fruit trees for the southwest

Fruit Trees for Desert Southwest

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Fruit trees for the desert southwest.  Below are descriptions and planting tips to numerous fruit trees that will do well in the lower elevation of the desert southwest.

It is important to note that fruit trees need so many chilling (freezing temps) hours in order for them to bear fruit.

The Southwest chilling hours will vary according to your area.  For example in Las Cruces, NM. (my hometown) the average chilling hours are about 900 hrs.  This is perfect for all fruit trees.

However, this also means if you live in places where it rarely or never freezes you will have a hard time growing fruit trees.


Fruit Trees for Desert Southwest.

Most types of fruit trees are available at Guzman’s Garden Centers during the early spring seasons. We are located in Las Cruces, NM.

Fruit trees need so many chilling hours in order to produce fruit. Call and ask your friendly nursery what kind of fruit trees do well in your area. Make sure the fruit trees that you want are good for your gardening zone. Click your area to find your hardiness zone area.

A few fruit tree tips

The best time to plant fruit trees is in late January or early March. You can also plant them plant in summer as well but it is important that you provide them with ample water.  How much water?  Good question. About 5-7 gallons daily during the summer.

Try to water during the early morning hours.  Water will evaporate less during this time.  Apply good mulch to help keep moisture in.

Spray dormant oil to control scale insects, aphids and spider mite eggs.  Do this in the early spring and you will have fewer insect problems during the summer seasons. Dormant oil prevents the insect eggs from hatching.

Prune your fruit tree during the late winter seasons.  This will enhance vigorous growth during the spring season.  Remove any dead branches or limbs.  Trim off any branches that are crisscrossing and touching.

Most fruit trees in the southwest require at least 130 chill hrs. If you are unsure as to how many chilling hrs, days your climate has, please contact your local county extension office. Or visit this page for further information.  Chilling Requirements.

Painting Your Tree Trunks.  There is an ongoing debate as to whether you should paint your fruit tree with exterior white latex paint to help extend its life.  Many folks think this will help keep insects at bay but what it really does is protect the bark for sunscald.

Fruit trees need lots of room to grow and produce fruit. Do not plant them near other large shade or ornamental trees.  The soil in and around the southwest is poor use good organic soil when you plant your fruit trees.

When to Fertilize Fruit Trees?

Yes, you should fertilize your fruit trees.  The soil is poor in and around the southwest and this why it’s important to fertilize your fruit trees. This should be done once in early spring, early summer and once more in autumn.  Use a good fruit tree fertilizer most nurseries will carry this.

How long does a fruit tree live?

Did you know the life expectancy of fruit trees is about 20 years?  With proper care, it can live up to 30 years. It’s important to consistently check your fruit trees for any signs of insects and or diseases.

I”ll repeat this again use horticultural oil to suffocate insect eggs in early spring.  This should be done every year to keep insects from becoming a big problem in your area.  Check your local nursery for further information on this type of oil.

Common Fruit Trees for the Southwest

Apple Trees

Garden Delicious – Sweeet, crisp, excellent dessert quality apple fruit. Self Fertile ripens in September. Fuji – Started in Japan. This fruit is reddish-green flesh white, very crunchy and juicy. Medium size apple. Pollinate with Red or Golden Delicious. Ripens in August.

Granny Smith – Malus x Domestica ‘Granny Smith’ Bright Green apple. Good for pies and sauces and fresh eating. Self Fertile. Produces heavy fruit.  It does very well in the southwest and needs about 400-500 chilling hours.  It will grow at about 20ft. tall.  A great fruit tree for a medium to a larger sized backyard. Ripens late August-early September.   It does very well in the Southwest where there are ample chilling hours.

Common fruit trees for the southwest
Granny Smith Apple Image by Roselie Judd from Pixabay

Jonathan – Malus Domestica ‘Jonathan’.  Usually large size apple. Bright Red stripes with a Yellow background. Very juicy, crisp, and white flesh. Very good all-purpose apple. Self-fertile. Ripens in October. A good pollinator for other apple trees.

Red Delicious – Malus x domestica ‘Red Delicious’. Very Crisp and juicy apple. It does well in colder climates you can pollinate with the Golden Delicious. Ripens in late August-early September.  Harvest in late fall.  Needs about 900 chilling hrs.

Fruit trees for the Southwest
Red Delicious Apple Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay

Yellow Delicious – Malus Domestica (‘Yellow)  – All-purpose apple. Very large golden yellow and juicy fruit.  Good pollinator for Red Delicious. Self-fertile and ripens in September.


Fruit Trees for the Desert Southwest
Good Large Peach from a Peach Tree

Peach Trees

Babcock – (freestone) Semi-Dwarf, Juicy and sweet white flesh and some little fuzz. Heavy bearing fruit. Self Fertile. Ripens in July.

Elberta – Semi-Dwarf, Large fruit is deep golden yellow blushed red. Self Fertile. Ripens in July. Red Haven – (freestone) Medium to large red blushed fruit. Sweet and juicy. Good for canned use. Self Fertile. Ripens in Mid-August. Click here for more PEACH tree information and photos.

Desert Gold Peach – A vigorous and heavy-bearing tree offers fruit with exceptionally good flavor and sweetness for such an early variety. Its medium-sized semi-freestone fruit has firm yellow flesh and yellow skin with a red blush. Fragrant pink flowers adorn the green foliage on this self-fruiting tree.

Red Haven Peach – An excellent freestone peach with red-blushed yellow skin and firm, sweet yellow flesh. Ideal for fresh eating, canning, and freezing. Attractive accent tree, with dark pink buds that open to fragrant pink flowers in early spring.  The Red Haven is self Fertile.

Plum Trees

Santa Rosa Plum – Excellent southwestern fruit tree. Large oval purplish skin fruit. Tart flavor. Self Fertile. Ripens in June to July.

Satsuma Plum – Medium round fruit. Has a dark red skin, juicy and dark flesh. Use Santa Rosa as a pollinator. It will ripen in early August. We also carry the following fruit trees during the spring months.

Pecan Trees – Are big favorites throughout the southwest.  Not only do they give pecans but they will also provide your area with an ornamental shade tree.

Fruit Trees for Southwest Desert

Your region’s climate determines the type of fruit trees for the southwest and what fruit will grow successfully. The climate must be compatible with the growing requirements of the selected fruit tree. Some varieties will even prevail in the harsher Upper Midwest climates.


Growing Grape Vines at Home. 

Find your USDA gardening zone here.  Gardening Zone.

Learn more about insects and diseases on plants.  Including fruit tres.

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