Anyone in Jefferson Country Washington, zone 9a growing fruit trees?


#1

I will be moving to Port Ludlow, Port Hadlock, or Port Townsend in a few months and I am wondering what kind of fruit trees I will be able to grow there.

Based on average temperatures its my understanding that the area will receive enough chill hours below 45 F to allow cherries, apricots, peaches etc to set. But is there enough sun for those fruits to actually ripen?

I also read that cherimoya, jaboticaba, passion fruit and others due well in zone 9a… but again is there enough sun so get those to fully ripen?

What fruits have anyone in the area had success with and recommend starting off with?


#2

You may find this useful: https://weatherspark.com/y/963/Average-Weather-in-Port-Hadlock-Irondale-Washington-United-States-Year-Round In particular the “Growing Season” section.

Using figs as an example it looks like even the early ripening varieties require 2000-2500 growing degree days to ripen. It looks like your area will only get about 1700 per year. So you might need to get a greenhouse if you want to be able to grow something like figs.

The best thing to do would be to look up fruit orchards nearby and see what they are growing there, maybe give them a call and ask for recommendations.


#3

Hi Tanya
Welcome to the PNW. While I am closer to Seattle, you will find a similar climate with only a few degrees difference. I was surprised to see that it is 9a and not 8b like us. There is a fruit club there I would refer you to: http://wcfs.org/membership/north-olympic-fruit-club/


#4

Semi-tropicals don’t grow at the average winter temperature. They are killed by the minimum temperature and length of freezes. On average you can grow a mango or a grapefruit tree in the ground in Port Townsend. Good luck with that. First freeze and they will be dead. Have you considered you will get 8 or so months of 40F overcast rainy weather on the Olympic peninsula with frequent freezes lasting many days? Semi-tropicals can’t survive that. And the “warm” weather of 80F or less for the summer? Can’t fool me about the weather in Western Washington. I went to school at U of Washington in Seattle. Zone 8b or 9a in Washington is a far cry from the Gulf Coast 8b or 9a where you can actually grow semi-tropicals in the ground. I live near Houston and have 12+ orange trees in the back yard, we are 8b/9a here. Minimum temp this winter was 30F. Jaboticaba doesn’t survive in the ground here. Very rarely do we get less than 20F but then only for a few hours. Happens maybe every 10 years or so. Can’t grow a mango tree here either. They can take a frost but not a good hard freeze. Had to turn on the air conditioning yesterday. It will be on until November 1. You will get some 10-15F weather there occasionally.

You can grow all manner of apples and stone fruit there. But get varieties recommended for Western Washington. You are in a temperate rain forest there. Oh, and get a good umbrella.



#5

Yikes, only four months in the history of Seattle above 70F. Summer up there is like October and Nov in Texas.


#6

Tanya, your county is among the highest chill-hours in the entire country, well over 1,000 in most years. The tree fruits you mention are grown commercially east of the Cascade Mountains in WA state. Gardeners west of the mountains have to battle pests and weather for these fruit types. Choose early ripening varieties. If you are moved there by fruiting season, keep an eye out around the neighborhood. Cherries are mostly over by July 4th but the other fruits are around well into summer and early fall.


#7

More like January in Texas near Houston. It is hot at least until Nov 1. Thanksgiving is sometimes hot. Cherimoya, jaboticaba, passion fruit are semi-tropical and won’t grow in Eastern Washington which is colder than Seattle. They grow in Santa Barbara, CA!


#8

Also all three areas are on the the San Juan de Fuca waterway so you will have the moderating effect of the sea yet Climate Change has impacted the weather some on both ends - warmer temps, drier summers and sometimes milder winters except this year. I have adjusted some by picking varieties that prefer both climate ends. The Olympics also provide a rain shadow for some regions. Port Townsend is an enjoyable town. I’ve not visited the other areas. It is a beautiful region.


#9

Texas is a big state. We aren’t hot until Nov. I won’t even call our summer hot, warm yes, a lot warmer than coastal WA…!!


#10

Beautiful when it is not cloudy and raining.


#11

I think we all have it that you hated your time here in Washington mrtexas. Glad you are in Texas.


#12

Taking into consideration that 80% of Jefferson county is mountain range, the county’s average chill hours aren’t really representative of Port Townsend. But a good point to bring up nevertheless. I guess I will plant what tress I have now and let everyone know how they do in a few months.


#13

You can grow fig trees in Jefferson County for breba crop. Varieties that will do very well are Desert King, Lattarula (Italian Honey) and Gillette (aka Croisic).

Early apples, pears should also do very well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Asian plums do very well. I recommend Methley and Beauty.