isn’t edible, only the seed.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 7 to 9
Light: full sun to partial shade
Soil: alkaline to acidic
Water: moist to dry, needs to dry out a little between waterings
Chill Hours Needed: 500 to 600 hrs
Pollination: by variety, but usually cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 2 to 4 years
Wood: flowers on old spurs and sprigs
Height & Width: 15 to 30 ft tall and 10 to 15 ft wide
Growth: medium to fast growing
Other Notes: Make sure to buy sweet almonds, not bitter almonds. Almonds are elated to peaches and apricots. They are different and the bitter one’s contain cyanide. Look for an interesting cross between an apricot and an almond that will produce edible fruit and nuts on one tree.

Chestnuts
Positives: Productive trees with large fruits. Dwarf varieties are available.
Negatives: The tree is normally very large 100+ ft tall and 50 ft wide
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8
Light: full sun to partial shade
Soil: neutral to acidic
Water: dry to moist
Chill Hours Needed: 400 to 500 hrs
Pollination: self pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 3 to 5 years
Wood: flower on new wood
Height & Width: Chinese chestnuts grow about 30 ft tall, the dwarf Chinquapin grows about 10 to 20 ft tall and wide
Growth: moderately fast growers
Other Notes: chestnuts are great roasted

Filberts or Hazelnuts
Positives: High yielding and drought tolerant, grows on slopes and in marginal soils
Negatives: can be subject to blight
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8
Light: full sun
Soil: best in moderately acidic soil to neutral soil
Water: dry to moist. Somewhat drought tolerant
Chill Hours Needed: 800 to 1200 hrs
Pollination: cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 6 to 8+ years
Wood: flowers on one year old wood
Height & Width: bushes up to 10 ft high, trees about 30 ft high
Growth: medium to fast growth. Naturally a bush, but can be trained into a short tree.
Other Notes: leaves turn a beautiful orange in the fall.

Walnuts
Positives: If grown for wood, you could fetch a premium price.
Negatives: Slow growing and slow to produce, fairly high water demand.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: Black Walnut: 4 to 7, English/Persian Walnut: Zone 7 to 9
Light: full sun
Soil: slightly acidic to slightly alkaline
Water: soil can’t be to sandy or to heavy with clay, need moist well drained
Chill Hours Needed: 600 to 700 hrs
Pollination: cross pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 4 to 7 years
Wood: flowers on new wood
Height & Width: 50 to 100 ft tall
Growth: slow
Other Notes: roots excrete juglone, a growth inhibitor for many plants, so keep them well away from your gardens

Pecans
Positives: Produces good shade in addition to it’s nuts. Pecans are also some of the easiest nuts to crack open.
Negatives: It is a large tree, which makes harvesting more difficult. It is also really slow to mature.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8
Light: full sun
Soil: neutral to alkaline
Water: dry to moist
Chill Hours Needed: 650 to 1,550 hrs
Pollination: self pollinating
Age Starts Fruiting: 10 years from seed, 4 to 8 from graft
Wood: flowers on new wood
Height & Width: 100 ft tall and 30 to 50 ft wide
Growth: slow growth

Support Trees (Nitrogen Fixing)

Palo Verde (Blue, Green and Foothill)
Positives: Drought tolerant. Doesn’t provide much shade, so works well for companion planting.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: by variety, 6 to 11
Light: full sun
Soil: slightly acid to alkaline
Water: dry
Height & Width: 20 to 30 ft tall and wide
Growth: fast growing

Honey Mesquite
Positives: Drought tolerant. Pulls nutrients from deep in the earth to the surface. Fixes nitrogen into the ground. Great companion tree.
Negatives: Usually has thorns
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 7 to 11
Light: full sun
Soil: desert soil is preferred
Water: dry to moist
Height & Width: 30 to 50 ft tall and up to 100 ft spread
Growth: fast growing
Other Notes: Don’t over water, this will cause the tree to grow too quickly and become weak. Fruit pods on the Honey Mesquite are sweet and can be used to make flour, or as fodder for your livestock.

