Plant Fruit Trees in the Fall

Collin Adcock
Horticulture Extension Faculty
Washington County Extension
collinwa@ufl.edu

The fall season is a great time to plant new varieties of fruit trees in your landscape. Fall plantings can give fruit trees a head start over those planted the following spring.

Map showing average winter chill hours for the state of Florida. Photo Credits: Figure from UF/IFAS EDIS publication HS250

Sometimes gardeners want to plant fruit trees simply because they want a variety of fruit at their fingertips. Other times it might be because they just want to try their hand at it. Fruit trees can add an extra dimension to a landscape because of the healthy, good-tasting fruit they produce. Fruit trees also offer seasonal ornamental beauty to a yard or garden. Their colorful blossoms in spring are followed by attractive foliage and developing fruit. When properly maintained, fruit trees will provide beauty and great eating every year.

Fruit trees require a lot of maintenance and patience in order to produce a successful crop. It is essential to remember that north Florida can be a tough place to produce high-quality fruit, so don’t get discouraged. It is very important to select only those fruit trees that are adapted for north Florida and coastal areas. In order for fruit to develop, trees require a certain amount of chilling hours. The term "chilling hours" refers to the number of hours that the temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but also above freezing. Chilling hours are very important. North Florida only receives 400 to 700 chilling hours per season; therefore, select only those varieties that have the lowest chilling hour requirements to help ensure an abundance of fruit for the next year.

Fruit

Varieties Suitable for North Florida

Apple

Anna; Dorsett Golden; Ein Shemer; TropicSweet

Peach

Flordacrest; Floradawn; Flordaglo; Flordaking; Flordaprince; Gulfcrest; Gulfking; Gulfprince; TropicBeauty; UFBeauty; UFBlaze; UFGold; UFSun; UF2000; UFO

Pear

20th Century (Asian); Florida Bosc (soft); Flordahome(soft); hood (soft); orient (hard); Pineapple (hard); shinseiki (Asian); Ya Li (Asian)

Plum

Au-Homeside; Au-Producer; Au-Roadside; Au-Rosa; Au-Rubrum; Byrongold; Excelsior; Robusto; Segundo

Nectarine

Sunbest; Suncoast; Sunmist; Sunraycer; UFQueen