March is the ideal time to plant most fruit trees in Southern California—it’s not to hot—it’s not to cold, it is, as they say, just right! A March planting allows the tree to grow though out the summer and fall.
If you’re going to plant this month, planting a bare-root tree makes a great deal of sense. It is often less expensive, there is usually a greater selection available and they establish well. However, if you purchase a bare root tree and can’t plant it immediately, it’s best to cover the roots with soil until you can. Here is an excellent video on how to go about planting bare root fruit trees.
If March doesn’t work for you, then I suggested if you plant toward the end of spring, such as late May or June, a potted tree would be the better choice.
Make sure you know how much space each tree will need when it’s fully grown, what’s needed to prepare the soil and how deep to plant the tree. And remember, it’s important to plant in an area where the soil is well drained.
Here is a list of trees that do well in our environment. For more information about growing fruit trees in Southern California please check out eHow.com, Types of Fruit Trees Grown in Southern California, which is the source of this material or simply Google, “fruit trees Southern California”.
Citrus: Oranges, Limes and Lemons
Citrus fruits include the various types of oranges, tangerines, limes, grapefruits and lemons. According to the University of California’s IPM program, citrus trees do well in areas with warm summers; if they’re planted in a location that’s too cool, “the fruit quality will be poor with little sugar production in the fruit.”
Washington navel, Robertson navel and Valencia oranges—all “peel and eat” fruits—are some of the more popular varieties of orange trees in Southern California, while Eureka and Meyer lemons and Mexican and Bearss limes are very popular
Stone Fruits: Peaches, Plums, Nectarines and Apricots
Like all stone fruits, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots have large stones or pits in the center. The trees drop their leaves in the winter and produce white and pink blossoms during the spring. Stone fruit varieties that require fewer hours in temperatures less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit—such as Babcock peaches, Santa Rosa plums, rose nectarines and goldkist apricots—are best suited to Southern California.
Pome Fruits: Apples and Pomegranates
The pome fruit family–whose name is “derived from the botanical name of the fruit produced” by its trees, according to researchers at Cornell University–includes apples and pomegranates. Pome fruits are generally found in cooler temperate zones; however, there are certain “low chill” varieties that can grow in warmer climates, such as gala and Beverly Hills apples and ruby red and wonderful pomegranates.
Persimmon trees, of which there are about 200 species, are evergreen and produce two- to three-inch orange or brown fruits that can be seedless. The trees bloom in late fall, and they don’t require many hours in temperatures less than 45 degrees, making them very suitable for Southern California.
Fig trees are easy to cultivate and require warmer temperatures to grow, according to the University of California Backyard Orchard program. Several varieties produce two crops: the “breba,” or first, crop, which “matures in mid-summer,” and the second crop, which “matures in late summer or fall,” according to the program.