Karen Cambre, Sharpe, Kenneth W.
News article for November 12, 2018
A few weeks ago I told you that November was the best month for planting woody ornamentals and container grown trees. It is also a great opportunity to add fruit to your garden.
Today when people plan a landscape rarely do they consider adding edible fruit into their plan. Think of the landscape in terms of a garden which includes a variety of plants.
My grandparents had a wonderful yard full of old south landscape specimens and lots of edible fruit that they harvested to eat and preserve. We can enjoy that same edible portion of the landscape with just a little planning.
Since most of us live on smaller parcels of land, consider how to incorporate fruit trees and shrubs into the landscape rather than putting in a separate orchard just for fruit.
The first consideration might be to think about maintenance. Some fruit trees can be rather high maintenance so we probably should avoid those, which would include peaches, plums and apples. It would be best to start off with some low maintenance plants initially.
Some good low maintenance plants that fit nicely into your landscape would be citrus, blueberry, fig, persimmon and loquat.
Citrus has been successfully grown here for a number of years, but they are vulnerable to cold damage. Look for a southern exposure that gets some protection from the north wind. The cold hardiness of citrus from greatest to least would be Kumquat, Satsuma, Sweet Oranges, Navel Oranges and then Meyers Lemon.
You have two choices of Kumquat varieties- Nagami, which is the sour version that produces oblong fruit or Meiwa which is the sweet kumquat with round fruit. The fruit will get ripe and provide color from mid-October through February and will stay on the tree into spring.
The second choice for citrus would be the Satsuma variety, Owari. It is the most popular, widely grown and cold hardy of the Satsumas that is planted this far north. The usual harvest is early November and will hold on the tree until early December, but many people start picking in October. Citrus are evergreen and satsumas will tolerate more shade than most fruit trees.
Persimmons are a nice small fall tree. They get loaded with fruit and make for great fall color. Japanese persimmon varieties that are astringent (sour before fully ripe) are Tanenashi and Euerka. The non-astringent varieties include Fuyu, Fuyu Imoto, Hana Fuyu and Suruga.
Loquat is another small tree but yields its fruit in the spring. This is already a popular small tree in the landscape trade and is readily available. Some of you may know this tree as Japanese Plum. It is an evergreen so it works really well as an accent on the corners of the house.
Figs can grow as very large shrubs or small trees. They may be best as a screen. Figs will produce their main crop in the early summer but can have up to three crops per year. Consider the varieties Celeste, Southeastern Brown Turkey, LSU Purple and LSU Gold.
In the smaller shrub category, consider blueberries. They are deciduous but have great fall color and bright blue berries from mid- May to July. You will need at least two different varieties to get good cross-pollination. Think about planting at least three plants in a group and use at least two different varieties. Choose from Tifblue, Powder Blue, Climax and Premier.