Deciduous Fruit Trees

for Orange County

Laguna Hills Nursery

25290 Jeronimo Road

Lake Forest, CA 92630


Before you read further What is the MINIMUM CHILL REQUIREMENT?

Many deciduous fruit trees that evolved in temperate climates require a period of winter cold in order to produce flowers and fruit. We call this the minimum chill requirement (MCR). It involves the number of hours (chill hours) of exposure to temperatures below 55 degrees F and above 33 degrees F. The MCR is the minimum number of chill hours (accumulative) that the tree must be exposed to during the winter season for proper flower bud development and subsequent fruiting. The number of chill hours decrease when the tree is exposed to temperature above 60 degrees F.

Most commercial deciduous fruit trees require MCRs of between 500 and 800 hours. Our local areas receive an average of less than 300 hours on hilltops to 400 hours on the valley floor to more than 600 hours in narrow canyons. The cities of Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Huntington Beach are on the flood plain of Orange County and average 400 hours. Homes near river beds are even cooler. Hilltop areas of Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Orange, and Tustin may average less than 300 hours, yet low spots in these same cities may average over 400 hours, Inland canyons and even the steep Laguna Canyon can average well over 500 hours.

The typical residential yard has many microclimates. A tree on the exposed south side of a home may receive only half of the chill hours compared to a tree on the shaded north side. House walls can leak much heat to a nearby tree while a moist grass lawn can cool a tree.

To increase the chill hours locate a tree just to the north of a wall or evergreen tree where it will be shaded all winter and still receive sunlight (for best fruit quality) in summer. White- washing the trunk and stems will also help.

Cold air has a natural tendency to flow downhill. It is true that the air is cooler at higher elevations (I degree [or every 200 feet) due to reduced atmospheric density, but cold air still flows downhill. A tree on the crest of a hill may receive only half the chill hours compared to a tree at the base of a hill, or especially at the base of a canyon.

Our weather varies greatly. Our winters are either warmer or cooler than normal. If you want reliable fruit production then choose a tree with a MCR that is less than your area averages. If you plant a tree that has a higher MCR than your area averages, the tree may produce only sporadically.

Deciduous trees in temperate climates evolved the MCR in order to avoid leafing out prematurely during a warm spell in the winter months. As soon as the MCR is reached the tree will begin growth with the next warm spell. To be consistently successful in the benign winter climate of Orange County, a deciduous fruit tree must have a relatively low MCR (a.k.a low chill).

Truthfully, the MCR’s of fruit trees have not been scientifically determined and almost all are just educated guesses.

Many deciduous fruit trees (Apples, Figs, Jujubes, Mulberries) may not have a MCR. We believe these trees are set to grow when spring days exceed a certain temperature.

When we list the MCR as 300-500 for example) we are giving the range of MCR ‘s listed for that variety from various references. If the # is followed by a (?), this means that the MCR listed is our own estimate.


Most full grown fruit trees can produce 300-500 fruit at harvest time which typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Few families can eat fruit that quickly. There are several strategies to make production practical.

Control size with summer pruning. We prefer to keep each tree about 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Since fruit does not grow on new growth (jujube and fig are exceptions) this growth can be cut off all summer without affecting next year’s crop. A tree this size will produce 50-100 fruit.

Control size by grouping varieties. If 2-5 varieties of apples are planted within 2 feet of each other, this group is not capable of growing significantly larger than a single tree. This group will still produce 3 0-500 fruit, but now has 2-5 different ripening periods. Much more of the fruit can be consumed.

Both methods can be incorporated. In my own garden we have 8 apple varieties planted in 2 groups, each group allowed to grow only 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. We can pick apples nearly any day from mid-summer to early winter.

Fruit trees can also be planted 3-4 feet apart and maintained as a hedge.

Consult our handout What is Backyard Orchard Culture? for details.




are a reliable crop in our area. It has become apparent that most (perhaps all) apples do not have a MCR. Most apples bloom in April. A few bloom in February. Most apples are at least partially self-fertile, however, most produce a better crop if they are pollinated by a different variety with the same bloom period. A few (see text) require a pollinator. Too create a stronger bloom, strip off all of the leaves grown the previous year by March. Occasionally we’ll have a winter cool enough to cause all the foliage to drop. Apples begin production as early as the second year, but some may require four years. Apples require thinning after fruit set to I per cluster or less. We offer semidwarf trees (Ml II rootstock) which can grow trees 15-20 feet tall, but can be maintained as low as 4 feet tall. Apples can be espaliered along a fence. Apple trees prefer ample water and love lawn conditions.

