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

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Friday - November 29, 2013

From: Kempner, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Trees
Title: Fruit trees for Kempner, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I just moved to Kempner , TX and would like to plant a couple of fruit trees in my 1 1/4 ac yard. I would like to plant a species that will do well and produce edible fruit. Any assistance will be appreciated.

ANSWER:

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) is your best choice.   Not only does it produce delicious small plums to eat and use for jelly and jam, it is also a source of food for wildlife and produces a beautiful show of fragrant flowers in the spring.  The only other fruit tree native to Lampasas County that you probably would consider truly edible would be Carya illinoinensis (Pecan); but, unless your property has areas adjacent to a stream or other water source, the pecan will not do very well.  Another native fruit tree that grows well in Lampasas County is Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon). Its fruit, with a flavor some compare to prunes, is certainly edible and the wildlife love it, but most people think it doesn't have a very pleasing flavor.   There are a few shrubs that produce edible fruit that would grow well in your area—Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin) and Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita).  Both have small red berries that are edible.  There are also several grape vines native to your area—Vitis cinerea var. helleri (Winter grape), Vitis monticola (Sweet mountain grape) and Vitis mustangensis (Mustang grape).

If you were thinking of fruit trees such peaches, apples or pears, those are not native to Texas nor even to North America.  You can read about their origins in the answer to a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question.  Since they aren't North American natives (our area of focus and expertise) we can't really help you with the best varieties for your Lampasas County property.   For help with those you should contact your Lampasas County Cooperative Extension Service agent.

 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Pecan
Carya illinoinensis

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Winter grape
Vitis cinerea var. helleri

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