Grow A Backyard Orchard

January is the perfect time to add apple and stone fruit trees to an edible landscape. Nurseries tend to have the largest selection during bare-root season when these deciduous trees are bargain priced. Many are supplied by Dave Wilson Nursery (, one of California’s largest growers of fruit trees.  Here are some suggestions from Tom Spellman, Dave Wilson Nursery Southwest sales manager. Plant now but don’t allow fruiting during the first year while the tree becomes established. Grow a moderate crop the second year; enjoy a full crop in the third.

Dorset Golden Apple – A very reliable producer, this apple requires minimal “chill hours” to set fruit, making it ideal for coastal as well as inland areas. Pick fruit as early as mid-June. Apples are bright yellow blushed with red and pink; flesh is crisp and firm
Stark Saturn Donut Peach – Disc-shaped fruit with a dimpled center on this gourmet white peach ripens in July. Flavor is “very peachy with hints of almond,” Spellman says. 
Red Baron Peach – This tree is beautiful – and bountiful. In bloom with double bright red flowers, Red Baron rivals many ornamental peach trees. Yellow freestone fruit is large and juicy.
Burgundy Plum – This tree bears juicy ruby-red fruit from mid-July to September. A Japanese-style plum, it is a good pollinator for other plums and pluots. Deep burgundy flesh is sweet, without tartness.
Flavor Delight Aprium – Apricot lovers generally can’t tell that this hybrid has been crossed with a plum. The breeding gives apriums greater adaptability than finicky apricots.  Fruit is gold blushed inside and out and ripens as early as mid-May.
Arctic Star Nectarine – Sweet, juicy, low-acid fruit can be enjoyed starting in June from this recent introduction. Deep red skin is a vivid contrast with the white flesh.
Bella Gold Peacotum – Peach, plum and apricot combine in this 2011 introduction. Golf ball-size fruit is amber with a red blush. Flavors reflect all three parents with an emphasis on plum and a hint of citrus. Attractive landscape tree with white flowers in spring. Needs a cross pollinator.
Flavor Grenade Pluot – Oblong yellow-green fruit tinged with red “explode with plumy apricot flavor,” Spellman says. Late bearing and suited to low-chill areas like San Diego. Showy white flowers in spring. Needs cross pollinator.
Dapple Dandy Pluot – Egg-shaped, cream fleshed fruit with marbled maroon and gold skin ripens in late July to early August. A consistent taste-test winner. Needs a cross pollinator.
Flavor King Pluot - Garnet skin and fruit with a spicy scent and flavor make this a taste test winner and a favorite of backyard orchardists, who also appreciate its handsome form. Bears in late July into August. Needs a cross pollinator and good choice as a cross pollinator for other pluots.
Spice Zee Nectaplum - This self-fertile combo of plum and nectarine bears large red fruit with mottled flesh with predominate nectarine flavor. Double pink flowers in spring and dark greenish-red leaves make it one of the most highly ornamental fruit trees. Long bearing season from June to August.


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