Best fruit trees and planting dates?

tracydr(9b)September 21, 2010

I want to plant a fig, peach, apple and pomegranate this winter. When is the best time and what are the best varieties to put in the ground? Prefer semi- dwarf or dwarf.

Would also like quince, cherry, apricot, plum and pear if they can fruit here.

Any tips on planting methods? My soil is hard clay, no rocks. Very high Ph. I do have flood irrigation and can plant in shade of big trees if needed.

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Anything on the site below can and does preform well here, there all grown here not bought in from out of state. Flooded lots are great, at least you'll know that you'll have sufficient "hydraulic pressure" to migrate moister deep into your substrate. Add some gypsum to your soils if you need to to help leach out salts and assist in drainage on clay deposits.
Container grown trees can be planted any time of the year, (I planted all of mine in the middle of August!)
Cherries you'll have trouble with.. we have monsoons in the summers here...

Here is a link that might be useful: RSI Growers

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 10:36AM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

I planted several fruit trees this past Spring so I don't have much experience with them. I did get a few fruits and they all came through the summer just fine.
My semi-dwarf apple tree is a Dorcett Golden, my 2 dwarf peach trees are Bonanza (I got 2 delicious peaches off of them)and my pomegranates are Angel Red and Wonderful.
Since you want semi-dwarf and dwarf plants, you may want to check out Black Jack fig. That is one that I am looking at.
You mention that you would like plums and I have 2 ultra dwarf weeping Santa Rosa plum trees. I got them at Lowes or Home Depot last Spring. They are pretty little trees but as yet, I can't tell you how well they will produce.
For the pears, I don't have any of them but I do have a dwarf tree with 3 different Asian pear types grafted onto it. One of the grafts has about a dozen small pears on it. The tree is on the East side of my house and looks great.
Apricots do fine here, they grow them at farms in the Queen Creek.
As for cherries, I am going to try some of those myself. The 3 that I have found to try here are Lapins, Minnie Royal and Royal Lee. Lapins has a higher chill requirement but I was told that they will grow and produce here, we'll see. The other 2 have lower chill requirements but you need one of each for pollination (Lapins is self pollinating). All 3 of these come in dwarf size. Check out the Dave Wilson Nursery website for more info on these.
Around the end of September, the nurseries will be getting in some fruit trees and then they will get bigger shipments and more selections in January. At least that is what 3 different ones have told me.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 4:20PM
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The best time to plant bare root trees is in the early Fall. You can plant container grown trees anytime.

I hope you find the links and information helpful.

Deciduous Fruit and Nuts for the low desert

Fruit Trees for Arizona

Home Orchard Part 1

Home Orchard Part 2

How to plant a fruit tree

George's Pruning Demo

My favorite nurseries.

Peaceful Valley

Trees of Antiquity

Van Well Nursery

Womack Nursery

Not every fig is good for Arizona. RSI sells Desert King. I have some Desert Kings. The Breba crop (1st crop) is very good. The main crop (2nd crop) requires pollination by the fig wasp which we don't have in Arizona. Because of this the main crop figs don't ripen. They just shrivel up on the tree and die.

My best fig is Violet de Bordeaux. It does not get very large and its fruit is very tasty. Five years in they are producing three crops a year.

Almost any pomegranate will grow and thrive here so take your pick.

Low chill apricots grow well here. You have your choice between Katy, Goldkist, Blenheim.

Applenut over in the Fruit and Orchard forum has grown hundreds of apple varieties under low to no chill conditions. They all fruit for him regardless of listed chill hours so take your pick. Forget about chill hours when it comes to apples. Pay close attention to chill hours when it comes to stone fruit.

You can try cherries like agility mom suggests. I would plant them where they will get shade during the day during the winter. That why they will get a few extra chill hours from time to time.

Almost anything that requires low chill hours will fruit here. Some are not worth the effort though as they either can't take our intense sun, heat or occasional high winds.

The two worst to try to grow in Arizona are Avocado and Paw Paw. I know this and have lost one Avocado already. I know of no one who has successfully grown either here outside of the protected confines of a nursery. I still want to try again. Its not that I'm totally stupid. It's just that I love Avocado's and I'm stubborn.

