Southeastern U.S. Fruit Trees – Growing Fruit Trees In The South
By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Nothing tastes quite as good as fruit you’ve grown yourself. These days, horticulture technology has provided a near perfect fruit tree for any area of the Southeast.
Choosing Southern Fruit Trees
Fruit you can grow in the South is often chosen by your zip code on specialized nursery sites. Local nurseries and even big box stores can purchase appropriate trees for the growing zones they serve. Autumn is often the best planting time for fruit trees.
While it is no problem to find just the right southeastern U.S. fruit trees for your area, you still have many decisions to make:
- How many trees should you buy?
- How much room to is needed to accommodate them on your property?
- Which fruits will you choose?
- How much maintenance will be necessary?
- How will you store or preserve the extras you’re likely to have?
While it normally takes three years of growth to reach an optimum harvest on southern fruit trees, you’ll want to make decisions early and plant accordingly. Nobody wants to put in all the work necessary for a plentiful crop and have fruit wasted from lack of planning.
Growing Fruit Trees in the South
Deciding which fruit to grow depends largely on what your family likes to eat. Apples, pears, peaches and citrus grow in many areas of the Southern U.S. If you have adequate space, you can grow them all. You will see that most trees have a requirement of chilling hours to produce. Here is a word on your choices:
- Citrus: Some citrus trees can grow as far north as USDA hardiness zone 7, in North Carolina and thereabouts. Some varieties are limited to coastal areas and most need special steps to protect from winter cold. Mandarin oranges, navel oranges, satsuma and tangerines can grow and produce well in these regions with additional care. These and other citrus grow readily in USDA zones 8-11, but some may need winter protection for episodes of untimely freezing.
- Peaches: Peach trees are one of those trees that need winter chill hours. Consequently, they grow best in zones 6 and 7 in the Southeast. Chill hours vary by type, so choose a tree appropriate for the climate in your area. Some peach trees will also produce in zone 8.
- Apples: Long season apples grow best in zones 6 and 7. Chill hours vary by type on apple trees as well. Even those with limited landscape space can likely make room for a couple of dwarf apple trees. Make sure not to plant in a “frost pocket.”
- Pears: Pears are often a favorite fruit in many households. They are of Asian or European descent. Some varieties grow in zones 8 and 9, while others fare well in zones 6 and 7. Pear types need chill hours, usually above freezing and below 45 degrees F. (7 C.).
There are numerous other fruit trees for warm climates. Do your research before planting to make sure you grow just what the family will consume and enjoy.
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27 Different Types of Fruit Trees (Plus More Fruitful Facts)
Interested to know and learn about all the different types of fruit trees? Here's a massive list of them with photos and detailed descriptions.
All cultures have hundreds of cultural connections to their local fruits and various legendary myths about their magical healing or restorative qualities. Even if not magical, fruits are an essential part of the human diet, and fruit-producing trees have evolved over billions of years, alongside every other species, beautifully linked with the ecosystem.
Fruits are an important part of nearly every type of cuisine in the world in many places, native fruits are even made into expensive delicacies. The Densuke watermelon from Japan, for example, is said to have a ‘special kind of sweetness’ that makes people pay thousands of dollars for one. Farmed on a northern island of Japan, only a hundred grow every year!
Fruits are also a vital source of nutrition. Almost all vitamins that we need for the healthy functioning of our bodies can be found in fruits. However, trees do not produce fruits just for us. Fruits are seed houses for trees they are a mechanism through which plants can spread their genes as far and wide as possible so more of their kind populate the land.
The ovaries of flowering trees turn into fleshy, dry, or ripe fruits. Seeds are the fertilized ovum of a tree, therefore when they are planted, a new tree is born. Fruits are not found exclusively on trees, but also shrubs, small plants, or ground vegetations. The main objective of fruit trees is to attract various land animals, birds, insects, and humans to their fruits so that they can be consumed and their seeds replanted. That is why fruits taste delicious.
So what makes a fruit tree and how many types of fruit trees are there exactly? Read this article to find out all about the fruit trees that supply important vitamins and enzymes to our diet. Interestingly, this article on the different varieties of fruit trees also reveals the many different types of fruit you can eat – but not all (such as berries which don’t grow on trees).
How to Grow Fruit Trees in South Mississippi
Southern Mississippi falls within Zone 8 of the USDA hardiness zone map. The climate of southern Mississippi is a Gulf Coast climate with mild winters that rarely drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The major challenge that fruit growers face in southern Mississippi comes from the delta soil. Mississippi delta soil is high in clay content. Clay soil rarely drains well in the Mississippi delta region. In addition, frequent rains that are characteristic of the climate have caused the soil to become compacted in many areas. Before fruit trees will grow well in South Mississippi, the soil must be improved.
- Southern Mississippi falls within Zone 8 of the USDA hardiness zone map.
- Clay soil rarely drains well in the Mississippi delta region.
Test your soil six months prior to planting fruit trees in south Mississippi. Mississippi State University maintains a soil testing laboratory as a part of their community and continuing education extension program. You can download paperwork as well as find instructions on how to submit a soil sample by following the link in the resources section of this article.
