Apple Trees Best for Southern California

Typical Apple Tree blossom

I often get asked ‘Which apples trees grow best in Southern California’? or ‘Can I grow fruit trees in this climate’? So I thought I would provide a quick reference guide for the weekend gardener confronted with this decision – as it relates to apple trees.

CHILLING REQUIREMENTS

Southern California is located within a Mediterranean Climate zone. As such the chilling required for most apple trees does not occur during the fall and winter months. This means that it is important to look for varieties that have low-chill requirements – say 100 – 400 hours at or below 45F/7C.

FULL SUN

A full day of sun is essential for a good crop of apples. Do not crowd an apple tree into a partially shaded area. If space is at a premium, choose a dwarf variety tree. Also observe all existing plant materials that may shade (Now or in the future) the area that you are thinking of planting your new apple tree. Another approach might be to choose a wall, wooden lattice or fence with a West – Southwest exposure and try growing your new apple tree (Dwarf variety) as an espalier. Refer to this link for more information about espalier.

WATERING

Make sure that the soil is well-drained. Do not over water an apple tree. However, during the period that fruit is developing make up for dry periods with deep periodic soakings.

FEEDING

There are many brands of organic fruit tree food mixes. I often use Dr. Earth, however there are many very good organic feed labels. Check your local nursery for the brand that they carry. Apple trees should be feed three (3) times a year – spring, summer and fall.

San Gabriel Nursery and Florist can provide detailed information for your specific planting location and help with the selection of the right variety of apple tree for you. They also have, in stock, all of the varieties listed below.

The following apple (Rosaceae) tree varieties are well suited to coastal communities, however, apple trees are not suited to direct exposure to salt air.

1__ ‘Anna’ Large, pale green blushed red. Crisp, sweet with some acid.

2__ ‘Beverly Hills’ Small to medium. Yellow skin splashed and striped red. Tender, somewhat tart.

3__ ‘Dorsett Golden’ Medium to large, yellow or greenish-yellow. Sweet flavor. Eating or cooking.

4__ ‘Ein Shemer’ Medium size, yellow to greenish-yellow, Juicy, crisp, mildly acid.

With this knowledge you are prepared to bring fresh apples from your backyard or patio directly to your families table. ENJOY!

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