My favorite peaches grown here are Babcock and Red Baron.

There are lots of great low chill plums that will grow here. Just be sure you pick one thats low chill and self-fruitful.

If your soil is clay and high ph you may want amend the soil or use a raised bed. However if other bushes and trees are growing well in your soil you may not need to amend it or plant in raised beds.

In the next month or so most online retailers will be listing their stock for the Fall planting season. Try to plant as early as you can so the trees will have time to establish before next summer.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 10:58PM
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The avocados will grow here and fruit. I lost over $1000 worth before I learned how to properly care for them. There are yards here in town with large trees.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:24AM
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phxplantaddict most of the large ones where planted in years past in orchards or trucked in and planted full size.

The only way I know how keep an avocado alive is to plant them early in the fall to help get them established before their first summer. Then growing them inside a structure covered in shade cloth and protected from the afternoon sun for the first two-three years until they are well established.

I may be giving this one more try soon. Is that how you do it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:50AM
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They do need to be placed in shade or filtered sun the first approx 3 years, allowed to grow in the sun, rather than placed in it. Hole needs to be dug twices the depth of the rootball, at least twice the diameter of the top. Unlike mango and citrus which put down a deep tap root, avocados grow along the surface, looking for food. In the wild they have a 1-2 foot deep layer of mulch to feed on so we need to replicate that here. Alot of compost and mulch. R/O water helps but enough mulch will help negate the water. A small handfull of iron boost with citrus avocado food, 50/50 will help with water as well. The trees that I know of in town were planted as seedlings, not large trees. Large trees dont make it as transplants because avocados need to acclimate.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:53AM
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Thanks so much for all the great info. Agility Mom, where do you train and what breed do you have? I have a 3yo dobe-girl and a new 5month old papillon girl but haven't started competing yet. We train at Top Notch Canines.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 3:47PM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

I have Australian Shepherds and used to belong to Jumping Chollas. These days,I have a full course at my house and just go out back and play with the dogs for fun.
I love the Papillons, they are awesome little dogs.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 1:47AM
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The University of Arizona has volumes of information on all aspects of gardening/landscaping in Arizona. Included in this is a specific publication on deciduous fruit and nut trees that do well in the low desert. The great thing is that they aren't trying to sell you anything and the materials are research based.

Follow the link below and then click on the subject area you need. Use "Fruits and Nuts" and then choose AZ1269.

Here is a link that might be useful: University of Arizona Horticultural Publications.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 3:33PM
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The UofA info is seriously outdated, we've talked to the County Extension to help them update that info.
Sorry were so offensive to people here on the forum we wont try to "sell" you anything anymore. We'll leave the misinformation to the local experts here..

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 10:18PM
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turtaleman49 I have been a member here and a frequent poster in the Fig forum since June 2004. I have over forty fig trees and three are Desert Kings. My information on Desert King aka King comes from both personal experience and from many members in the Fig Forum from all over the country. I would take the word of Encanto Farms and Bass from Trees of Joy any day. Both their sites say the same thing about Desert King. They are in the business of growing and selling figs. Both say along with everyone else Desert Kind produces two crops but the second crop requires pollination from the fig wasp. Arizona does not have the fig wasp.

I don't mind you buying trees from Dave Wilson Nursery and telling every one you graft and grow all the trees you sell yourself. I don't begrudge that you charge three times what an online retailer sells the same tree for or twice what my local retailer sells Dave Wilson grown trees for. But misrepresenting a fruiting characteristic you are flat out wrong about when you are called on it and then acting all smug like you have been wronged is just flat out wrong.

Here is a link that might be useful: What RSI Growers Purchased from DWN in his last order.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:08AM
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    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:33AM
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phxplantaddict, turtleman49 said all the tree he sells produce reliably in Arizona. He was referring to me in his last post. A few posts before I had posted....

