The Q&A Archives: Fruit Trees

Question: I planted green granny smith apple and an orange tree. Will they survive and give fruits in the Roanoke, Texas soil/weather conditions? What fruit trees grow well in Texas soil? The soil is clay on the top and deep gets soft. I was also thinking of planting flowering pear, lemon and southern magnolia.

Answer: The type of fruit or nut that you choose to grow may depend on several factors, such as the climate in your region of the state, the amount of care the plants require or simply your personal preferences. For each type of fruit or nut, you should choose the variety that is best suited to your needs and your area.

Apples are a popular fruit in much of Texas and, with proper variety selection, can be grown in all areas. Most varieties require cross-pollination, so, for maximum production, plant two varieties.

Fire blight, a bacterial disease that kills leaves, branches and sometimes whole trees, is the chief limiting factor to growing pears in Texas. Pears are also readily killed by cotton root rot.

Do not attempt to grow popular varieties such as Bartlett because of their extreme vulnerability to fire blight. Plant only blight-resistant varieties in Texas. Plant at least two pear varieties to ensure good fruit set.

Asian pears are attracting considerable attention because of their high-quality fruit. They are characterized by apple-like shapes on certain varieties and an apple-like texture with a pear flavor. These varieties are reasonably well-adapted in Texas.

Tropical and subtropical fruits, such as citrus, avocado, mango, banana, and papaya, are extremely sensitive to cold weather, which limits their planting to mostly coastal and deep South Texas, unless you take special precautions for freeze protection. Of these fruits, citrus has a greater range of cold-hardiness, with some types capable of surviving temperatures in the high teens.

Best wishes with your edible landscape!

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