Best Fruit Varieties for North and Northeast Texas
Following are the fruit varieties that have been recommended on my radio program by Dr. George Ray McEachern, fruit and pecan specialist with Texas A&M. These are primarily for the northeastern third of our state. If you live elsewhere, you would need to do online research, either through Aggie Horticulture (the TAMU horticulture website) or by contacting your local county Extension office.
In each of these listings, I’m going to post his first choice and then additional varieties that he gave for people who want more than one variety of a specific crop.
1. Orient pear. “If you only have one fruit tree, this should be it,” he told my radio audience. (Other pears that would be suitable include Garber, Moonglow and Ayers.)
2. Ouachita (thornless) or Kiowa (thorny) blackberries. He referred to Kiowa as being extremely vigorous and productive, but Ouachita being an option for people who just don’t want the thorns. (Other thornless types: Navaho and Arapaho. Brazos blackberries, long the favored variety, are still good.)
3. Methley plum, a good pollinator, both for itself and for other plum varieties. (Other plums include Bruce, Morris and Ozark Premier.)
4. Blanc duBois grapes, a white grape that he listed as “the grape of our future.” (Other grapes included Black Spanish and Champanel.)
5. Redglobe peaches (for DFW and northward) and June Gold (for south of DFW). Dr. McEachern recommended that you buy plants budded onto Halford rootstocks for alkaline soils such as the Blackland Prairie. (Other choices include Ranger, Harvester and Majestic.)
6. Eureka persimmon.
7. Black Beauty muscadine grapes (East Texas acidic soils only).
8. Caddo pecans DFW and eastward; Sioux and Western west of Fort Worth.
9. Tifblue blueberries (East Texas acidic soils only).
10. Sunbar and Spanish Sweet pomegranates are showing great promise in Texas, based on research done by Drs. Larry Stein and Jim Kamas.
11. Alma figs. (Other choice: Celeste) Dr. McEachern has reevaluated winter hardiness of Alma, and feels it is equal to that of Celeste. Texas Everbearing/Brown Turkey exists in too many variations and is no longer recommended.
The following crops were not included in Dr. McEachern’s list of the best types to plant in North Texas, but he did note that they are grown.
12. Gala, Jonagold apples.
13. If you are interested in growing apricots in North Texas, Dr. McEachern suggested the variety Moorpark, but he warned that you would lose your entire crop many years due to early flowering and subsequent late freezes. Expect a crop only once every four years on average.
14. Asian pears were discussed. The best-suited variety for North Texas is 20th Century, but Dr. McEachern expressed concern that it was highly susceptible to fire blight, a potentially fatal bacterial disease.
15. Jujubes: varieties Li and Lang.
Source for most TAMU-recommended varieties:
Womack Nursery Company
2551 State Highway 6
Here is a link to the directory of TAMU fact sheets on all of the various fruit crops. Bookmark this site, as it will greatly speed up your searches. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/