Apples have some pests. Fireblight (worst on Gala) can be controlled by application of copper sulfate just before bloom. Codling moth (apple worms) can be lessened by proper thinning and choosing early or late varieties.

Anna Blooms February. Large cylindrical, mostly red fruit with creamy, white tender, crisp, sweet tlesh. Harvest July-August. Best eaten fresh. Fruit quality is better away from coast. O[len

has a second crop in November. Often grows fruit the first year. From Israel.

Beverly Hills Blooms April. Medium size round fruit with yellow skin splashed with red. Good flavor, but turns mushy quickly. Harvest August. Good fresh or cooked. This was the first apple promoted in Southern Calif. Not the best.

Braeburn Blooms April. Medium to large green fruit with burgundy stripes. Crisp with sweet, slightly tart flesh. Excellent fresh or cocked. Harvest September-October. Excellent quality, stores well. From New Zealand.

Dorsett Golden Blooms February. Resembles Golden Delicious. Large fruit is crisp, tender, and slightly tart. Best fresh. Harvest June-July. Often has 2nd crop in November. From the Bahamas.

Fuji Blooms April. Medium to large slightly flattened fruit with yellowish green skin etched with grayish red stripes. Crisp, very juicy, and honey sweet. Needs heavy thinning for high quality fruit. Best eaten fresh. Ripens in October. Stores well. From Japan. OUR MOST POPULAR APPLE!

Gala Blooms April. Small to medium size fruit with yellow skin and scarlet stripes. Fine texture flesh is crisp, aromatic and spicy sweet. Best eaten fresh. Harvest August-September. Unusually susceptible to fireblight. From New Zealand. POPULAR

Gordon Blooms April. Very large fruit with green skin and red blush. Solid flesh is very crisp, sweet, and tart. Harvest August-October. Good fresh or cooked. From Whittier, California. Heavily promoted, but not the best.

Granny Smith Blooms April. Medium to large round fruit with yellow green skin, the white flesh is firm, crisp, juicy, and tart. Eaten fresh or cooked. Harvest November-January. If left on the tree until mid-winter it becomes a fabulous sweet yellow-skinned apple. Stores very well. From Australia. Seems to be resistant to fireblight and apple worms. EXCELLENT!

Honeycrisp Blooms April. Large fruit with yellow skin blushed red. Extremely crisp, juicy, coarse, subacid and aromatic. Ripens September, possibly earlier. From University of Minnesota. NEW! This is rated the top quality apple of the far north. We hope (expect) that it will do well locally.

Jonagold Blooms April. Large rounded fruit with yellow skin and red stripes. Cream colored flesh is firni, crisp, juicy with outstanding flavor. Harvest September. Excellent fresh or cooked. Pollinator is recommended. OUTSTANDING!

Mutsu (Crispin) Blooms April. Huge round fruit with light green skin. Resembles Golden Delicious but is slightly more tart. Harvest September. Incredibly vigorous tree with heavy crops. From Japan.

Newton Pippin Squat fruit with yellow green skin. Dense, crisp yellow flesh with mild but distinctive flavor. Good fresh or processed. Oregon’s best apple does well locally.

Pink Lady Blooms April. Small to medium fruit with yellow green skin heavily blushed with rose. The white flesh is crisp, very sweet, and highly flavored. Harvest October-December. From Australia. GREAT NEW APPLE



are not reliable producers on hilly, or otherwise elevated, locations in Orange County. Reliable production occurs in steep canyons and along rivers where cold winter air settles. Apricot trees grow 20 feet tall, but can be maintained as low as 4 feet tall. Prune in summer to control size. Genetic dwarf varieties aren’t reliable here. Production begins the second or third year. All varieties we offer are self-fertile.

Goldkist MCR 300-400 Large all-purpose fruit with red blushed gold skin and good quality firm, mildly flavored orange flesh. Ripens May. Tends to develop harmless, but unsightly skin cracks on fruit exposed to sun. Very vigorous tree. RECOMMENDED. This variety of apricot has the lowest MCR.



fruit reliably only in the canyon bottoms and in our local mountains above 2500 feet. The MCR for most cherries is about 700 hours. We have had fair success with one variety.

