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Gardening 101: Planting Fruit Trees

(CBSDFW.COM) - There are your standard fruit trees around North Texas that many people have in their yard. Peaches is likely the main one. The Santa Rosa Plum is not only an attractive tree, it produces a very nice fruit a few years into its maturity. But there are several other fruit trees that grow exceptionally well in this area you should consider.

I drove out to Mineola to the Sorrell Tree Farm run by Ed Donnelly and his wife. This is a nursery operation that concentrates on edible landscapes. It is the first time in North Texas I walked around a nursery and was completely overwhelmed at the fruit tree and bush selection. It is unmatched in this area.

I went there at the suggestion of my favorite plant guy, Daniel Cunningham. We meet at the nursery to talk about different kind of fruits you can grow in North Texas that you might not have considered. I zeroed in on four that I believe would provide a very good success rate.

One is the pomegranate. They have breed several kinds of dwarf varieties that fit well in a back yard. They'll get about 10 to 12 feet tall and have easy-to-reach fruit. This is an attractive tree, it produces a beautiful red flower in summer that becomes the fruit.

Another good fruit tree to try is the persimmon tree. Now before you write this one off due to a bad "I bit into one when I was kid ONCE" story; know that the fruit is delicious when allowed to ripen. Like the pomegranate, there are many varieties to choose from. They have been cross breeding with the Japanese persimmon to create some beautiful, compact trees.

Daniel introduced me to a couple of others I didn't even know about. The jujube berry tree does very well in this area. The fruit is small but can nearly cover the tree. I don't know if you've ever eaten one but the fruit is very much like a cross between a date and an apple, at least to me.

A tree that is grown in this area often for its evergreen foliage instead of its fruit is the loquat. It presents a deep green foliage along with late flowers during the winter, always a plus for the landscape. But the fruit has a sweet and unusual taste, like a blend of apricot, cherry and plum with a flowery smell. You rarely see them in grocery stores because they are so delicate and decay quickly after they ripen.

Texas A&M Agrilife, the go-to source for what to grow in this area, has a great pamphlet on the edible landscape. It includes a long list of fruits you can grow in this area.

In my garden I put in a pomegranate tree this winter. I already am growing (or trying to grow) blackberries, figs, red raspberry, golden raspberry, hardy kiwi, Goji berries, elderberry, honeyberry and Aronia berry. Obviously I am big in trying to bring fruit to the table. I'm already trying to map out a place for a couple of the plants mentioned above.

Let me know what unusual fruit trees or bushes you are trying in your yard and how they are doing.

Next week I'm going to show you how to plant bare-rooted stock. Many fruit trees and bushes you buy will come to you like this. I still remember the first time I got my raspberry plants; it seemed I was sold a bunch of sticks! But I followed the directions and they have produced great fruit for me since.

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