Alders
Positives: large tree, great for screening, reclamation or shade. Does well in the open, may consider as wind break between fields. Trunk is fairly straight and wood is hard, which makes it good for constructing furniture.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 3A to 7B
Light: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil: slightly alkaline to slightly acidic
Water: prefer moist, some tolerate dryer soils
Height & Width: 40 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 40 foot wide
Growth: moderate to fast growing
Other Notes: many varieties fix nitrogen (red, common, Arizona, New Mexico, and more)

Black Locust/Robinia
Positives: Can be pruned with an open canopy to allow for undergrowth, drought tolerant
Negatives: pods are poisonous
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 4A to 8B
Light: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Water: moist to dry
Height & Width: 30 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 35 feet wide
Growth: fast growing
Other Notes: many varieties available (Frisia, Purple Robe and Umbrella)

Honeylocust
Positives: large attractive tree with beautiful yellow leaves in the fall, drought tolerant
Negatives: some varieties have large thorns, but thornless varieties are available.
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 3A to 8A
Light: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; occasionally wet; well-drained
Water: moist to dry
Height & Width: 50 to 75 feet tall and 35 to 50 feet wide
Growth: fast growing
Other Notes: many varieties available (Imperial, Shademaster and Skyline)

Cassia Tree
Positives: beautiful clusters of yellow flowers
Negatives: doesn’t tolerate freezes
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 10B to 11
Light: full sun
Soil: clay; sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Water: moist
Height & Width: 15 to 20 feet tall and wide
Growth: fast growing
Other Notes: Many varieties, even bush like ones available.

Texas Mountain Laurel
Positives: beautiful and aromatic purple/blue flowers, drought tolerant
Negatives: seeds are poisonous
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 7B to 10A
Light: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; well-drained
Water: moist to dry
Height & Width: 15 to 25 feet tall and 10 foot wide
Growth: slow growing

Mimosa Tree
Positives: pretty pink flowers, drought tolerant, semi-open canopy allows for undergrowth
Negatives: wood is not super strong and is known to break
USDA Cold Hardiness Zone: 6B to 9B
Light: full sun
Soil: clay; sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; occasionally wet; well-drained
Water: moist to dry
Height & Width: 15 to 25 feet tall and 25 to 35 feet wide
Growth: fast growing
Other Notes: very prolific, once you have one, you’ll have seedlings popping up everywhere, which is good and bad.

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Pollination

Placement

Freezing protection

Plants Per Region

Good list of trees that sell well

Cashews

Pawpaw

Filberts or Hazelnuts

Walnuts

Pecan

A large list of desert plants

Black Locust

Honeylocust

Cassia Tree

Texas Mountain Laurel

Mimosa

Fruit Trees That Prosper in Alabama

orchard image by anna karwowska from Fotolia.com

One of the first things a homesteader will likely want to do is plant fruit trees on his property. Alabama homesteaders will want to carefully consider the temperature in their part of the state. Northern Alabama can see freezing temperatures during the winter, while southern Alabama has an almost tropical feel. Fortunately, there are many varieties of various fruit trees suitable for each region so growing the type of fruit you enjoy can easily be accomplished.

Peaches

Peach & half peach image by Galaiko Sergey from Fotolia.com

Peaches are the official state fruit of Alabama. Thirty to forty varieties of peaches are grown in the state according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. Most of the peach production is centered in Chilton County. This county is an hour south of Birmingham and 30 minutes north of Montgomery. The harvest begins in May and continues through August each year. Some popular varieties of peaches grown in Alabama include Scarlet Pearl, Southern Pearl, Flavorcrest, Harvester or Topaz. Scarlet Pearl and Southern Pearl both have white flesh and are good choices for fresh eating. Flavorcrest, Harvester and Topaz are good choices for home canning or desserts.

