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UC Master Gardener Volunteers in Los Angeles County offer workshops and other events to help educate the public about the disease, its spread, and how to select and care for fruit trees. If you’d like to schedule a workshop or event in Los Angeles County, contact Master Gardener Special Project Coordinator Sara Harris at srharris@ucanr.edu.

Do you need advice about the pest, disease and tree care? Contact your Local UC Master Gardener Program for advice:

Los Angeles County: http://celosangeles.ucanr.edu/UC_Master_Gardener_Program/

Orange County: http://mgorange.ucanr.edu/

Riverside County: https://ucanr.edu/sites/RiversideMG/

San Bernardino County: http://mgsb.ucanr.edu/

Ventura County: https://ucanr.edu/sites/VCMG/ 

 

 

 

Fruit Trees: What to Plant

With a devastating disease of citrus spreading in Los Angeles and surrounding counties, it’s a great time to explore other options for fruit trees beyond citrus. All citrus, including oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, kumquats and mandarins are impacted by the disease. But the good news is, there are many other types of fruit trees that thrive here.  

The following are good options to consider for replacing citrus trees in Southern California, although recommendations may vary based on local climate:

Apple
Apples (Malus domestica)

Certain varieties of apple grow quite well in Southern California. Apples can be grown in containers or trained along fences. Some apple trees even produce both a spring and a fall harvest.

Apples need a certain number of “chill hours” to produce fruit, and because extended cold weather is rare in Southern California, it’s important to pick a “low chill” variety such as Anna, Beverly Hills, Dorset Golden, Fuji, or Gala. If you live in a part of Southern California that has colder winters, there are more options. Somewhat drought resistant, they do need irrigation, as well as pruning.

 

Figs
Figs (Ficus carica)

Figs grow well in full sun in Southern California. This drought-tolerant tree can grow 10-30 feet tall and can spread even wider. Although figs can be pruned, they are usually not appropriate for a small space. They can be grown in containers, however. Figs can be invasive in wildlands, so if you live near mountains or parkland, consider planting another fruit tree option.

Figs produce fruit mid-summer to early fall. Some varieties produce two crops per year. Cultivars that grow well in the LA area include Black Jack, Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Conadria, Italian Honey, and Panache.

 

Jujube
Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba)

Not everyone is familiar with jujubes, but they are a great addition to the landscape. They typically grow about 15 feet tall. They are widely adapted, tolerating both heat and cold. They’re a good selection for inland valleys that get very hot during the summer. Jujubes prefer full sun. They are not well-suited for growing in containers.

The two most common cultivars are Li and Lang. Both produce fruit during the summer.

Jujubes are more drought tolerant than most fruit trees, although they’ll need some irrigation to produce abundant fruit. The tree is quite pest-resistant.

 

Loquat
Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

The loquat is a small to medium-sized tree that grows 10-20 feet high. Easy to grow, they prefer full sun, but tolerate partial shade. They can also be grown in a large tub or container.

Clusters of yellow fruit are ready to harvest in the spring. There are both orange-fleshed cultivars (Big Jim, Early Red, Gold Nugget and Mogi) and white-fleshed cultivars (Advance, Benlehr, and Champagne).

The tree is quite drought tolerant but will need deep watering to produce an ample, high quality crop of fruit. Loquats have relatively few pests.

 

Persimmon
Persimmon (Diospyros kaki)

Persimmon trees grow approximately 25 feet tall, and just as wide. They are relatively easy to grow in full sun or partial shade.

There are two common varieties of persimmons, which ripen in the fall. One, the Hachiya, must be very soft and ripe before it is edible. It has a puckering, bitter flavor when it is not fully ripe. The other main variety, the Fuyu, is not astringent and is sweet, mild, and crunchy before it becomes soft.

Although persimmon trees can withstand short periods of drought, irrigation is necessary for quality fruit. Persimmons have relatively few pests and diseases.

 

Pomegranate
Pomegranate (Punica Granatum L.)

The pomegranate is a small to medium sized tree that usually grows about 15 feet tall, although it can get as tall as 20-30 feet. It’s well suited to our Mediterranean climate with cool winters and hot summers. It’s best to plant it in the sunniest spot in your landscape, although it will tolerate partial shade. Pomegranates are drought tolerant but produce a better crop when irrigated regularly.

Cultivars that do well in Southern California include Eversweet, Parfianka, and Wonderful. They are ready to harvest in the fall. Pomegranates are pest and disease resistant.

 

Pear
Nectarine
Many Options. The fruit trees listed in this brochure are just a handful of the possibilities. Other fruit trees to consider include:

Mango
Avocado

 

  • Avocados
  • Feijoas (Pineapple Guavas)
  • Guavas
  • Mangos
  • Peaches and Nectarines
  • ... and more!

 

Planting a fruit tree is a big commitment. It will be part of your garden for years. Research your options based on what’s best for your part of Southern California using the following resources on tree selection and care:

The California Backyard Orchard: http://homeorchard.ucanr.edu/

California Rare Fruit Growers Fruit Facts Wiki: https://crfg.org/wiki/fruit/

 

Contact your local Master Gardener Program for fruit tree selection, planting and care advice:

 Los Angeles County: http://celosangeles.ucanr.edu/UC_Master_Gardener_Program/

Orange County: http://mgorange.ucanr.edu/

Riverside County: https://ucanr.edu/sites/RiversideMG/

San Bernardino County: http://mgsb.ucanr.edu/

Ventura County: https://ucanr.edu/sites/VCMG/