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Low Chill Deciduous Fruit Trees and their Bloom Dates

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Low Chill Deciduous Trees, Bloom Dates

I have tracked the dates that my low chill deciduous fruit trees started blooming over the years. I found the results interesting on several levels. Hey, it is something to do on those rainy days. But more seriously, on a given year the trees bloom in a comparative succession.The actual dates vary by the season but not always in the same direction. The blooming order is at least somewhat in accordance with the fruiting order. I find trying to figure out those vagaries make the home fruit orchard very intriguing. The differences are relative to exactly when the cold weather arrives and how long it lasts. A warm spell in December or January and trees that are close to their bloom times can be blooming very early. But if it is followed by a cold January some of the later blooming deciduous fruit trees may still wait until their normal March blooming times. I have a few flowering plants that I use for markers to see where other gardens might match up as bloom timings vary significantly, earlier at the coast and to the South, and later in colder locations. Low chill is calculated in hours below 40°F. Trees that are rated for 500 hours or less are considered low chill. I live in a cold part of town and have pushed the limit some trying to get interesting apples. I have watched the micro-climates on my property and have put the most cold requiring trees in the coldest spots.

My goal is to have my home orchard provide its bounty over as long a period as possible. Any given tree will produce fruit for 2-4 weeks, and who can possibly eat or even process the hundreds of pounds of fruit produced by a healthy tree in such a short span? This is especially true if several trees ripen at the same time. If I plan well I can eat fresh fruit picked from my own trees almost all year long, though it takes some citrus to make that bridge the coldest months. Those citrus trees are tucked into the warmest spots on the property and up against buildings to catch a little extra warmth.

I have lemons and tangerines in the winter to carry me to the first peaches of the season in May. The next stretch of my early season is a little weak until the Royal apricots kick in with the Babcock peaches in late June. Then I am nearly buried in fruit until December when I am still eating Fuji apples, Persimmons and Asian Pears 'till the end. Dried and canned and frozen fruit fills in most of the blanks.

My plot of paradise is in Ojai, inland from Ventura and Santa Barbara. I have found room to stuff 40 different kinds of fruit trees onto my property. Somehow I will still find room for a few more. With my new trees I espalier them, form them into arches or sculpt them. Trees will bloom and fruit as much as 2-3 weeks earlier on our local coastline and earlier still down South towards San Diego. The season will be both compressed and shifted later in more northern and inland climes.

I have included some ornamentals for references. They may help you match up where your timings might lie

The Trees and their bloom dates

May Pride Peach . . . . mid January to early Feb . . . late June-July
Anna Apple . . . . . . . . mid January to mid Feb . . . June
Dorsett Golden Apple . . . . mid January to early March
Ventura Peach . . . . early Feb to mid March
Babcock Peach . . . . early to late Feb
Magnolia stellata (white) . . . mid two weeks of Feb
Magnolia stellata (pink) . . . mid Feb to early Mar
Ribes sanguinium . . . mid Feb to mid Mar
Royal Apricot . . . . mid two weeks of Feb . . . June
August Pride Peach . . mid two weeks of Feb . . . July
Muscari Grape Hyacinth . . mid to late Feb
Clematis armandii . . . mid Feb
Moorpark Apricot . . . mid Feb to first week March
Redbud . . . mid Feb to first week March
Santa Rosa Plum . . . mid to late Feb
Belle of Portugal Rose . . late Feb early March
Akebia quinata . . . late Feb early March
Golden Plum . . . late Feb early March . . . July
Plumcot . . . late Feb early March
Panamint Nectarine . . . late Feb mid March
Mariposa Plum . . . late Feb mid March
Magnolia brozzonnii . . . late Feb mid March
Elephant Heart Plum . . mid March
Saturn Peach . . . mid March
Liz's Late Nectarine . . . mid March
Burgundy Plum . . . mid March
Chojuro Asian Pear . . mid March . . . August
Shinseki Asian Pear . . mid to late March
20th Century Asian Pear . . mid to late March . . . mid Summer
Autumn Royal Apricot . . late March . . . August
Ginkgo Leaves . . late March
Birch Leaves . . late March
Japanese Maples . . late March
Winter Banana Apple . . late March to early April
Fuji Apple . . late March to early April
Gala Apple . . early to mid April
Braeburn Apple . . early to mid April
Pippen Apple . . . mid April
Pink Lady Apple . . . mid April
Arkansas Black Apple . . late April
Ziziphus jujuba . . late April