"Not every fig is good for Arizona. RSI sells Desert King. I have some Desert Kings. The Breba crop (1st crop) is very good. The main crop (2nd crop) requires pollination by the fig wasp which we don't have in Arizona. Because of this the main crop figs don't ripen. They just shrivel up on the tree and die."

Some figs require pollination from the fig wasp for one or more of their crops.

I stand totally behind what I said about Desert King fig trees. However I already feel bad about calling turtleman49 out about his orders from Dave Wilson Nursery. Its just that I have seen his wholesale orders from Dave Wilson Nursery and for years it has always matched what he sells at RSI Growers. He has posted many times during that time that he grafts and grows all his trees himself. I'm sure there must be some logical explanation. I should have ask him in private before opening my big mouth. I spoke without hearing his side of the story first. For that I am sorry. It does look very suspicious though.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:10AM
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It figures, call someone out and make accusations without the facts.
We grow all our own root stocks, and bud and graft all our own trees. All our trees are on root stocks that DW does not grow on.. but to do that you still have to have the budwood, and where would you get the budwood or cuttings from?(figs and Poms, grapes ect) you have to buy it in if there isn't any locally available. FYI, it's less expensive to buy the tree than budwood then cut up the tree for grafting. Once the inventory is built up we then have an available source.. If you've ever followed that link over time you'd see a number of items that we grow and sell that DW does not have.
It's easy to hide behind blind email to slander someones work.. I guess being a long time poster makes someone a expert instead of spending close to 40 years managing orchards

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:51AM
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turtleman49 I apologize. I acted foolishly by speaking before I have heard your side of the story. I am sorry. I do know how many trees DWN sells in wholesale bundles though. I have never seen the hundreds is trees in your inventory that each bundled variety should produce. I will just have to take your word for it.

However you are dead wrong about Desert King. The main crop does require a fig wasp which we do not have in Arizona. The tree produces two crops but in Arizona it will only produce one. Having so much experience I would expect that you would know that. If yours are producing two crops they may just be mislabeled because I am not mistaken.

Part way down you will see "King" listed aka Desert King. If you check Encanto Farms or any other knowledgeable fig site they will say the same thing. If you go to the Fig Forum you can hear the same thing from me and everyone else who has ever grown it to maturity. With nearly 40 years of experience I would have expected you to have known that.

By the way I don't have a blind email. My email is from my ISP and all members can email me. All the emails I send have my initials and real last name. I have said where I live many times in this forum and others. My name is in the phone book. No hiding here.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 3:14AM
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Im glad I dont like figs

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:13AM
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No place on any post have I said that fig doesn't need a second crop pollinator, read your own post. " I have some Desert Kings. The Breba crop (1st crop) is very good.
So tell me where I'm wrong!

It happens to be one of the better sellers we have..
Many people want a early setting fig, but don't want to mess with figs setting all year or even a second crop, (they simply can't eat that many or don't want to. That fig is perfect type for those people.
DW sells bundles of 5 or 10 depending on the caliper size, we buy in the bundles of 5 because they have more lateral growth on them that makes for better budwood. The link you give doesn't show any of the 24 types of peaches we grow or nectarine, apricots, plums ect ect.
I don't have "hundereds" of trees in inventory I carry a few thousand.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:31AM
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turtleman49 after my last post I laid in bed thinking about just how mean some of my posts have been. No cussing or name calling but nothing anyone would call friendly. Not slanderous as I think any reasonable person given the same information would have jumped to the same conclusion. However I don't consider jumping to conclusions to be a good thing. People do things that may look contradictory on the surface which often are not.

I was prepared to give a full and complete apology this morning. Then I read your new post and I'm torn. Part of me feels bad for how I have acted. Another part of me wants to address some of the things you have said.

First I would like to reiterate my previous apology to you. I am sorry for ever saying anything derogatory to anyone about what I thought about your business without first asking you about it in private. Outside of this forum I have spoken to two people about your orders from DWN. Both were people who I had, had previous emails with and felt like I was giving them information that would save them money. That still does not make it right or excuse my behavior and for that I'm sorry. I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me.

