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Monday - July 07, 2014

From: Canyon Lake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Trees
Title: Growing pecan and fruit trees near Canyon Lake, Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I just bought a property on the north side of Canyon Lake in the Hill Country of Texas. Most of the trees around are cedar, and a few live oak. I know I have seen beautiful Pecan trees as well as several varieties of fruit and plum trees growing in the Texas Hill Country. The previous owner cleared all the trees from the quarter acre lot and I wanted to plant some shade as well as fruit trees. It currently has one crepe myrtle with white blooms that seems to be doing fairly well. I was going to purchase large trees for the pecan (10 foot range) and have them professionally planted and plant the fruit trees myself. Before I go spend money on these trees, will they survive in this area? I know just up the road in Blanco they have lots peach and pecan trees.

ANSWER:

Carya illinoinensis (Pecan) requires fairly specific growing conditions for success.  The trees you have seen in the Canyon Lake area are probably growing in or near creek bottom land, where the soil is deep and moist.  You should check your property for similar conditions.  Creating proper growth conditions from scratch would be difficult and expensive.  Even if you do have good pecan growing conditions, you will need frequent deep watering of newly planted large pecan trees for the first year.

 Fruit trees require similar conditions.  Peaches are the preferred fruit in Central Texas.  In addition to soil and moisture requirements, successful peach production requires attention to other factors, such as susceptibility to Spring frosts.  A Texas A&M web site discusses the factors that must be considered and lists peach varieties that are recommended for your area.  Varieties you select must have at least the recommended number of nights below 45 degrees in order to overcome winter dormancy.  And you also need varieties that flower late enough to avoid damage from late frosts.  I recommend that you contact your Comal County agricultural extension agent for advice on suitable varieties.  He can also help you select varieties of plum, which requires conditions similar to those needed by peaches.  Of course, you realize that trees should be planted in winter, when they are dormant.

I should point out that there are several varieties of native plums that grow in Texas.  These do not produce very desirable fruit, but they are quite beautiful (see examples below) when blooming in the Spring, and they are much less demanding in their soil and moisture requirements.  

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

River plum
Prunus rivularis

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