En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
7 ratings

Friday - January 25, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fruit trees for South Austin.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in South, South Austin, just a pinch West of 35 near 1626. I would like to plant some fruit trees in the back yard. Anyone will sell fruit trees, but they don't always grow. What fruiting variety would be good for my area soil (some clay, lots of limestone chunks and a bit of sand). I don't want to just plant them and watch them die or not produce fruit. I am looking toward dwarf varieties if possible. Also, how many do I need to plant to get good pollination. Thanks, Julie

ANSWER:

There are several native (or "wild") fruit trees that will do well in Austin (e.g., Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) and Prunus rivularis (creek plum)). However, I am going to guess that you are interested in cultivated plums, peaches, figs, apricots, etc. These are all cultivars of introduced non-native trees. For instance, Prunus persica (peach), probably originated in China and then was introduced to the Mediterranean before being brought to North America. Since our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America, we can't really be much help choosing cultivated fruit trees. A good resource for finding information about gardens and orchards is the Travis County Texas Cooperative Extension Service. Their web site gives a telephone number. You could contact them to see if they have a list of recommended varieties of fruit trees for Austin. Additionally, their Central Texas Horticulture page has information on Gardens & Orchards as well as Landscaping & Lawns and Ornamental Plants, to name a few.

Don't rule out the native fruit trees, however. The fruits of Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum), for instance, are small but delicious and make a very tasty jam. Additionally, they have beautiful spring blossoms. The ripe Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon) fruits are also delicious. There are other native plants that have edible fruits. If you would like to learn more about them, you can find a very good discussion in Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest.

 


Prunus mexicana

Prunus rivularis

Diospyros virginiana
 

More Trees Questions

Is bald cypress native to Dallas area?
September 19, 2009 - There are 2 very large bald cypress trees growing beside one another at a park in North Dallas, and I was wondering if they were native or planted a long time ago by the settlers or something. They ar...
view the full question and answer

Evergreens for a deer corridor in MI
April 16, 2012 - I am growing three rows of evergreens for a wildlife, deer travel corridor, and am looking for which trees grow well together and are shade tolerant of each other when planted at the same time, or at ...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to replace cedars on a 40 degree slope in Boerne, TX.
August 28, 2012 - My backyard is a roughly 40 degree slope that is covered with cedars. The slope is basically all rock, what can I grow here to replace the cedar which drink too much water. I would still like the area...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
July 20, 2011 - I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Grafting Pecan Trees
July 05, 2013 - I have planted two pecan nuts and now they are about 4 feet tall trees, they have not been grafted but can I graft one of the trees to the other and vice versa and expect pecans from then, they are he...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center