Fall is the perfect time to add a home orchard to your landscape, but University of Georgia experts warn gardeners to read labels and select the right trees for their region.
Small fruits such as blueberries and blackberries are actually very simple to grow and are great to start with and build confidence for the home orchardist. Growing trees is a bit more challenging. To increase your success rate, start with varieties bred especially for your region of the state.
There are several apple varieties adaptable to most parts of Georgia. If you live in south Georgia, plant Anna or Dorsett Golden. Varieties that do well in the upper two-thirds of the state include Ginger Gold, Gala, Mollie’s Delicious, Ozark Gold, Golden Delicious, Mutzu, Yates and Granny Smith.
Only a few fig trees are well adapted to Georgia. In the mountain region, select a protected site and try Celeste or Hardy Chicago. Celeste, Hardy Chicago and Conadria are fairly well adapted for the Piedmont. South of the Fall Line, any of the varieties mentioned can be grown, but Celeste and Conadria are two of the best. Extend the season by planting a late ripening variety like Alma.
The best pear varieties for south Georgia include Hood, Floradahome, Baldwin, Spalding and Warren. In middle or north Georgia, plant Orient, Carrick Waite, Kieffer, Magness, Moonglow, Starking Delicious or Dawn.
Japanese plum varieties recommended for home gardens in Georgia are Methley, Morris, AU Rubrum, AU Producer, Spring Satin, Byrongold and Rubysweet.
For more information on planting a home orchard, see the UGA Extension publication at www.caes.uga.edu/publications/.
(Bob Westerfield is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)