Nectarines

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Nectarines are grown in all areas of the state of Alabama. Crimson Gold and Fantasia varieties produce well in the northern region of the state. These nectarines will become available in early to mid-June. Red Gold grows well in northern and central Alabama. This variety will usually become available in late June to mid-July. Crimson Gold and Carolina Red nectarines fare well in southern Alabama. These varieties are normally ready for harvest in early June. Elberta nectarines are grown in all areas of the state. Elberta nectarines are usually ripe in early July in southern Alabama, mid-July in central Alabama and late July in northern Alabama.

Pears

pear image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com

Most of the pears grown in Alabama are of the Asian variety. These pears prove hardy against a common disease of the pear tree known as fire blight. Many of these varieties are self-pollinating; however the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service recommends planting at least two trees of different varieties for optimum crop yields. Pears begin to ripen in early July in southern Alabama, while northern counties can continue to harvest fruit through September. Asian pears can normally be stored under refrigeration for a period of one to three months after harvest. Asian pear varieties commonly grown in Alabama include Early Asian, Doitsu, Chojuro, Megeitsu, Kikusui and Korean Giant.

Apples

apple image by Pali A from Fotolia.com

Apples are grown in most of the state, with the extreme southeastern county of Houston being the exception. Red Delicious and Golden Delicious varieties are the most widely-grown. Cumberland Spur, a type of Red Delicious apple was discovered in Jackson County, Alabama and shows great promise not only in Alabama but throughout the southeast. Jonathan, Rome, Granny Smith, Arkansas Black, Ozark Gold and Ginger Gold are other popular varieties. Gala apples are usually the earliest-producing variety in Alabama. Most of the apple production is in the northern portion of the state. There are a number of u-pick orchards available in the region. Most open for the season in July and close during December. A few of the orchards are open year-round.

Buy Alabama Fruit Trees (Fig), Flowering Trees, Shade Tree, Wildlife Tree, Berry Plants and Grape Vines


Serious Montgomery and Birmingham Alabama gardeners face varying soil types, temperature requirements, and therefore, each gardener must make important decisions about which kinds of Alabama fruit trees, Alabama shade trees and ornamental flowering trees are best adapted to plant. Auburn University, Alabama is located in the Eastern part of the State. At Auburn University, Alabama, extensive research on fruit trees was done in the 1960’s by Dr. J.D. Norton, especially to develop the best Alabama adapted plum trees. Dr. Norton developed the famous Auburn University Plums, (A.U. Plum Trees) such as the A.U. Homeside plums, A.U. Rubrum Plum, A.U. Amber, and A.U. Rosa plum trees. Not only were these plum tree selections bred from crossing an improved Ozark Premier with a Methley plum cultivar – an old,excellent choice for Alabama homeowners, but the now disease resistant, new, high quality Plum trees are distributed widely by national plum tree nursery operators. Dr. Joseph D. Norton also developed a fruiting pear tree with a red skin that was highly adapted and productive in Alabama home gardens. This redskin pear also was attractive on grocery store shelves when displayed with yellow pears or green-brown pears.

Find out how to order and purchase the Chicago Hardy Fig trees that are very cold hardy and the TN Mountain Fig tree can be grown in at least USDA zones 5 or warmer. The Black Mission Fig tree, the Italian Fig Trees, and the invisible to birds, Green Ischau Fig tree are being successfully grown in Alabama. Many other fig tree cultivars can be purchased for sale on tytyga.com.

