I think if we get a lot of input from everyone here, this could be a super valuable resource for figuring out which fruittrees and berries will grow best in your area.
You are in the right spot if you are in a Dry Climate Hardiness Zone 5- dry (not humid) and little precipitation(source)
If you think you are not in the right spot or you want to check your climate zone and hardiness zone for sure, click on the main thread to find out and get additional information Fruit Trees and Berries that Grow Best in Your Area Naturally and it will have a link to your specific climate zone and hardiness zone for you to post! There is also a link a little further down to help find your exact climate and hardiness zone!
This list won't be perfect, as there are so many different factors that affect a fruit tree's growth, but it should be a good help by seeing which trees do well for others in a similar area who have had success with a particular variety. By growing trees that are already slightly adapted to your area, saving the seeds, and growing new fruit trees, you could help create many more new varieties that are very adapted to your specific area!
Fruit tree nurseries usually list hardiness zones for their fruit trees, but I've often found they tend to exaggerate the growing zones and are often unreliable.
They often leave out one very important aspect... climate zones.
What is a climate zone you may ask?
A climate zone takes other important things into consideration, such as humidity and rainfall. There are many different subsets and climate zones, but I believe this website does a great job of simplifying it into a few main climate zones of A-D below, and I'm adding Oceanic/Mediterranean due to their unique climate...
A) Tropical- hot and humid, average temperatures are greater than 64°F (18°C) year-round and there is more than 59 inches of precipitation each year
B) Dry- dry (not humid) and little precipitation
C) Temperate- warm and humid summers with thunderstorms and mild winters
D) Continental- warm to cool summers and very cold winters. In the winter, this zone can experience snowstorms, strong winds, and very cold temperatures—sometimes falling below -22°F (-30°C)!
E) Oceanic/Mediterranean- more average temperatures, not too hot in the summer or cold in the winter, usually has rainy winters and dry summers (source)
If you live in the US, you should be able to tell your general climate zone based on the map below and the descriptions above of what it should be like there.
To find your exact climate and hardiness zone if you live in the US, or if you live in Canada or other countries, Amanda Launchbury-Rainey recommended a great climate and hardiness zone finder https://www.plantmaps.com/index.php where you can click on the links based on your country or continent and zoom in to find your exact climate and hardiness zone!
I am right on the edge of hardiness zones 5b and 6a, with around 12 inches of precipitation per year.
Grapes grow well (of course, depending on variety) with no summer irrigation after they're established. I've never tried to establish one without irrigation, so no experience there. The two varieties I have are Concord and Interlaken.
The almond does well with once a week deep watering. I'm going to try watering every other week this year and see what happens. I'm also growing some almonds from seed this year that should be able to adjust to their environment more easily.
Our old plum, grown on its own roots, is 40+ years old and still going strong. It gets watered deeply once a week when the fruit is on and otherwise fends for itself. The new plum, a grafted plum we purchased, struggles. Both were infested with aphids last year. The new plum struggled. The old one shook it off without a problem. I was told the old plum is a Stanley, but it's probably a seedling from a Stanley.
Peaches do well with the winters and the heat, but this is my first batch with low water so I don't know how they'll adapt yet. Apricots ditto. I've been trying to get serviceberries established but they seem to be little more than gopher bait. When one really starts growing, the gophers are right there to eat the treat I've set out for them. Rather like hostas, that way. I'm starting pears and apples from seed so I have no idea on those yet. But the pear seeds came from my sister's property a few miles away and she doesn't water them. The apple seeds came from a neighbor's yard, ditto.
I know of people who have cherry trees but I don't have any experience with them myself.
Currants grow well and spread (albeit slowly) so I have hopes for gooseberry. Goji is a weed. A yucky weed. Raspberries and blackberries don't thrive, although I have both. There's a local bramble, black-cap, that I may be able to acquire. It will probably do better than either of the others. There is also a local serviceberry (utahensis) and elderberries grow up the canyons.
I'm going to put this same information in Dry Climate Hardiness Zone 6, since I could be in either.
Zone 5b, alkaline soil, 12 inches of water per year. For now the goal is a water independent urban homestead with edible landscaping and food forest.
Lauren Ritz wrote:Our old plum, grown on its own roots, is 40+ years old and still going strong. It gets watered deeply once a week when the fruit is on and otherwise fends for itself. The new plum, a grafted plum we purchased, struggles. Both were infested with aphids last year. The new plum struggled. The old one shook it off without a problem. I was told the old plum is a Stanley, but it's probably a seedling from a Stanley.
That's great, I prefer growing my fruit trees on their own roots too, I think there are so many benefits there!
I'm starting pears and apples from seed so I have no idea on those yet. But the pear seeds came from my sister's property a few miles away and she doesn't water them. The apple seeds came from a neighbor's yard, ditto.
I'm in Loveland, CO. 5b. Despite getting lots of water this year we are technically a high plains desert. I live just down the canyon from the Devils Backbone Hiking Trail. It is awesome, but VERY dry there. Your right though, winter hardiness zones are only part of the picture. What we need are summer zone maps or something.
Anyway, peaches actually do rather well here. My parents have had a freestone peach tree that grew from a pit for as long as I can remember. It does get occasional water, but it has always done well without any in a dry sandy spot where even the weeds don't really grow. The western slope is known for Paliside Peaches, but honestly we could plant and grow groves of peaches here, but for some reason no one ever has. Sure the occasional frost in spring can destroy all peach blossoms in a single weather event, but the years they don't the peaches are pure heaven.
A native raspberry I just discovered does really well here and is very dry climate happy for zone 5. Some say happy to zone 3. Rubus deliciosus. Its kinda rare, but not impossible to find. Apparently lots of landscaping companies use them around here. Planted in partial shade. I got mine from a nursery In Fort Collins, but Boulder and near Denver they can be found too. There is a hybrid of it named Rubus 'Benenden' that can be found on the internet. I am getting that too, but I would think it would like the dry climate like its parent species. I recently tasted one berry when I bought mine, and while the fruit squished in my hand it was literally the most delicious raspberry I've ever had in my life!
Chokecherrys do well. Gooseberries and raspberries do well if planted in partial shade. I find with the arid climate that often some plants like raspberries are recommended for full sun, but they eventually die out over the years because of the lack of water. I've found that planting in partial shade helps fix that. Works for garden crops like peas as well.
Apple trees have always done well. Cherry trees seem to die like the plague here. Not sure why. Perhaps a tart cold hardy cherry would do well. In fact my new neighborhood had two that look large and healthy. Not sweet though, very sour. Haha.
Concord grape does well. Little irrigation, but it might have deep roots that sneak water from the lawn too, so not sure. But there is wild Concord grapes along the bike trail, and they sure do not get any irrigation.
Funny you mention grafts and plums. We have had several grafted plums, almonds, and apples die. I am convinced it is the dry climate that eventually does them in. If they do survive it is only the hardy rootstock that does. We had a red maple tree. The red part died, now it is a huge beautiful green maple. We had an almond tree. Now it is a apricot or nectarine tree. We had an old Macintosh apple. Now it is some sort of weird sour apple probably good for cider only. And we had a multi grafted apple and plum tree. Both died completely. So.. yeah.. my advice is stick to own roots or plant from seed if you can.
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