What Fruit Can You Grow in Austin and Travis County?
There are a variety of fruit bearing trees, vines, and bushes that do well in central Texas. Success with fruit growing depends on careful attention to several key factors.
Key Factors for Successful Fruit Production
- Proper variety selection is critical. Most fruit varieties found in the supermarket produce section (as well as in many national home improvement stores) are not generally well adapted to central Texas.
- Fruit producing plants need full sun exposure.
- Access and availability of supplemental water. Almost all fruit will need irrigation. Locate your plants close to hydrants or other water delivery systems.
- Soil depth and drainage is critical. Most plants will need more than two feet of soil to produce well.
- Soil type – most want sandy soils. The heavy clay soils in Austin and Central Texas may be a limiting factor for the type of fruit you choose to grow.
- Soil and water pH. Many types of fruit are simply not adapted to our climate and soil type, and will probably not be successful (blueberries, avocados, oranges, bananas, etc.) Most want acid soils. Don’t forget that the water you use also has a pH associated with it. Well water is especially high in pH if it’s pulled through limestone bedrock.
- Nutrient balance. High pH and phosphorous content of our native soils limits nutrient availability. Supplemental micro nutrients and fertilizers may be required.
- Our climate (particularly our mild winters), require special medium chill varieties of fruits like apples and peaches.
- Disease resistance is important, especially as it pertains to viruses, fungus, and root rot.
- Some fruit species only require one plant to bare fruit while others need a second variety for cross pollination.
Before investing in fruit plants, take some time to check out the resources below. There is a wealth of information here to get you off to a good start and help you maintain a productive home orchard, vineyard or berry patch. On the Texas A&M Extension Fruit and Nut site, you will find in-depth resources for choosing, planting, and caring for a wide variety of fruit and nuts. If you have further questions, contact the Master Gardener Helpdesk, or consult with a fruit specialist at a local nursery.