Auburn University, Alabama horticulture professors also did extensive research on new varieties of the best AL adaptable nut tree orchards. The Amling pecan tree has been released by a former A.U. Researcher, named H.J. Amling to limited pecan nursery growers. The Amling pecan tree has proven to be a reliable producer of thin shelled, oily pecan kernels, and these Alabama adapted pecans have now been tested in pecan orchards in many other States other than Al. Chinese Chestnut tree research at Auburn University, Alabama has been extensively done, and the chestnuts varieties selected as being the best are very productive, and the chestnut seed are huge in size and tops in quality. Another nut, the chinquapin, is rare and exotic choices for nut collectors, but 10 years ago, chinquapin trees, (chinkapin trees) occurred as native trees throughout the South growing in enormous tree groups, where families collected the chinquapins for winter eating, and wildlife animals also gathered and feasted on chinquapins during the Fall and Winter months from Alabama forests. Ducks, geese and even deer flocked to the chinquapin trees to satisfy their appetites on thin shell chinquapins. The deadly chestnut blight killed most of chinquapin trees growing in Al and most other States, but Auburn University, Alabama, professors have been hybridizing this nut tree using blight resistant surviving strains of chinquapins to be intercrossed. Black Walnut trees are a favorite Alabama nut tree, and a special, early bearing, Thomas black Walnut trees, are excellent AL nut trees, and large specimens of Thomas black walnut trees often can bear a few walnuts the first year after planting. Walnut trees are not only important trees grown for the nuts, but in Northern Alabama, black walnut trees grow into huge sizes, and single specimens of trees have been shown to sell for tens of thousands of dollars for each tree. Chinese chestnut trees are very cold hardy and have been inter-hybridized with the native American Chestnut to produce a blight free American chestnut tree that produces excellent quality nuts, just like the Colonial American chestnuts that covered AL forests.

Discover the best Alabama fruit trees that flourish in local backyard gardens are apricot trees that produce high quality apricots.AL trees such as peach trees are a choice orchard fruit tree in Al., but the Nectarine (fuzzless peach) is rapidly replacing the commercial Peach tree in backyard gardens, even though the fuzz on the peach makes it much more resistant to disease problems in the very humid Southern States. The black cherry tree (Black Tartarian cherry) grows very well North of Montgomery, Al., and Birmingham, and reliable crops of cherries can be expected to grow the first year, if a gardener can locate and buy a bearing size cherry tree. Planting Japanese persimmon trees has become a craze in zone 8 of Southern Alabama, and the non-astringent Fuyu persimmon tree appears the best choice for commercial persimmon orchards, as well as for the backyard gardener. American persimmon trees are well known and are a native persimmon tree to Alabama. Persimmons are an extremely important food for wildlife animals like deer, duck and other game birds during the fall and winter, when other wildlife food plots have been exhausted. American persimmon trees are widely planted by hunters on wildlife hunting preserves that, most assuredly, will draw in hoards of whitetail deer and flocks of turkey and other wildlife birds and animals. Mulberry trees are also an excellent food for wildlife animals in early spring when they are the first fruit to ripen. White mulberry and red mulberry trees fruit heavily in April when food for wildlife is scarce. Ty Ty Nursery also offers grafted, black and red mulberry trees that will usually bear fruit during the first year if planting is done early.

Alabama wild muscadine grape vines are native to woodlands, however, new cultivars of muscadine grapevines have a higher quality, greater flavor and reliable productivity and are now planted in many Alabama vineyards. Scuppernong grape vines and muscadine grapevines have created a new commercial agricultural industry in Alabama. Many Alabama gardeners plant seedless bunch grapevines for use as table grapes, however, most seedless grapes do not produce as much sugar and sweetness as the bunch grape that retain their grape seeds, such as the Concord grapevine and the Niagara grape. Many gardeners get bunch grapes to plant and make the top grades of grape wine, because of the high sugar content that produces a high quality wine.

Rabbiteye blueberry planting has been increasingly popular in generating cash income for pick-your-own operators, and recently some Alabama commercial blueberry plantings have been made. The Rabbiteye blueberry plant appears to clearly be the most suitable blueberry cultivars of choice to plant by the berry enthusiast. The Tifblue blueberry variety is the best to pollinate with the Brightblue blueberry plant. Buy the best two different blueberry plant varieties that are usually found necessary to plant for the best pollination of blueberry plants. Discover the top high quality tips and growing information from reviews of Ty Ty Nursery, tytyga.com. on the website.

For establishing a fast growing plant growth to outline a privacy boundary for golf course fairways and greens in Alabama in cities like, Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery, AL bamboo plants will block out automobile noises and convert the harmful fumes of carbon dioxide into healthy Oxygen. Large bamboo clumps are densely populated with culms (canes, poles, stems) that are thickly populated with dense leaves that will reduce the noisy traffic of automobiles that pollute the air with toxic fumes of carbon dioxide and convert them into oxygen. The surface of stalks of different bamboo cultivars have beautiful colors of gold, black-green or waxy blue, and the stems or leaves can be randomly variegated. For the private homeowners in Alabama, bamboo plants are the perfect privacy block that will limit the traffic of unwanted people from entering your property. Plant your own living bamboo fence by ordering from Ty Ty Bamboo Nursery, tytyga.com and the plants will be boxed and shipped ty UPS immediately and directly to your house or business at any time during the year.
Most gardeners who plant shade trees are looking to buy a larger tree or a fast growing tree to get cooling shade as fast as possible at their home or office. The ‘catch 22’ about planting a fast-growing-tree is that the tree has soft wood with less lignin and cellulose deposited in the bark, ending up with a tree that breaks apart very easily, and the soft wood is more likely to be attacked and damaged by beetles, worms and fungus, as well as being more susceptible to cold weather damage or tree death. Alabama gardeners are faced with planting shade trees in USDA growing zones of 7, 8 and 9, therefore, the trees suggested here are shade trees that will and must survive zero degrees F. in AL. The Red Maple tree is a native Alabama tree and is radiant red in the fall color leaf display, and the red leaves appear again in the very early spring when the red maple tree comes to life. The Red Oak Tree and the White Oak tree are very good slow growing shade trees that glow brightly in the fall. In Alabama Bald Cypress trees become excellent shade trees, along with the Pond Cypress tree, the latter tree preferring wet feet. For best growing in AL.,, the fast growing trees are the Elm tree, Tulip Poplar tree and Weeping Willow trees all that would be a good choice for fast shade. Catalpa trees give good shade and flowers that are fragrant and spectacular. The worms on the leaves make good fish bait. A Sassafras tree grows fast with good shade and grow into a fragrant garden delight. The Lombardy poplar trees may be the fastest growing tree that is planted in Alabama as a shade tree and a privacy screen or a wind blocker. The Sour Wood tree produces some of the most vibrant colored leaves in the fall.
Wildlife trees, nuts and berries are important to Alabama animal conservationists and hunters. The most important wildlife fruit trees are the Pear tree, the wild crabapple tree and the native American persimmon trees that all bear fruit during the fall when other wildlife food is scarce. The native, Alabama, Chickasaw plum tree and the red, black and white mulberry trees produce heavy fruit sources for deer and birds like the pheasant during the early spring and summer months. One of the most stable sources of acorns is the Sawtooth oak tree that begins a production of acorns as early as 3 years. The Gobbler Oak tree is a smaller version in acorn size of the parent, sawtooth oak tree that birds and smaller animals like quail and dove seem to prefer. The Turkey oak, of course, attracts flocks of turkey in the fall with its acorn crop. The white oak tree is a heavy acorn producer one of the deer favorites when the tree matures. The Autumn olive tree and the Ogeechee lime tree are excellent wildlife providers of fall food supplies. Thorny blackberry plants offer wildlife animals protection from predators and blackberries and dewberries to eat along the forest edge in early summer. The elderberry bushes and the strawberry bush are strong attractants for deer and game birds. All owners of pecan orchards dread the encroachment of white tailed deer, crows and squirrels in the fall, and the hickory tree nuts and the chestnut trees are a favorite hangout for a trophy deer deer. For fishermen the Catalpa shade tree will keep him supplied with fish worms during the summer and fall when they are feasting on the catalpa leaves.
There are many flowering trees that grow in Alabama, the white, red and pink dogwood trees are native flowering trees and the redbud tree flowers alongside the dogwood tree early in the spring at the same time that the wisteria tree (vine) flowers. Crape myrtle trees (shrubs) are one of the most important summer flowering trees, with their popular leaf color changes and ornamental peeling bark, the Red Dynamite Crape Myrtle, the White Natchez crape myrtle tree and the Pink Miami crape myrtles. Many new crape myrtle cultivars, such as the True Blue Dwarf Crape myrtle and the Yuma are really special shrubs. The Purple Cow dwarf crape myrtle is a true dwarf that rarely grows more than 6 feet tall. The oleander shrub that can be formed into an oleander tree by pruning the bottom limbs off is a spectacular flowering tree beginning in late spring and blooming up into the fall in popular colors of Firestarter red, pink and white, and the rare colors of purple, yellow and apricot oleanders can grow up to 25 feet tall, and all oleanders thrive in coastal areas like Mobile, AL., where they are salt water tolerant and even grow in sand dunes. The Southern Magnolia tree, Magnolia grandiflora, not only is a great shade tree in Alabama, but it also is a good flowering tree that produces giant, aromatic flowers, beginning in May and flowering until the fall, but remains as an evergreen flowering tree. The Little Magnolia trees are dwarf clones of the Southern Magnolia tree, and perfect for Alabama gardens.
Many Alabama gardeners look for plants that require little or no growing attention, and the agave plants, yucca trees and aloe plants are a good choice since they are desert plants and most of these will grow in zone 7,8 or 9 over the entire State in the landscape. The Agave americana is a native American plant that most people call the “Century plant” as an evergreen succulent, fleshy leafed plant that requires no fertilizer, no addition of water or chemicals to fight insects or disease. The Agave americana also grows in a variegated striped leaf form called Agave americana “Marginata” The Agave american ‘Medio-Picta Alba” is considered by many to be the most beautiful agave with its clear brilliant stripe that bisects the center of the leaf. The Agave attenuata is called the “Spineless Agave” and is absent of teeth or terminal spikes on the leaves. The Agave tequilana is a huge agave plant that is harvested in Mexico commercially to ferment the juice in the alcoholic beverage, tequila. Yucca plants make dramatic statements as specimens in the landscape and are extremely cold hardy and evergreen to zone 5. The Spanish Bayonet is fitted with punishing and lethal leaves that terminate in a sharp spike that will burglar-proof your windows when planted beneath. The Joshua Tree, Yucca brevifolia is an evergreen yucca plant that grows into a 16 ft. tree. The brightly striped variegated leaves of the Yucca filamentosa , Color Guard, is an eyecatcher when planted as a yard specimen. The Yucca rostrata grows into thousand year old evergreen trees that look weird and unearthly in the tree form. The Red Yucca grows red leaves during the wintertime. The Aloe vera is an aloe plant that is best grown inside a container that has a juice that cures flesh burns, stings and wounds, and sends up beautiful flower stalks in the spring.

Apples: Best Apple Varieties to Grow

Looking for Best Apple Varieties to Grow in 2020? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.

If you have questions or feedback, please let me know! There are affiliate links on this page. Read our disclosure policy to learn more.

Notes for February 2020: Summer is here and that means blueberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, figs, corn and tomatoes are here. Check your area’s specific crop calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for seasonal updates. Strawberries and cherries are finishing up in the north, long done in the South.

See these pages to find a local Peach festival, Blueberry festival and other festivals. We have a guide to peach varieties here. Also recipes, canning and freezing directions for strawberries, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, corn etc.

See our comprehensive list of easy home canning, jam and jelly making, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to write me! It is easy to make your own ice cream, even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream – see this page. Also note, there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. They have all copied their information from here and usually do not ever update. Since 2002, I’ve been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see anything wrong or outdated, please write me!

Children’s Consignment Sales occur in both the Spring and Fall See our companion website to find a local community or church kid’s consignment sale!

Choosing the Best Variety of Apple to Grow in Your Area

Which to grow in your area and why!

This page helps you find the right variety of apple to grow in your area. For detailed descriptions of many apple varieties that you can pick or buy at the grocery store (or grow), see this page! Also, see our pages on tips for picking apples at a farm, easy illustrated directions to make applesauce, apple butter, apple jelly and apple pie; and our list of apple festivals!

