Question: Is there a list of fruit trees that grow in Tucson? Specifically, I am interested in peaches, apricots, cherries (sweet and sour) and apples? If they need a pollinator, which varieties do best together?
Answer: The main limiting factor to successfully growing fruit trees in Tucson is the lack of cold weather. Fruit trees require a certain amount of chilling hours to produce fruit, and we do not consistently get enough cold weather to meet the requirements for many fruit trees you may have seen or heard about in other parts of the country. Fortunately, there is a good selection of fruit trees that do fine here, and as long as you stick with these, you can have many years of harvesting your homegrown fruit. From your list of interests, you can find varieties of peaches, apricots and apples that grow well here. We don’t have cherries, but you can substitute figs, pears, persimmons, plums, quince, grapes, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries and pomegranates. Here is a link to our publication on fruits and nuts that includes much of what you need to know about these varieties. You will notice that the ones that do well in the low desert of Tucson are marked. There is a link to the pdf version that has a nice chart showing when they are harvested and if they require cross-pollination. Go to ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1269
Peter L. Warren is the urban horticulture agent for the Pima County Cooperative Extension and the University of Arizona. Questions may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org