I've been a member of the VPA forum for six years now and have grown a lot of fruit trees since. As I'm in the process of moving and planting a new orchard, I've begun to reflect on some random things that I've learned since I put my first bare root into the Arizona soil a decade ago. Feel free to add on.
1. Flood irrigation is best. You can do drip, but you need to run it long and mulch your yard like crazy. The key thing is to keep the root zone as moist as possible.. Bubblers don't offer much advantage to drip, except if you want to pay a much higher water bill.
2. Keep rock, like 1/2" granite, far, far, far away from your trees if you don't want to cook them. Mulch like crazy.
3.. Native soil needs to be amended if you want good growth. It's massively nitrogen and phosphorous depleted. However, the key thing is not to amend *too much* and then you lose the water retention qualities of clay which is necessary to keep the root zone moist in 115 degree weather. 20% amendment seems to be the magic number.
4. Never amend with mulch made from eucalyptus.
5. Try to grow your trees as far as possible from eucalyptus trees and oleander bushes.
6. Citation is the worst possible rootstock for a tree in Arizona. C35 citrange is second.
7. Loquats and persimmons need afternoon shade badly. Actually, with the exception of certain citrus, almost all fruit trees here can benefit from afternoon shade.
8. Figs need lots of water if you want quality fruit. Actually, most fruit trees need lots of water out here. You can't water a fruit tree like an acacia tree.
9. Jujubes are effortless trees. Sherwood and sugarcane are good varieties. Li is inconsistent in quality.
10. Nectarines need to be sprayed constantly at petal drop or fertilized with systemic pesticides (not quite up my alley) or you're going to have mis-shaped, scarred, dwarfed fruit. The only nectarine that seems immune to this are early types like arctic star.
11. Yellow peaches are, in large part, more vigorous than white peaches and have larger fruit.
12. Flame is the easiest grape to grow here.
13. Growing apples that ripen in the fall is a fool hardy pursuit. Apples that develop in 115 degree summer heat are often small and deformed.
14. Tropic Sweet is probably the best tasting apple that will grow in Arizona and size up appropriately.
15. Fuji will take 5 years to start producing on M111 rootstock.
16. Mandarins are more sun sensitive than I thought. If you need to grow a tree with afternoon sun/west exposure, grow an Arizona sweet like trovita.
17. Growing fruit trees is a lot easier than growing vegetables. This is the inverse of my experiences back east.
18. Keep track of your chill hours. In Scottsdale, try to avoid anything over 300 hours if you want consistent fruiting.
19. Pear quality is so so here.
20. Don't bother growing cherries in Arizona. The only rootstock that tolerated Arizona growing conditions -- 3CR178 (Z-Dwarf) -- is no longer being propagated by Dave Wilson. Planting a cherry tree on Mazzard into the ground is a waste of time and money.
21. Bakers was one hell of a nursery.
"The only rootstock that tolerated Arizona growing conditions -- 3CR178 (Z-Dwarf) -- is no longer being propagated by Dave Wilson."
So what is the story on this Andrew? Any reason you know of?
No idea. Most likely they're either susceptible to some disease out in California, crop yields are low, or they're dying prematurely. Too bad. Eric Amadio has something like a dozen pairs producing away on CR178 out in Laveen and he's pretty irritated that he can't expand.
Perhaps some local nursery could pick up the slack and take advantage of a gap in the market (cough cough Reid).
BTW, +1 on Bakers. What a loss.
+1 for RSI a wealth of info there
Great list btw, I would add to start with trees that do well here (in the valley), save the exotic stuff that produces marginally for later or never.
Andrew, this is a great list which I have bookmarked for further reference. I have to ask because I've read many of your comments over the years, what are the trees you will be planting when you move? Obviously a TS apple which I also grow and agree it's the best. Do you have other favorites?