Choosing the right variety of apple for your yard

Ultimately, best best variety is the one you like to eat best, but there are some other considerations:

  1. Know your area’s Chilling hours: Apples, like all stone fruit, require a specific duration of cold below 40 F in order to set a good crop. Specifically, chilling hours are the number of hours below 45F accumulated by the tree during the winter to overcome dormancy. Knowing the typical chill hour accumulation for your area should be one of the primary criteria you use in choosing varieties that are suitable to grow there. This map, from the University of Maryland’s research, gives you a good idea for your area, to match up against the requirements of each variety of apple that you like. Most apple varieties have a chill requirement of about 1,000 hours or more, which is readily achieved in the temperate apple-growing regions of the USA (which, you can see from the map, does NOT include Florida, south Georgia and much of the Gulf Coast areas) But you need to check your speciufic state and area. The northern half of Alabama, for example, can grow apples (see this page). Apples do grow well in most areas of South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Sorry Florida, apple trees will grow there, but rarely produce fruit.
    Some exceptions: Anna, a Golden Delicious style apple, and Ein Shemer, a yellow/green variety, developed in Isreal, both tolerate climates with only 300-400 chilling hours. Dorsett Golden, which was found in the Bahamas, needs less than 100 hours.

  2. Select varieties that have a chilling requirement at least 20% less than local averages.
  3. If you choose a low chill variety in a cold area, that will result in trees flowering too early and being damaged by late frosts. Conversely, choosing a high chill variety in a warm area will result in little or no fruit production.
  4. Early ripening varieties tend to be best in areas with hot summers, like the Deep South, and late ripening varieties are best in areas with cooler summers, like the northern US and Canada..
  5. Local terrain can affect the chilling hours actually received. For example, open slopes may receive more chilling hours than sheltered areas next to the south side of warm buildings.
  6. Disease resistence – some varieties have been found to be more resistent to bugs, fungus and bacteria attacks.
  7. Heirloom, like Orange Pippin; or modern variety, like Honeycrisp? It’s just your preference; there are no “GMO apple” varieties.
  8. How to find out which variety does best in your area? Ask the nursery. Usually, the online nurseries, like Raintree, put it in the description for each apple tree.

Websites for Apple Variety Descriptions:

Apple Trees for Northern Climates (Saint Lawrence Nursery – NY)
The best list of apples, both modern and heirloom, for northern states, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, upstate New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Alaska. It is an especially good site for finding hardiness information.
Big Horse Creek Farm – Master Variety List
Descriptions of about 300 varieties from this nursery located in North Carolina. This is an excellent source for descriptions of apples suitable for the southern or Appalachian regions.
Apple Varieties for Home Production
A huge alphabetical list of varieties suitable for various regions from NaturalHub.com.
FairShare Recipe Exchange – Apple Varieties
Another alphabetical list. This one emphasizes the culinary uses of the varieties listed.
Apple Source (Descriptions of the apple varieties they sell)
Want to try some of the apples you’ve picked for your orchard? This site not only offers descriptions, but they also sell and ship more than 80 kinds of apples!
Tree of Antiquity
Brief descriptions of hundreds of varieties as well as information on disease-resistant varieties and a comparison (complete with pictures) of popular apples.

The many apple associations listed on this page have more facts and resources

Recommended Apple Varieties for 40 States :

If the link for your state does not tell you enough about apples recommended for your region, use the sites above to find out more about the varieties you are considering including in your orchard.

