Of all the trees in the world, the fruit tree is close to the ultimate multi-tasking tree. They provide shade, add focal points in the landscape and provide you with something to eat. They don’t get as tall as pecan trees and there is a lot less work to eat their fruit. Like everything else in a landscape, some fore-thought is needed. Full sun and enough space for a mature tree is necessary. Trees like figs will use up to 500 square feet at maturity so pick the location carefully.
Selecting a specific type and variety of fruit tree is the next step. Pick healthy plants from reputable dealers in a two to five gallon container. Please pick the ones that are adapted to our area of the planet. Planting pineapples and coconuts in backyards around the DFW area is just not a good idea. Varieties of apples, apricots, figs, peaches, pears and plums are the most common. The term “chill requirement” refers to how many hours of temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees we have annually. These chill hours are critical for proper bud and leaf growth in the spring. In the DFW area, we normally have around 800 chill hours. Choosing a tree variety that needs 1,200 chill hours is doomed from the start. Some other issues to be considered are late freezes, scorching summers , humidity too high or low, having enough pollinators and of course disease and insects. All this might sound like an iffy proposition, but when you are picking fruit off trees in your backyard, it’s well worth the labor.
There are thousands of pages dedicated to choosing a plant variety for home fruit production. My recommendation for picking the right one is to get in touch with the folks at the Collin County Agricultural Extension office.