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Growing Apples in Zone 8b (Texas)

 
pollinator
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Location: Central TX
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Has anyone had success growing apples in a climate doesn’t quite have real winters?

I’ve never tried growing an apple tree but from what I hear, the warm weather we inevitably get in December/January (70+ F) followed by another dip in February confuse the apple trees making it so they don’t bloom at the right time for fruit production.

Then there’s the issue where my friend’s apple tree seems to be diseased and they have no clue how to get rid of it.

Will it even be worth it for me to try growing apples in this area? What tricks are there to help me succeed?
 
gardener
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Location: Japan, zone 9a/b, annual rainfall 2550mm, avg temp 1.5-32 C
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I don't know, but I'm in roughly 9b in southern Japan. I have heard anecdotes of people successfully growing near here, so a little over a year ago I planted two trees, one fuji and one tsugaru. We'll see if they bear fruit or not! Probably a few years out anyway.
 
steward
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Location: Zone 7b/8a Southeast US
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I live on the cooler edge of 8a, so not quite as hot as you, but I've found that variety selection is probably one of the most important things for growing apples here.

Most of my trees are pretty young still and not producing yet, so I haven't really found out for sure what thrives here yet.

I planted a Reverend Morgan apple tree recently that is supposed to be heat tolerant, disease resistant, self fertile, and have high quality apples. It originated in Houston, Texas, supposedly was from a seed from a Granny Smith apple, which is ironic because Granny Smith grew terrible here. Maybe the other parent had some really good genes!

Here's a link with more info about the Reverend Morgan apple.

https://pomiferous.com/applebyname/reverend-morgan-id-5485

Good luck with your apples!
 
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Rootstock selection is the first consideration. I use Geneva 41 and M111. Next choose a variety tolerant to your local diseases. I’m in a wet 8b in Florida. We have high pest and disease pressure. So I like modern types like Enterprise and a few other PRI varieties. I have collected every variety I can. Some are very hard to grow organically. All require proper pruning, training, and spraying. They also require stripping every leaf off to induce dormancy. I do this around January 1st.

Contact me a john@quincynursery.com for trees or more information.

Fun fact, Brazil, Indonesia, and Africa grow apples in areas with little to no chill.
 
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Location: USDA Zone 9 A San Jacinto, California
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Greetings from ever so sunny SoCal,
I’m in 9b and have had luck growing Ein Shemer developed in Israel. With some research, I discovered that it is supposed to be happier with a friend, so I’m putting in an Anna this month. Too bad my local nursery didn’t mention this to me in the first place. But happily I’m still alive and learning! I also made my first attempt to “permie style” my tree last fall: planted clover, daffodils, garlic, burdock and comfrey all around.
Jane
 
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Blessings from Jamaica,  Yes apples can grow in your region and i have grown over hundreds check out my video


NB: I'm planning on grafting  warm climate varieties on my seedling root-stocks  such as: Winter Banana, Gala, Fuji, Gold Rush, Pink Lady, Liberty and Williams Pride
 
master steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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I am 8a though I feel it is really 8b. I am on the edge of the Hill Country.

We have not had good luck with fruit trees due to our rocky soil.

I found this to be very helpful when choosing what to plant:

http://counties.agrilife.org/gillespie/files/2013/02/GrowingTreeFruitsAtHomeInTheTexasHillCountry.pdf
 
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I have grown an apple tree from seed several years ago. Still no apples. Early on I had a problem with aphids. In accordance with an online article, I planted a banana peel at the root of the tree. It seem that the ants don't like the banana peel and without the ants the aphids can't move about and soon after there were no aphids.

I've also grown peach trees from seed. I cut 1/2 liter water bottles in half, planted the seeds in moist soil and set them in the fridge over winter. You can see the roots growing while they are in the fridge. Transplanted to pots to grow them to size. Only one tree survived to be planted in the soil. I planted it at what was to be an Eco-village (now defunct) and since no one was there to care for it the drought killed it.
 
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Have you searched the University Extension services for Texas online?

https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/

https://extension.utexas.edu/

https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-agricultural-extension-service

https://harris.agrilife.org/
 
Posts: 39
Location: Central Texas (8b, humid subtropical)
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I've also looked into growing apples, but got pushback from local ag extension folks due to the soil (same for pears and peaches...was surprised at the latter).

Side topic:  I'm excited that now I know of two other permies near(-ish) me (a little south of ATX)    Are there any Permaculture events in the area?  Is there a better thread for me to ask that?

Thanks,
---Brian
 
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And me, who was thinking how to grow pecans... lol... here in Germany apples grow really well, but it's always alluring to dream about fruits/nuts that are not common in one's area... I'd love to grow pecans, no chance here in Germany for sure, but you on the other side, in Texas, you could do that, lucky you!
 