Alabama
Apple Varieties in Alabama (Alabama Cooperative Extension)
Alaska
Vegetable and Fruit Varieties for Interior Alaska (U. of Alaska – Fairbanks)
Recommended Varieties for South Central Alaska (UAF)
Alaska Apples
Arizona
Fruit Trees: Planting and Varieties (University of Arizona)
Fruit Trees: Introduction and Plant Climate Zones (University of Arizona)
Arkansas
Apple Production in the Home Garden (U. of Arkansas)
California
Growing Temperate Tree Fruit and Nut Crops in the Home Garden and Landscape (University of California)
Colorado
Fruit Fetish (Colorado State University)
Delaware
Apples for Delaware
Florida
Low Chill Apple Cultivars for North and North Central Florida (IFAS Extension)
Georgia
Home Garden Apples (U. of Georgia)
Idaho
Apple Cultivars for East Idaho (U. of Idaho Extension)
Illinois
Apples and More (U. of Illinois Extension)
Fruits and Nuts that Do Well in the Chicago Area (Bob Kurle’s Fruit and Nut List)
Indiana
Apple Cultivars for Indiana (Purdue U.)
Iowa
Apple Varieties and Their Uses (Iowa State U.)
Suggested Apple Varieties for Home Gardens in Iowa (Iowa State U.)
Kansas
Fruit and Nut Cultivars (KSU Extension)
Louisiana
The Louisiana Home Orchard (LSU Ag Center)
Maine
Apples Grown by Hillside Orchard (Manchester, Maine)
Apple Varieties (Ricker Hill Orchards – Turner, Maine)
Maryland
Apple Varieties in Maryland (Maryland Apple Promotion Board)
Massachusetts
100 Varieties (and that is only counting apples) (U. of Massachusetts Cold Spring Orchard)
Apples and Crab Apples (U. of Mass.)
Michigan
Tree-Mendus (apple photos – Michigan)
Apple Scion/Rootstock Selection and Planning for Michigan (MSU)
Minnesota

Growing apples in the home garden
Growing Apples and Pears in Minnesota Gardens (U. of Minn.)
Apples for Minnesota and Their Culinary Uses (U. of M.)
Commercial Fruit Production in Minnesota (U of M)
Missouri
Apple Cultivars and their Uses (U. of Missouri)
Missouri Apple History
Nebraska
Fruit Tree Cultivars for Nebraska (U. Nebraska- Lincoln)
New Hampshire
Dwarf Apple Trees for the Home Garden (University of New Hampshire)
Growing Fruit Trees (UNH)
New Mexico
Fruit Species and Varieties for the Home Orchard (New Mexico State University)
New York
New York Apple Country Varieties
Apple Varieties Grown in NY State (Cornell Univ)
Grandpap’s Apple Orchard (Ithaca College NY)
North Carolina
Producing Tree Fruit for Home Use (NCSU)
Apple Varieties and Descriptions (Big Horse Creek Farm, North Carolina)
North Dakota
Fruit Tree Culture and Varieties in North Dakota (NDSU)
Oklahoma
Apple and Peach varieties for Oklahoma (Oklahoma Cooperative Extension)
Ohio
Apples: A Guide to Selection and Use (Ohio State Univ.)
Oregon
Growing Fruits and Nuts in the Home Orchard (Oregon State U.)
Pennsylvania

Apple cultivars (varieties)
Tree Fruit Production Guide (Penn. State U.)
Heirloom Mid-Atlantic Varieties (Pennsylvania)
South Carolina
Home and Garden Information Center – Apple (South Carolina – Clemson U.)
South Dakota
Fruit Cultivars for South Dakota (South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service)
Tennessee
Selecting Quality Apples (U. of Tennessee)
Texas Home Fruit Production – Apples (Texas State U.)
Apple Varieties (Texas A. & M.)
Utah, Utah
Apples (Utah State U. Extension)
Vermont
Vermont Apple Varieties (Vermont Apple Board)
Virginia
Apple Variety Evaluations (Virginia Cooperative Extension)
Tree Fruit in the Home Garden (Virginia Tech)
Vintage Virginia Apples
Washington
Growing Tree Fruit at Home in Eastern Washington (WSU)
Apples in Washington State (WSU)
Apple Research/Variety Trials (WSU)
Backyard Apple Production (WSU)
Wisconsin
Apple Cultivars for Wisconsin (U. or Wisc.)
Apples of Wisconsin (Dane Co. Conservation League)

Home Canning Kits

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It’s much cheaper than buying the items separately. You’ll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see !

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars? Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes? Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!

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