Consider Climate In Choosing Varieties

The climate, more than any other factor, determines whether a particular fruit or nut variety will be successful in any part of Texas. The state has widely diverse climates, ranging from sub-tropical Brownsville to the cold Panhandle, and rainfall of 60 inches or more in East Texas to the desert-like climate of West Texas. Most, but not all, fruit crops can be successfully grown in some areas of Texas.

Winter Temperatures

Winter temperatures dictate where plants will grow because of chilling requirements and winter minimums. The chilling requirement is the number of hours between 32o and 45oF required before a plant starts normal growth in the spring.

Chilling units in Texas vary from 100 hours or fewer in the southern tip of Texas to more than 1,000 hours in the Panhandle. If plants requiring many hours of chilling are planted too far south, they will not bloom and grow normally in the spring. Conversely, if a low-chilling plant is set too far north, its requirement will be satisfied early and any warm weather will cause early bloom and probable freeze damage to both the crop and the tree.

Minimum temperatures also dictate plant selection since many fruiting plants freeze at relatively high temperatures. Bananas, for example, are damaged at 32oF, while apples can sustain temperatures of 0oF without damage if they are dormant.

Rainfall

Rainfall and accompanying high humidities also play an important role in plant selection. Irrigation can supplement rainfall, but water quality is critical for plants such a blueberries. High humidities in East and Central Texas increase disease pressures; therefore, in these areas use recommended resistant varieties.

The maps in Figure1, Figure 2 and Figure 3 show zones of adaptation for various fruits and nuts in the state of Texas. The varieties listed are those that are best adapted to specific area. By choosing only recommended varieties, a homeowner has a much greater chance of success. Some overlap of zones is inevitable; however, those listed within zones are most likely to have annual production.

Climate | Managing Fruit Crops | Controlling Problems
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