The Q&A Archives: San Francisco Chill Hours

Question: I live in San Francsico and I am trying to determine what type of plum, nectarine or apricot tree would do well (in terms of producing fruit) in my neighborhood. How many chill hours does San Francisco receive?

Answer: Plums producing reliably in your area include the cultivars 'Brooks' (yellowish fruit), 'Damson' (purple fruit), 'Early Laxton' (yellow flesh - needs another plum as a pollinator), 'Imperial' (red-purple to black fruit - needs another plum tree as a pollinator), and 'Stanley' (large, purple-black skin, yellow flesh). Nectarines include 'Arctic Star', 'Double Delight', 'Gold Mine', 'Nectar Babe', 'Necta Zee', 'Snow Queen' and 'Southern Belle'. 'Royalty' and 'Tilton' Apricots will produce fruit in your gardening zone.

Many fruit trees need to spend a certain amount of time during their dormant period at temperatures between 32 and 55F. This winter chill requirement can vary from less than 100 hours to over 1,500 hours. In your gardening zone, winter low temperatures rarely drop below 45F, and will not provide enough chill for some fruits. The cultivars listed above have been developed to produce well with a minimum amount of winter chill and should perform reliably in your gardening region.

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