Lapins MCR 400(?)-800 Large, firm, dark red, sweet fruit of high quality. Harvest in July. This self-fertile variety occasionally produces a bumper crop at my hilltop home. We expect it to be a decently reliable producer anywhere in Orange County where there is a danger of flooding. (cold air flows like water)



are reliable producers here. All of the varieties we offer are self-fertile. The MCR is low or non-existent. Trees can grow 20 feet, but are easy to maintain at 8 feet with heavy annual pruning in winter. Most produce a few large fruit in June (the breba crop) with a 'second’ heavy crop of smaller fruit from late August-October. Production begins the first year.

Black Mission Medium size tear-drop shaped fruit with purple-black skin and strawberry flesh. Very rich flavor. Good fresh or dried. Fruit won’t split open or get moldy when ripe. OUR BEST SELLER.

Brown Turkey Large bell-shaped fruit with purple-brown skin and juicy, light strawberry flesh. Best fresh. Short growing tree to about 10 feet. Excellent in containers.

Celestial Small pear-shaped fruit with violet-bronze skin and sweet rich strawberry flesh. Quality is very good. Good fresh or dried. VERY SWEET.

Flanders Medium to large tear-drop shaped fruit with green and violet-bronze skin and sweet, unusually firm flesh. Ripe fruit won’t crack. Excellent fresh. FABULOUS.

Janice (Seedless Kadota) Large greenish-yellow fruit with practically no seeds. The sweet flesh is of very good quality. Long harvest.

Tiger (Panache) Medium size fig with cream and green striped skin and bright red flesh. Superb cherry flavor. Not a heavy producer. Ripe fruit tends to split and get moldy.

White Genoa Medium size fruit with greenish yellow skin and amber to pink flesh. Good fresh. Best near coast, but subject to mold.


Jujube (Chinese Date)

is reliably productive in all areas of Orange County but needs inland heat to attain its best flavor and sweetness. The fruit is similar in size and appearance to the common date. The flesh has a sweet, tender, crisp apple-like flavor fresh, or is date-like when dried or candied. Juvenile growth is quite thorny. Mature growth has small thorns. The weeping tree can grow 20 feet tall and is highly ornamental. Usually produces fruit the first year. Ripens early fall. Good in lawns. Excellent under harsh desert conditions. This is one of the few fruit trees that will produce well even if heavily pruned in winter. Jujube is somewhat self-fertile. Young trees produce much larger crops if pollinated with a different variety.

Lang Long fruit with reddish brown skin and melting flesh. Must ripen on tree for best quality. Upright growth.

Li Rounded fruit with mahogany-brown skin. Fruit will ripen even if picked while still somewhat green. Tree is shorter and more spreading.



are reliable in all areas of Orange County. The fruit resembles blackberries and is very sweet when fully ripe. Excellent fresh, dried, cooked, or for preserves. Ripens summer. Easy to grow. Trees tolerate some drought when established. Most varieties grow quickly. Fruit drop from the dark colored varieties can stain masonry and carpeting.

Black Beauty (Persian) Large black fruit with sweet, tasty flesh. Unripe fruit is quite tart. A semi-dwarf tree that grows to only 15 feet tall. Persian Mulberries are dormant until April.

Pakistan Red Very long (up to 4 inches) maroon fruit with excellent sweet flavor. Fruit may be eaten before fully ripe. Juice doesn’t stain. Ripens summer. Tree can grow over 20 feet tall.

Teas Weeping Small sweet black fruit of good quality. The small tree has branches that weep to the ground. Very ornamental.

White White fruit with a slight red blush. Very sweet and non-staining. Tree grows extremely quickly to 30 feet tall or more.



are genetically identical to peaches but have a smooth skin and different texture. Production begins second or third year. All of these varieties are self-fertile. Standard nectarine trees can grow 15 feet tall. All can be maintained at 4 feet tall. Excess nitrogen fertilizer can lead to brown rot of the fruit.

Arctic Star MCR 300. Fruit has dark red skin and white flesh. Semi-freestone. Supersweet and mild. Ripens June. Best away from immediate coast.

Panamint MCR 250-400. Small to medium size fruit with red skin and golden flesh. Freestone. Very good flavor. Ripens July.

Snow Queen MCR 250-300. White freestone flesh with excellent sweet, juicy flavor. Harvest late June.



are reliable producers if the proper varieties are chosen. Production begins the second or third year. All these peaches are self-fertile. Standard peach trees grow to 15 feet tall, but can be maintained down to 4 feet tall. Genetic dwarf peaches have not performed reliably in Orange County.

