My family has some property in north Florida, just south of the Alabama state line. I currently live in California but am planning to go back and build a cabin with my dad there in the next 5-10 years. It’s msotly forested but has some good clearings for an orchard and/or garden.
I’d like to get a “head start” on some fruiting trees, but given my current location and lifestyle, we’d need things that need just a little maintenance each year, rather than more traditional pruning and irrigation. For example, pears and stone fruit probably require too much maintenance, but a fig or pomegranate that needs to be checked on every few months might be just the right thing for a head start on fruit. My dad planted some Japanese persimmons that seem to be just fine on their own, and give the squirrels a treat. Same with nuts like pecans. (As an aside, my dream is to have low chill apples there eventually, but that’ll take some work and close oversight)
Does anyone else have other ideas? I’m open to both “traditional” and unusual/subtropical fruit. I guess what I’m asking for is fruit that grows more or less on its own in that part of the world. Thanks for the ideas!
I came across something that I found fascinating several nights ago in the wee hours while gripped by insomnia, so not really clear on details-sorry- but some guy in India invented these compostable water reservoirs that you bury in the ground, planting the tree in the middle- it is donut shaped, it is supposed to supply a years' (season?) worth of water and decomposes to further feed the tree and is supposed to have a very high rate of success in plant and forget trees. It is supposed to encourage mothers to not euthanize their female children- to have a tree for their future. (hope that info helps in the search for product?) I have a situation similar to yours and have lost several trees in an out of state property due to not being able to water - I hope you are able to use this tidbit to find the product and get your trees started. I need to look into it further myself.
Have you investigated loquats? I am a bit farther south in N. Florida, zone 9, and I have several loquats and I have been told by the permie vets that they are not high maintenance--mine are doing well, the mature ones as well as the 3 footers that I ignored after a week. Also mulberries might be a good tree. The others you have mentioned, figs, persimmons, pecans all make sense.
Pomegranates, figs, elderberries would be my suggestions. Also probably mulberries. For planting using natural rainwater with no added irrigation, take a look at Brad Lancaster's suggestions for planting trees in basins:
false pepper, almond, loquat, prickly pear, date palm, moringa (needs irrigation first year), mulberry, wild lemon
not fruiting but maybe throw in some yuccas as these are ultra drought tolerant and useful shade/windbreak/fence.
Not technically a tree, but, elderberries will do quite well when left on their own, in fact some of the more wild cultivars may insist upon it! I would also look into mayhaws, they produce extremely well (more berries than you’re gonna know what to do with) with basically little to no pruning or care, and they are native to that region, whether the land is a little dry or severely swampy a mayhaw will do just fine on its own