San Jose- small trees for north side of house?

princesspea(sunset14)December 30, 2012

Hi gardenwebbers,
I recently moved back to San Jose from Seattle, thank goodness! i really missed California when I lived in cold grey Seattle. We lucked into buying a nice old house with nothing in the garden, but wood chips and a hastily installed sod lawn. I am looking to make a formal garden in the front, and wish to honor our orchard heritage by my plant choices. I need to plant a pair of relatively small and attractive trees. In an ideal world they would be cherry trees, but the yard is in the north- northwest side of the house, therefore shady. Someone suggested plums, apricots, or pluots, but I am unsure. Any ideas? I am in the willow glen area so the soil is very good for stone fruits I have heard. I am not married to the idea of fruits but is sure would be cool if I can pull it off!



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Dwarf or even the semi dwarf Meyer Lemons..will do great and you will never have too many. Friends will take any excess Meyer Lemons off your hands. For the others,you might not use enough OR you WILL be fighting the birds and squirrels for the cherry's in particular but all stone fruits in general.
And lemons smell good like all citrus.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 3:49PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

'Santa Rosa' plum and apricots were everywhere in that area before tech took it over. There are gleaning groups that will pick your extra fruit and donate to the poor/homeless if you have too much. Dwarf root stocks may be available so you can have smaller trees.

North side of house is the shady side. Make sure you have enough sun for them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dave Wilson info on home orchard culture

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 5:25PM
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ThAnks for the link. My nursery guy seems to think the pluots will do ok but I am still wondering if there will be enough sun. I have already started planting a citrus fence at the side of the driveway but I may do a pair on the lawn too. Hoping to find that miracle tree with three season beauty and shade loving, know what I mean ?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 12:08PM
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I think any fruiting tree will do poorly with 4 or fewer hours of direct sun per day. When you say North side it depends on 1 vs. 2 story and how far from your house. At this time of year it's hard to measure sunlight as the sun is so low in the sky.
Your fruiting trees can be grown on a narrow side yard (not the North side) strip if you get semi dwarf tree's and prune them yearly.

I experimented with grapevines grown 20 feet North of our 2 story house, but it was not enough sunlight. I got a relatively inexpensive gizmo (EasyBloom Plant Sensor) which measures light over time - so I don't have to guess how much light a particular area gets - and that verified my results - not enough daylight.

For the North side I would suggest Japanese Maples, camellias etc.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 1:33PM
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