Babcock MCR 250. Medium size fruit with red-blushed white skin and white flesh. Honey sweet and juicy. Excellent quality. Semi-freestone. Best fresh. Fruit must be heavily thinned. Ripens early July. Longtime favorite. Bonita MCR 350. Huge fruit with red-blushed yellow skin and yellow flesh. Firm freestone with excellent flavor. Ripens late July. Not reliable when grown on hilltop locations. SUPERB!

Donut MCR 200-500. Unique flat donut-shaped fruit with sunken center. White flesh with mild sweet flavor with a hint of almond. Ripens early July.

Eva’s Pride MCR 100-200. Medium to large fruit with yellow skin and flesh. Very good flavor. Freestone. Ripens June. Best of the ‘early’ peaches.

Mid Pride MCR 250. Medium to large fruit with yellow flesh. Excellent quality when grown in inland locations. Ripens late June.

Red Baron MCR 250. Large round fruit with yellow skin and flesh. Very good to excellent quality. Freestone. Ripens mid-July. Great display of large double rose-red flowers in spring. OUR BEST SELLER!

Santa Barbara MCR 350. Similar, possibly better, to Bonita.

Tropic Snow MCR 200. White freestone with good flavor. Ripens mid-June. Showy flowers.

*Note: Currently many growers of peach trees are getting worms (larvae of Oriental Fruit Moth) burrowing around the pit of the fruit. Unfortunately, non-chemical controls have not been totally successful. Applying Sevin (carbaryl) to the fruit about 3-4 weeks before harvest may be the only way to stop them.



are reliable if the proper varieties are chosen. There are three types of pears. The familiar European pears such as Bartlett, the Asian (A) pears with a crunchy texture, and the Hybrid (H) pears which may display characteristics of either parent. Most hybrid pears are reliable producers in Orange County. Only a certain few European and Asian varieties are reliable locally. Most pears are partially self-fertile, but will produce far more if pollinated with a different variety. Asian and European pears bloom in April. Hybrid pears often bloom 2 months earlier. Pears require 4 years to become productive. Standard pear trees can reach 20 feet tall but can be maintained down to 4 feet tall. Most pears should be picked while still firm and allowed to ripen indoors. Pear trees tolerate heavy wet soil quite well and are good lawn trees.

Floridahome (H) MCR 150. Medium size fruit with greenish yellow skin and sweet, juicy, white flesh. Fair to good quality. Ripens mid-July. Good fresh or canned. From Florida. Normally utilized as a pollinator for Hood. Hood (H) MCR 150. Large, pear-shaped, fruit with yellow flesh and sweet, firm, juicy white flesh. Excellent quality. Ripens late July. This pear rivals Bartlett for quality.

Hosui (A) MCR 450. Large round fruit with brownish-orange skin and crispy white flesh. Good quality. Ripens in September. Requires a pollinator. Best performance in canyon areas.

Shinko (A) MCR 450. Medium oval fruit with golden-bronze skin and crispy white flesh. Excellent flavor. Ripens in September. Best performance in canyon areas.

Twentieth Century (A) MCR 3 50-450. Medium to large flattened-round fruit with tender yellow skin and white flesh. Very juicy, crispy, tender and sweet. Mild flavor. Ripens August-September. Apparently self-fertile.


are reliable producers in our area. Most varieties are self-fertile. Persimmon trees can grow 30 feet tall, but can be kept under 10 feet with pruning. Persimmons require soil with a high oxygen content. Do not amend the soil with organic matter. Sand, sponge rock, or pumice will help increase air penetration. Drip irrigation is preferred. Production begins within 4 years.

Chocolate Medium size oblong orange-red fruit with tasty brown, soft flesh. Astringent until ripe.

Coffeecake (Nishimura Wase) Medium size, slightly flattened, round fruit with orange skin and orange flesh flecked with brown. Non-astringent flesh has seeds. Ripens early to mid fall.

Hachiya Very large oblong-conical fruit with orange red skin and flesh. Astringent until jelly ripe. Sweet and rich. Ripens mid to late fall. Excellent quality fresh. Wonderful dried.

Hiyakume Large rounded oblong fruit with light orange skin and dark cinnamon flesh when pollinated. The non-astringent flesh is firm and spicy. Ripens early-mid fall. NEW.

Imoto Fuyu Large flattened, slightly squarish, fruit with dark orange skin and flesh. The non-astringent seedless flesh is sweet and mellow. Can be eaten while crispy or allowed to ripen until quite soft. Ripens early to mid fall. Similar to Jiro, perhaps a bit more tender.

