Fruit trees are great additions to almost any yard, as they not only offer the same benefits most other trees do, they also provide you with a bounty of fruit each year. Several fruit trees also exhibit a very attractive growth habit, and a few produce beautiful, showy flowers in the spring or summer.
But to ensure your fruit tree installation is a success, you’ll need to select good species for your property. Fortunately, residents of Southern California have a number of viable options from which they can choose.
Persimmon trees (Diospyros spp.) are 20- to 40-foot-tall trees that are native to various portions of North America and Asia. They are handsome trees, with attractive bark that produce huge quantities of fleshy fruits. However, not all persimmons are created equally: Many, such as the American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) contain bitter-tasting tannins. Accordingly, you’ll want to go with the Fuyu persimmon (Diospyros kaki‘Fuyu’), which produces very tasty fruits without many tannins at all.
Avocados (Persea americana) have become very popular trees in southern California over the last decade or two, and it is easy to see why: They are very attractive, hardy trees with thick canopies, which means they not only provide delicious fruit, but privacy and shade too. You can grow avocados from seed, but you may have to wait a decade or more to get a good crop, so it is usually preferable to start with container-grown saplings. Note that different avocado varieties exhibit two different flowering patterns (termed A and B), and you’ll want some of each to achieve the best possible fruit set.
The Meyer lemon tree (Citrus x meyeri) is a wonderful fruit tree for Southern California yards. Part lemon tree and part mandarin orange, Meyer lemons taste like low-acid lemons (which makes them great for deserts), and they can actually be eaten with the peel. Meyer lemons tend to exhibit a pretty bushy growth habit, and they produce sprawling root systems, so be sure that you have enough space to accommodate them before choosing them for your yard.
4. Fig Tree
Many fig trees will grow well in Southern California, but the Brown Turkey variety (Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’) is probably the one most ideally suited for our region. These 15- to 30-foot-tall trees grow best when planted somewhere with full sun exposure and deep, well-drained soil. Figs are deciduous trees, so they won’t provide shade in the summer. However, their growth form is quite attractive, and they still provide visual interest, even in the winter. Just be sure you like figs before planting a few of these trees, as they tend to produce two crops a year – one in late spring, and another in late summer.
Another citrus tree that grows well in Southern California, grapefruit trees are especially well-suited for coastal areas, such as Malibu, Santa Monica and Long Beach. Several different varieties are suitable for our region, but the Marsh seedless (Citrus × paradisi ‘Marsh’) variety is one of the best choices. Grapefruit trees can be a bit tricky to grow, so you’ll need to plant them in an ideal spot to be successful – just be sure the trunk won’t be scorched in the sun, and that the soil is deep and loamy.
If you’d like to add a few fruit trees to your yard, give your friends at Evergreen Arborist Consultants a call. We’ll assess your property, provide you with a few species recommendations and even install them for you, if you like. Proper species selection and installation is crucial for fruit tree health, so it always makes sense to solicit the help of professionals when you are starting out.