Back on topic.

turtleman49 Desert King is one of my favorite figs. As quoted; Yes, the breba crop (First Crop) of Desert King is one of my favorite figs. They are sweet and have an almost creamy texture and the seeds crunch in your mouth. The tree is however one of my least liked because of the mess. The second crop is a big mess. There are figs of equal quality that produce two crops and thus no mess. Having to pick up all the withered and rotten fruit is not fun.

Desert King is supposed to produce two crops and it does. It's just that one will not ripen here and goes to waste. As for sales it only makes sense you would stock what sells. The big box stores stock all kinds of stone fruit trees that will not fruit here most years. It's what people want to buy so they stock them. RSI Growers is more thoughtful than most nurseries in stocking trees that will actually fruit here. Desert King only producing one of two crops being the one exception but an understandable one.

As for your last two posts. I really would love to say something. It appears to be alright with you or you would not have posted what you did. It also appears to be ok with tracydr as she has not complained so I will answer.

I am always looking for trees and I have been checking DWN for trees sold to nurseries in my state each season for years. It is true that you sell some varieties DWN does not sell. Citrus would be a prime example. However I have seen purchased in past orders most of the varieties sold on your site. Also contrary to your assertion I do see Peaches in your last order that are listed for sale on your site. From what you have said I can only assume you buy new trees for grafting each year and then sell trees you grafted last year on your site. Not the way I would do it as I would use a few of my own trees to make more grafts before I would buy more trees of the same cultivars. But hey, its your business and your money, not mine. As for number of trees I have never been to your place of business.

Your site shows how many trees are in stock of each variety. I have never seen large numbers of any one variety on your site. However I can understand having lots and lots of trees and only having a few of each mature enough for sale or only listing a few of each for sale. From all I have heard your trees are larger and nicer than most fruit trees sold at most of our local nurseries. I can certainly see how that creates value. I like large trees as much as anyone and have been willing to pay for it.
I can also see added value to using preferred root stocks for Arizona. With no information about root stocks in the tree descriptions at your site I had no way of knowing you were using root stocks that offered more value than those sold by DWN or local retailers. Root stocks are important and I always want to know what root stock is on any tree I purchase. You might want to add the root stock to your tree descriptions. For many it could be key to getting a sale.

Lastly I have to hand it to you. For the size of trees you sell. It must take at least 2-4 years to grow out your pomegranate trees from cuttings and at least 2-3 years to grow out your figs from cuttings. I assume they are both on their own roots though as they are not commonly grafted.


I'm not a young man. In my life I have seen some crazy situations where things were misconstrued and misunderstandings destroyed families and friendships. Only to find out years later there were true and totally logical explanations for everything and have everyone sorry for what they had said and how they had acted. Because of this I thought I would behave better and I did not. It is out of character for me. Please excuse me while I crawl under a rock for a few days. Perhaps when I come out the sun will be shining again.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 12:55PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

It's very brave to apologize publicly. I'm glad to see this thread is turning around. I know that turtleman works hard at his business and he does not push product to us, but he does let us know he is there. No harm, imho. But then I'm a small business owner myself.

Peace to all.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 2:55PM
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So, back on track. Since it sounds as if Desert King has only one crop here and then makes a mess, what would be a good tasting substitute? I've never had figs before only peaches, apples and now lemons.
I looked up quince, it seems to require about 350 chill hours. Will that work here?
No interest in avocados but mangoes w old interest me.
Mostly interested in figs, peaches and apples,poms. Maybe cherries(sour and sweet) and plums.
Really want to be living somewhere with a lot more chill hours but I'm stuck here a few more years at least.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 12:30AM
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I realize this post is profoundly late. However late here goes.

Here are my favorite two varieties thus far. They are both very productive and rank very high in flavor. Like most figs they are pest free other than birds and require no spraying.


Violette De Bordeaux

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 10:39PM
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I guess we all sometimes jump to conculsions with out really reading what others have to say, being patience and try to understand/help them. But heh we are human.

Thisisme I always thought you were a lady! Sorry

I have been refered to as a man, but my name is Constance
LOL Campv

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 6:33PM
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