Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Which trees do best in Tehachapi?

Mountain Gardens Nursery and Pet

You can tell when people are just moving to Tehachapi by what they ask for. I have been asked several times just this past week for citrus and avocado trees.

I had to tell them I'm sorry, but they don't grow up here in the mountains. Why not? Citrus is damaged when the temperature is 25-27 degrees F for three to four hours during the night.

This year our low so far has been around 20 degrees F, which could kill a citrus tree, at least the flowers, for the coming season. They grow great in Bakersfield, but we are so different up here, 45 minutes away. That would indicate that people are moving here from warmer climates where citrus thrives.

So what fruit and nut trees can grow in Tehachapi? Let me give you an idea. Tehachapi is a high chill area, meaning many hours below 45 degrees F. Apples, for instance, need 800 "chill hours" below 45 degrees F to produce, that's why apples and pears do so well here.

Peaches, if you choose the late flowering varieties, do great here. Some of my favorites are Reliance, O'Henry. Same for plums. Autumn Rosa, late Santa Rosa, and Satsuma all have done well here.

Some nectarines do well, but only late flowering varieties.

Everyone loves apricots, probably because they flower early. What does that tell you? I have found a couple of varieties that do well here, including Chinese, Moorpark, Tilton and Apricot Rival (semi-dwarf). These won't produce every year but, again, since we are a late frost area, they won't produce if the flowers freeze.

Cherries do great in Tehachapi, but not so well at 4,500 feet elevation and up. Bing, Lapins, Rainier cherries (my favorite), Stella, Black Pearl, Cherry Gold and Regina are good sweet cherries. Also, the sour pie cherries do well here. I have some multi grafted cherries also.

Some walnuts and almonds are worth trying here. Almonds bloom early, but most can fruit regardless of how cold it gets. They are more frost resistant. A lot of people plant them for their flowers.

Blackberry, boysenberry, and raspberries do great here. Try Fall Gold raspberry.

I have found several blueberries that are excellent if planted in acidic soil. Precaution: plant raspberries and blackberries in different parts of the yard or they may cross pollinate and you could get a black raspberry. The flavor doesn't change just the color of the fruit!

By now you are probably aware of the fruit tree shortage. It's happening all over America. Apple, peach, nectarine, apricot, cherry and pear trees are hard to find this spring for a couple of reasons. First, two of the three bare root companies have closed for good! These three companies sold trees to all 50 states and Canada. You can see what a dent it has made in nursery stock. Second, the pandemic. How can this affect the nursery business, you ask. Well, everyone has been home looking for something to do and many have taken up working in their yards, planting gardens and orchards. So, yes, supply and demand has played a large part in this problem.

Now is the time to dormant spray your fruit trees and roses. This year I have plenty. It should be done three times during the winter. I usually use Thanksgiving, Christmas and Superbowl as a gauge to spray. You can spray as late as April if leaves have not grown on your trees yet. Spraying once is better than not spraying at all.

Also put pre emergent herbicide down now to prevent weeds from growing. We will explain how to use it.

We just got a new load of house plants in, come and see!

We are located at 503 S. Curry St., Tehachapi. We are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.