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Ask yourself several questions before choosing a fruit tree to perhaps determine why. For instance, do you enjoy the pink, rosy petals of an apple blossom? Is apple pie your favorite? Or, do you prefer figs, peeling the skin back to take a bite of the juicy red fruit? Would you prefer a wanderer like blackberry or blueberry that you can stitch through your fence to create a windbreak for your vegetables? A few to choose among are apple, apricot, blackberry, blueberry, citrus (satsuma), fig, peach, pear, persimmon, and plum. And many varieties within those fruit types.

Depending on the space you have available, it will also be important to know if the variety of fruit you chose is self-pollinating. (Other phrases used are no-pollinating required or self-fruitful.) If it is not self-pollinating, you will need to plant two. The next item on the agenda is to choose a fruit that meets our chilling hours.


First, a definition: “Chilling hours” is defined as the amount of time the temperature is between 32 degrees and 45 degrees in order to break dormancy and induce normal bloom and vegetative growth. There are exceptions and the years vary, but in a normal year (if there is such a thing), most of the fruit trees are going to experience 600-800 chilling hours in Central Texas.

Fruit trees have a chilling requirement in order to produce the optimum harvest for a given fruit. All fruits don’t have the same requirements for chilling hours. Some are as low as 200-400 hours; others are as high as 1,000 hours. When selecting your fruit trees or cane berries (blackberry, blueberry) look at the chilling hour requirements for each tree and realize that if they have a lower number of chilling hour requirements, you might be running the risk of blooming too early and being subject to a late freeze. If the requirements are too high, they may not do well due to our usually mild winters. The best advice is to stay within the designated hours that are normal for the Texas Hill Country (as stated above).

These chilling hours will vary depending on the variety of fruit you choose:

  • Apple 200-600
  • Apricot 300-1000
  • Blackberry/Blueberry 300-1,000
  • Citrus (satsuma) 300-400
  • Fig 150 (but these are hardy trees, worth the gamble if planted close to a structure or receive passive protection)
  • Peach 400-1,000
  • Pear 200-800
  • Persimmon 200-400
  • Plum 250-600


Let’s choose peaches, for instance. How in the world do we choose from so many? Here are a few pointers. We are going to match the chilling hour requirements with the number of chilling hours available and maybe even gamble a little bit – picking from both high- and low-requirement peach trees.

The next item to choose is “cling” or “free” peaches. What those terms are about is the relationship the peach seed (stone) has with the fruit of the peach. When the meat sticks to the seed (stone), it is considered a cling peach. Inversely, when the meat pulls freely away from the seed (stone), it is called freestone, or free. It is just a matter of personal preference. 

We hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Keep your turkey baster handy; it’s great for watering inside plants.

Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

“In the Garden” is written by daughter-father duo Martelle and Bill Luedecke. For gardening questions, contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or or Bill at 512-577-1463 or