January is fruit tree planting time, and if you are looking for delectable treats for your backyard, you don’t need to go further than these easy to grow favorites.
I have a fig tree on the south side of my house that perfectly shades my air conditioner. Sunfield Community Gardeners are lucky to have 13 fig trees to share! Figs can reach 20 feet tall and wide but are easy to prune. Fast-growing and needing little water once established, figs offer gardeners two harvests of sweet fruits during summer. Each year add a layer of compost and mulch around the root zone of the tree. Prune lightly to shape and to remove dead and crossing branches in winter. Recommended varieties include ‘Black Mission’, ‘Celeste’ and ‘Brown Turkey’. Figs can also handle light shade and grow well in large containers.
Tropical, evergreen foliage makes the loquat a useful landscape plant for privacy screening. Each spring the trees produce small golden fruit that are similar to apricots in look and flavor. They can grow in shade or sun. In sun they grow into wide, pyramid-shaped trees. In shade they grow skinnier, making them great for narrow spots between buildings. They can be pruned flat. Look for them in the landscape tree section at the nursery since they are not often thought of as fruit trees, even though they are yummy!
Drought-tolerant and beautiful, these large shrubs make a great hedge or focal point. In summer and fall they are covered with bright orange flowersthat grow into exotic fruit. Pomegranates provide good places for birds to build their nests, too. It isn’t hard to find really big old pomegranate bushes producing lots of fruit with little care in Austin. Recommended varieties include ‘Austin’, ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Kashmir’. They need full sun to bloom and make fruit.
Check out this video about how to get the edible seeds out of the pomegranate easily: