Chances for success with fruit trees in East Texas or any other area are greatly enhanced if trees selected are compatible with the area, and the best varieties of those types are selected and purchased from a reputable source.
Selection of varieties should be keyed to proven adaptability for the East Texas area. Give particular consideration to chilling requirement, i.e. specific amount of cold winter temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees (chill units) to complete dormancy and produce vegetative growth and flowering. East Texas receives about 750 to 850 chill hours a year. Higher chill-requiring plants like cherries won’t grow well this far south. Also consider disease and insect resistance and heat tolerance.
Recommended varieties for Northeast Texas include:
- APPLES: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala;
- APRICOTS: Bryan, Hungarian, Moorpark, Wilson, Peggy;
- FIGS: Texas Everbearing (Brown Turkey), Celeste;
- NECTARINES: Armking, Crimson Gold, Redgold;
- PEACHES: Springold, Derby, Harvester, Dixieland, Redskin, Frank, Summergold, Carymac (all require 750 chilling hours);
- PEARS: Kieffer and Moonglow are good fireblight-resistant varieties (important humid regions), Warren is also a great new pear for East Texas. Ayers, Orient and LeConte are also recommended;
- PLUMS: Morris, Methley, Ozark Premier, Bruce, All-red, Santa Rosa.
Remember, fruit trees need full sunlight for best production as well as a well-planned and executed fertility and spray program applied to properly selected disease resistant varieties which have been pruned as needed and watered properly.
Frieda Parker, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service