Need help selecting fruit tree to plan

supertreatAugust 20, 2013

Hello everyone,
I live in the Black Hills of SD in zone 5b. Elevation is about 3300 ft and we have a cold-winter semi-arid climate. Soil is sandy and well drained in the yard and we get plenty of sunshine year round. Summer temps top out around 100 for maybe a week or so but usually hover in 80-90 range during the hottest part. With the elevation and low humidity things cool off well at night. Usually dip down into the low 60s or even lower during the summer. It's not uncommon to get a frost in late april early May. We also can get a bit of "indian summer" here with winter temps up into the 50s or even low 60s for a few days at a time - but average winter highs are in the 30s. Many gardeners here put their plants outside after mother's day to avoid that. I do have a lot of deer to contend with in my area and they eat everything. I also did a soil test and the ph is 7.9 and have the full test results if you guys need it. Looking for some recommended fruit trees that would do well and wouldn't require lots of sprays, etc. Thanks.

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It is always best to find a knowledgeable local nurseryman. Ask around. You might consider Pear.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:50PM
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Hi Fireduck. Sounds like you're describing my situation pretty closely, so I'll tell you what has worked for me.

I grow a Gold Spice pear on OHxFarmingdale, not positive which one, and it has done well; I've grafted a few other varieties to it and it's has been happy, precocious, healthy, and manageable. So I recommend that one.

I also have a Liberty apple on some unspecified "semi-dwarf" rootstock. Libety is hale and healthy and hard to manage, but it churns out a ton of apples. I've grafted about 20 varieties to it, and most are doing OK if not well. I'd do it again. Liberty is one of the most disease-resistant apples and we love the fruit, although it's not a great keeper.

I kill off stone fruit with some regularity, but I'm still attempting a prune plum and some apricots. No real advice for you there.

I'm not currently doing any soft fruit or grapes but maybe someday- I should live so long.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 8:28PM
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I'm in a very different kind of climate, but I wonder what others in more similar circumstances would say about nanking cherries and juneberries for you.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:00PM
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That's a good idea. I don't know anything about juneberries but nanking cherries certainly do well here in western Montana at 3200 ft. That's the one I don't kill off too regularly.

(I suspect my stone fruit record would be better if my wife didn't water so heavily- we've talked about it and she has backed off quite a bit! Nanking cherry does better with wet feet than many stone fruit.)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Avocado101(9A Southern California)

I live in California, so I'm not too familiar with Zone 5. But I think Chestnuts, Pine nuts, and possibly persimmons can grow in Zone 5.

Recently I visited Mt. Rushmore and camped at the Black Hills. It was a beautiful place.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 12:41AM
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