The time to plant fruit and nut trees in Texas is from December through mid March. Winter planting gives the trees time to adjust to their new environment before the hot weather sets in.
Fruit trees are widely adapted to growing and producing in Texas. Fruit trees need good soil water drainage and plentiful sunlight. Most fruit trees will span about 15 feet in diameter.
I purchased container grown plum and fig trees. I purchased a Methley plum which produces large golden red fruit. Its fruit should ripen toward the end of May in Texas. This variety of plum is a self-pollinator. I also purchased a Celeste fig which is a hardy plant that produces small to medium size fruit which should ripen in July in Texas.
The pecan is the Texas State tree. It is native to about 150 counties in Texas and is capable of growing and producing pecans in all 254 counties. Pecans need to be planted in fertile and well drained soils in full sun. They can grow very large which means they need to be planted at least 30 feet from buildings and power lines.
I purchased a container grown pecan tree because they can survive the shock of being transplanted better than bare root trees and have a better chance of living. I purchased an improved pecan variety which means that the nut quality and size has been improved upon. I purchased a Jackson Pecan which is a variety of pecan tree that originated from Southern Mississippi.
Pecans are wind pollinated and can cross pollinate with other landscape and neighborhood trees up to ¼ mile away.
I purchased my fruit and nut trees from Texas Pecan Nursery. When I bought them home I made sure to keep the tree roots moist but not sopping wet until I had a chance to plant them.
My husband used his post hole digger implement on his tractor to dig holes for the trees which is a lot faster than me using the shovel. The holes should only be dug to the depth of the taproot. The taproot is the large downward pointing root of the tree. The taproot base should rest firmly against the bottom of the hole. The hole should be wide enough to hold all the roots without bending them. It is important to plant the trees at the same depth that they grew in their container.
After placing the tree in the hole I firmly pack the soil around the roots. I also make a mound of dirt in a ring shape around the tree to aid in retaining water for absorption into the soil.
It is also important to water each newly transplanted tree thoroughly with at least 5 gallons of water. I did not have to do that since it rained that afternoon and all day the next day as well.
Some gardeners cut back the trees by as much as one half of the tree size. Some say this helps the tree avoid dying and invigorates the tree to grow. I did the cutting back one year on some newly transplanted trees and did not notice the difference. I do not cut back on my fruit and nut trees but, you should ask a professional gardener in your area and follow their advice.
In my opinion irrigation is essential for the survival and growth of young trees. I plan to water regularly on a weekly basis until the trees are well established. Ideally I will depend on rainfall to water the trees. If the rainfall is short I will water the trees using pond water that I will pump out from my newly built pond.
I will also watch the growth of the tree to make sure it its growing straight. If it seems droopy I will place a stake next to the tree and tie the tree to the stake to keep it growing straight.
Also in the summer I will mulch the area below the young tree with dry leaves and wood chips to keep the soil from becoming too hot during the day and to prevent water from evaporating rapidly.
By planting fruit and nut trees at home I can enjoy fresh picked flavor, be more certain that this food is grown without poison and lower my grocery costs.
Learn more self-reliant skills at www.thetexaspioneerwoman.blogspot.com.