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I'm in Southern California zone 10A, and I'm getting ready to order an apple tree or trees.  I did some research looking for "low chill" apple varieties.  I found some like Anna and Fuji.  Then I looked around a little more, and found info about Tom Spellman from Wave Wilson Nursery growing ALL KINDS of "high chill" apples in Irvine, CA zone 10.  

Pretty much all of the 30+ varieties they planted worked.  They all fruited in like 2 years.  If I remember correctly he said the trick is to use a semi-dwarf rootstock. I think he said he was using M111.  They also pruned and shaped the trees.  

I'm looking at either getting like 4 columnar varieties, 3 semi dwarf varieties planted next to each-other  "in one hole", or a single semi-dwarf with 5 or 6 varieties on it.  The latter two methods both require careful pruning to keep them all in balance with each-other so one doesn't dominate over the others.  It's good to get at least two varieties that have overlapping blooms, because even "self pollinating" varieties produce better with a pollinating partner.  
 
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Sean Wright wrote:Blessings from Jamaica,  Yes apples can grow in your region and i have grown over hundreds check out my video



NB: I'm planning on grafting  warm climate varieties on my seedling root-stocks  such as: Winter Banana, Gala, Fuji, Gold Rush, Pink Lady, Liberty and Williams Pride


But have they actually fruited?? The main problem with apples in too warm climates is that they do not set fruit because there are not enough "chilling hours", the trees can still grow just fine it's just that they are unable to produce fruit because the fruit buds do not get their required "chilling hours".
 
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My daughter lives in souther California also. We watched the Dave Wilson YouTube videos also. She is getting five DW trees from her local nursery to start her orchard. I am in Texas and they gave me hope for my apple trees.
 
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I’ve had good apples from Anna and Dorsett Gold in zone 8b in Central Texas
 
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Mike Lemeaux wrote:I’ve had good apples from Anna and Dorsett Gold in zone 8b in Central Texas



Good to know! Any idea what rootstock they were on?
 
Mike Lemeaux
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Thombo Corley wrote:

Mike Lemeaux wrote:I’ve had good apples from Anna and Dorsett Gold in zone 8b in Central Texas



Good to know! Any idea what rootstock they were on?



Unfortunately no; but I ordered them from willis orchards
 
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I am in Dallas a zone 8 or maybe 7 area now. I have both a store bought that I believe to be Golden Delicous and either a root stock or seed grown in the same hole they both put on a few fruits. Originally the main tree (Golden) I thought was gone... i had chlorine tabs in a bucket with super clean water and thought it was just water.. so after some months i put gala seeds in the hole... I ended up with a gorgeous double fruit tree ... they haven't made alot of fruits yet, Dorsett would probably do better since it requires less chill hours but our climate has turned cooler over the winter and the summers have been staying below 100... the Gala type which may be my own "Improved Gala" produced only 1 apple the first year and then a few grew on both types this past year... I think some of it is blossom timing if i had another pollinator they might produce more...

I read that root stocks that go dormant sooner improve cold hardiness but I think most or all apples are cold hardy enough for here we just cant get production usually on the higher chill types and all apples need a pollinator... another one, a 5 in one tree I've had for probably a decade or longer has never bloomed at all! So maybe look into chill hour reqs there are maybe a few more low chill types and if you have 'lower' chill type you might have a chance to breed a new type in the years with enough chill. There are several types that only require around 400-600  and many at the 800 mark it just could take a few years longer for them to start blooming...

pears on the other hand you can pull off easier it's hard to beat a well ripened Kieffer and they seem to self pollinate well @ bumper crops almost every year while most pear types need a properly timed pollinator... I spent years picking them too early btw you should wait until they begin color change all the way to yellow, and then pick they dont ripen completely on the tree.. the grit turns to sugar spots when kieffer pears are ripened at room temp in groups... but I'm going to chance the Ambrosias if not for fruit quality,  to have columnar pollinators growing around my established trees
 
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There was an episode of the Permaculture Voices podcast about an apple grower in the foothills in Southern California. It was really great and informative, after listening to it, I thought I too could grow apples in Oaxaca, Mexico. I went looking for the link just now the way his site is set up I can't link just to that episode, but it's number 097-Growing Apples in Warm Climates with Kevin Hauser of Kuffel Creek Nursery in Riverside California.
https://www.permaculturevoices.com/
 
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I had a Tropic Sweet Apple Tree that produced abundant apples year after year in North Florida.  It is a variety by the University Of Florida and was simply amazing!  Take into account your micro-climates and plant them in the colder zones of your property.  I highly recommend this cultivar and good luck!
 
gardener
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I finally splurged on this 5-in-1 Apple Tree last Fall.  It is currently budding.
 
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