Purchase soil amendments based on the recommendations made in the results from the soil test. Soil amendments that will improve the drainage of clay soil and make it loamier in structure include organic materials such as compost and peat moss. Gypsum will help to break up clay soil and improve drainage. To change your pH, add dolomitic limestone to raise the pH or powdered sulfur to lower the pH.
- Test your soil six months prior to planting fruit trees in south Mississippi.
- Soil amendments that will improve the drainage of clay soil and make it loamier in structure include organic materials such as compost and peat moss.
Break up your soil to a depth of eight inches by passing a rotoriller over it. Spread amendments over the top of the soil to a depth of four inches. Mix the amendments into the soil by passing the rototiller over the soil again.
Select fruit plants that will do well in the southern Mississippi soil and climate. Most apple trees will not grow well in clay soils, but peaches and other stone fruits will thrive in well-amended south Mississippi soil. Pears grow throughout the state and can also be planted.
Dig a planting hole that is twice as wide as your tree’s root ball but no deeper than the root ball. Do not place soil amendments such as compost in the planting hole. This can create a potted plant effect by causing the roots to never grow further than the amended soil.
- Break up your soil to a depth of eight inches by passing a rotoriller over it.
- Select fruit plants that will do well in the southern Mississippi soil and climate.
Place the root ball into the planting hole and cover with soil. Tap the soil with your heel to release any air pockets. Water well to establish roots. The soil should remain as damp as a wrung out sponge.
Water your tree manually only during drought periods. Southern Mississippi is a wet climate. Your tree should receive enough moisture from rain to help it thrive.
Growing fruit trees in Southern Nevada
Pat Warren is a certified Master Gardener with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. (Photo: submitted)
A beautiful orchard heavily laden with fruit is not, usually, the first image that comes to mind when one thinks of the desert — but it could be. Contrary to popular belief, you can successfully grow a wide variety of fruit trees right in your own backyard but there are a few things you’ll need to know first.
First, not all fruit trees can be treated equally. Citrus trees, unlike non-citrus varieties, can suffer from wind damage and they are also frost sensitive. Whenever you have temperatures in the low to mid 20s for several hours at a time, your citrus trees run the risk of the equivalent of frostbite. While many can be planted in the ground, it is usually better to grow them in containers in order to forestall this possibility. Dwarf varieties are perfect for this purpose and the movable nature of containers allows you to take advantage of sheltered areas in your yard when the winds pick up and when temperatures drop into the danger zone you can move the plant inside temporarily.
Grapefruit are less cold sensitive than other citrus trees and varieties like Marsh, Oro Blanco and Rio work well here. Lemons are your fastest growers and Meyer (not actually a lemon), Eureka, Pink and Ponderosa lemons are types to look for. Limes are the most cold-sensitive so we don’t recommend that you try to plant them in the ground. If you must give limes a try, varieties Bearss, Mexican and Sweet are ones to try. Oranges and tangerines are also best grown in containers with Lane Late Naval, Moro Blood, Pink Navel, and Valencia oranges being popular choices and Dancy, Algerian and Honey being winners in the tangerine category.
Non-citrus fruit trees are much easier to grow here and you have a lot of tasty options to choose from.
Apricots love our climate so you have a lot of choices that should thrive — Blenheim, Gold Kist, Moorpark and Royal Rosa are proven winners. Apples don’t necessarily do well here so stick to tried and true varieties Dorset Golden or Pink Lady (aka Cripps Pink). Figs are another good choice for our climate. Try either Black Mission or Janice. Peaches do very well here and have actually received top-chef praise for their quality. Babcock, Eva’s Pride, May Pride, Mid Pride and Starks Saturn are all proven winners. Pears like Kieffer, Bartlett and Monterrey will produce sweet-flavored fruit but they probably won’t be as pretty as commercially grown fruit. Plums and some of their hybrids like pluots (an apricot/plum hybrid) do well here. Try Santa Rosa or Emerald Beauty for true plums while Flavor King or Flavor Queen produce flavorful pluots.
So who needs the supermarket when you can have your pick of fresh fruit right from your own backyard?
If you have other gardening questions, you can call University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Help Desk at 702-257-5555. Volunteer Master Gardeners are available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The service is free.
Pat Warren is a certified Master Gardener with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. For information, call or email the Master Gardener Help Desk at 702-257-5555.
Columnar Fruit Trees
Unlike regular trees, columnar trees grow upwards, not out. The best thing about them is that they consume so little horizontal space that they can be grown anywhere you wish, if sufficient conditions are fulfilled.
Not only is it extremely pleasing to the eye, it also enables passionate gardeners with little outdoor space to have the experience of growing a fruit tree under their belt.
The fruit from columnar trees is full sized, and just as delicious as any other variety. Fruits like cherries, plums, and peaches are also available in this variety however, they may need to pruned and plucked at certain points to maintain the spiral structure as well as other fruits.
Having all this fascinating information about fruit trees can help you decide what you would like to plant in your backyard. A fruit tree is an investment that does not only provide shade and oxygen to the environment, but also gives you and children plenty of healthy food to eat.