Izu Fuyu Medium to large flattened round fruit with orange skin and flesh. The non-astringent flesh is sweet and tasty. Ripens late summer. A NEW EARLY FUYU.

Jiro Fuyu Large flattened, slightly squarish, fruit with dark orange skin and flesh. The non-astringent seedless flesh is sweet and mellow. Can be eaten while crispy or allowed to ripen until quite soft. Ripens early to mid fall. Relatively vigorous tree. THE MOST COMMON COMMERCIAL FUYU.

Maekawajiro Fuyu Sport of Jiro is similar, a bit less square shape, but requires a pollinator.

Matsumoto Wase Fuyu Similar to iwo but ripens a few weeks earlier.

Suruga Large fruit with orange-red skin and extremely sweet, non-astringent flesh of excellent quality. Ripens mid to late fall. Few seeds. NEW



are notably finicky producers. Most reliable production occurs in canyon locations. Production begins within 4 years. Standard plums grow to 30 feet tall but can maintained down to 4 feet tall. There are no genetic dwarf varieties that perform well in our area. All these varieties are Japanese.

Beauty MCR 250. Small to medium size fruit with red and greenish yellow skin. The soft red flesh is sweet. and tasty. Over-ripe fruit become water balloons. Self-fertile. Ripens May-June. OUR MOST RELIABLE PLUM. Burgundy MCR 350. Small to large fruit with beautiful dark burgundy skin and firm purple flesh. Sweet and mellow with a small pit. Ripens July-August over a 2 month period! Self-fertile. Reliable and wonderful in most locations except hilltop gardens. OUR BEST PLUM.

Catalina MCR 400. Large fruit with black skin and purple flesh. Firm flesh is sweet and mellow. Excellent quality, but needs local evaluation.

Santa Rosa MCR 300-500. Large oval fruit with purplish skin and amber flesh tinted red. Juicy and sweet with a tart skin. Ripens June. Self-fertile. Reliable most locations. POPULAR

Satsuma MCR 300-400. Medium size round fruit with deep red skin and meaty red flesh. Sweet and mild. The original ‘blood’ plum. Ripens August. Requires pollinator. Not reliable on hilltop locations.



are relatively new and untested. Genetically they are 75% plum and 25% apricot. The fruit is extremely sweet and commonly wins top honors at fruit tasting sessions. New varieties are being developed presently.

Dapple Dandy MCR 400-700. The fruit has greenish yellow skin with red spots ripening to maroon and yellow. The freestone flesh is creamy white and red with superb flavor. Ripens August. Reliability of this variety is still being evaluated. Commercially sold as Dinosaur Egg.

Flavor King MCR 300(?)-600. Large fruit with maroon skin and red flesh. Very sweet with superb flavor. Harvest August. This variety seems to need little winter chill, however, it may require a pollinator such as Burgundy Plum to bloom with it. So far we’ve had 3 wonderful crops in 5 years with a decent to outstanding bloom nearly every year.



are easy to grow in Orange County. Flavor and sweetness is best in the warmer inland areas. All are self-fertile. Some production may begin early, but reliable harvest begin by the fourth year. Ripens Fall. Can grow more than 15 feet tall, but can be maintained as low as 4 feet tall. Pomegranate trees are highly ornamental and the attractive orange flowers bloom for several months. Water consistently or fruit will split before ripening.

Eversweet Medium to large fruit with pale pink skin and pale red, non-staining flesh. Very sweet and mellow. The soft seeds and non-bitter membranes are also edible making this variety painless to consume. Ripens mid September.

Sweet Large fruit with pinkish green skin and light red flesh. Very sweet and mellow. Relatively soft seeds. Ripens late September.

White Large fruit with pink skin and very sweet flesh. Transparent flesh is non-staining. Ripens early September.

Wonderful Large fruit with red skin and ruby flesh. Sweet-tart flavor. THE COMMERCIAL POMEGRANATE.




do well in Orange County. The large pear-shaped fruit has extremely firm flesh and is usually cooked before eating. Quince are most often used to make jams and jellies. Quince trees tolerate poor conditions. Quince begin production the second or third year. Trees can grow 15 feet tall and can be maintained as low as 4 feet tall.

Cooke’s Jumbo Very large fruit with yellowish green skin and white flesh. Ripens fall. Excellent for pie and preserves. Good for cooking and jelly.

Smyrna Very large fruit with yellow skin and tender light yellow flesh. Ripens fall. Good to very good quality. From Turkey.