I admit, I become a teensy bit obsessed with things. Vigorous research, hours of thought, waking up early with new ideas. Yesterday I visited my favorite local nursery with the most seeds, veggie packs, fruit trees and now bare-root fruit trees I’ve ever seen. Green Thumb Nursery in San Marcos is my home away from home. The wheels really started turning when I saw their gorgeous, healthy, large bare-root fruit trees, fresh from the grower. Their selection and varieties are quite numerous. Almond, peach, nectarine, cherry, pluot, grape, apple, plum, apricot, etc. I keep thinking, “I just don’t have much room left in full sun for another fruit tree or 2. I already have a Diana fig and peach in the backyard. Granted my backyard is large for the suburbs, I just don’t want to sacrifice an already existing tree (ie: palms and decorative plums) which animals and birds use and I also enjoy just to make more room.
Then my husband, daughter and I were outside in the evening taking down our holiday lights and I had a thought. My front yard, which is home to palms and primarily native Southern California plants, does have a perfect full-sun area for at least one semi-dwarf fruit, maybe 2. In this area I have 5 Mexican Sage bushes planted, but in between these there is plenty of room with no neighboring trees. It’s on the edge of my property, with a great view from the street. Just think of that show of color in spring! The soil is even somewhat healthy for our standards. I’ve definitely decided on a plum, specifically Burgundy. It has medium-sized reddish-purple colored plums with a deep red, mellow, sweet flesh. This self-fertile Japanese plum is good for mild winter areas, yet is cold hardy. The Burgundy plum ripens early July, but keeps well on the tree until mid-August. (250-350 Chill Hours) It’s also a taste test top scorer!!!
There it is in all it's glory! The garden specialist pruned it back a bit to allow it to focus on establishing roots the first year. She said it still may set some fruit this summer.
I dug a large hole, both deep and wide to allow the roots to spread out well. I then mound soil in the middle of the hole to allow the center where the roots meet the trunk some support. Then the roots go down the mound and out into the rest of the hole. I also added soil amendment.
I decided that if there’s enough room to plant two, I should go for it. I decided on a nectarine called Double Delight. It’s consistently the best-flavored yellow nectarine – plus magnificent, double pink flowers. Dark red-skinned, freestone fruit is sweet, with unusually rich flavor — very high-scoring in taste tests. Heavy bearing tree. Harvest early-to-mid July in central California. Estimated chilling requirement is 300 hours. Self-fruitful.
Double Delight is in the foreground (also pruned) and Burgundy is further back, about 7 feet from each other. These can both be pruned to about 10 feet high.
I’ve learned through this process that chilling hours qualify for all hours under 45 degrees. In my area of southern California and being only a few miles from the coast, I can safely plant anything requiring 350 chill hours or less. I also chose these varieties based on when they ripen, aiming to stagger them. Who wants all of their fruit trees ripening all in the same month?? This way you can spread the love. 🙂