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Choosing/growing new fruit trees?

Posted by Ellusionz 9 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 1, 12 at 19:35

Hi! I am looking to put in a couple fruit trees in my new home and would like some advice. I want an apple, clementine and lemon tree, dwarf variety if possible. My yard is pretty big (half acre) but don't want to take up so much space. I'm in zone 9, central Florida, so need something that grows well here.
For apples I would like something similar to Honeycrisp if possible, since they don't grow in this area.
For clementines, something seedless like those small and sweet cuties I've gotten at the stores?
And for lemons I have no idea, just figured I'd plant something my mom might like :)

Also, I'm a bit confused on how they fruit.. do you have to plant two so they pollinate each other or will they make fruit on their own?

Thanks for any advice you can give to this newbie!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Choosing/growing new fruit trees?

I don't know anything about citrus, but I do know and wonder about apples.

I'm in Wisconsin so don't take my word for it, but there is a website called Kuffel Creek where a famous apple dude grows Honeycrisp successfully in California in Zone 9 or 10.... so don't say you can't grow them in Florida, because it might actually be worth a shot! And if that doesn't work, Fuji is somewhat of a similar apple, crisp, sweet, and juicy, and that kind will definitely grow in a warm climate.

With apples, you really need 2 or even 3 different kinds of apples anyway for proper pollination. So perhaps try both, as well as perhaps Anna or Dorsett or Goldrush or Arkansas Black. All these are great apples that will grow nicely in a warm climate.

Have fun picking out and caring for all your fruit! It's a fun little hobby, which can become an obsession if you let it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kuffel Creek

RE: Choosing/growing new fruit trees?

Well, for citrus, you can see if you can find some of the "Cutie" varieties that are marketed throughout the year. The two main varieties are the Clementine Mandarin and W. Murcott Mandarin. I have both an Algerian Clementine and a Nules Clementine, both of which are very good. I would suggest instead of W. Murcott, to try to find either a Gold Nugget, Yosemite Gold or the irradiated and thus seedless version of the W. Murcott, the Tango. And, if that's not enough options for you, by far and above, the best tasting mandarin I've ever had is the Seedless Kishu. It is small, but completely seedless and it is the best tasting mandarin I've ever had. And I grow many varieties of mandarins (15). Some of these mandarin varieties may be hard to come by in Florida, as several are products of the UC Riverside Citrus program, and the budwood has not made it to Florida, yet. But, several have, so do check around.

Lemons. Well, depends what you're looking for in a lemon. Can't go wrong with a Eureka. It is your classic lemon. I would see if you can find a Santa Teresa (St. Teresa), which is a very nice Italian classic lemon. And, I would suggest adding an Improved Meyer lemon, which has some orange in its genetic makeup, and is a little less acidic than classic lemons. I happen to love them, and think they make the absolute best lemonade ever. I also make Limoncello from them, which does pack a kick when you make it with Everclear 150 proof (batch is finishing up right now, in fact!) They're a wonderful lemon and worth a spot in anyone's citrus garden. Citrus do not need cross pollinators, they actually can produce fruit without pollination. So no worries there. Get your citrus on either fulling dwarfing rootstock (Cuban Shaddock or Trifoliate 'Flying Dragon'), or a semi-dwarfing rootstock (there are several options, not sure what's best for your soils, but you can check with your local citrus growers). All citrus are available as semi-dwarf trees and many are available on fully dwarfing rootstocks. Several mail order nurseries in Florida will ship either semi-dwarf or dwarf trees if you can't find them locally.

Apples. I am in a close zone to you. I grow many low chill varieties that should do well in your area. Anna is a monster and will usually produce two crops for me. It does not need a cross pollinator. If you have one, you may get more apples, and they'll be fatter. Dorsett Golden is the cross pollinator, and it is one of the best low chill early apples out there. I love mine. I use it for everything, including eating out of hand. Another excellent choice for later apples are Pink Lady (another consistent flavor test winner) and Fuji/Red Fuji (cross pollinators for each other and most folks know how delicious a Fuji is. Off your own tree, a hundred times better tasting). I would think these 4 varieties would do well in your area, and that would give you 2 early and 2 late apples, which is great for extending your apple harvest. Get them on dwarfing rootstocks and you can keep them in check, along with an easy pruning program. You will most likely need to spray for certain diseases and pests, so be sure to find out how to manage your apples for your area. University of Florida Extension program and your Master Gardeners can guide you there.

Patty S.

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