I had a similar topic a few years ago but I wanted to maybe use this as a resource for all those fruit growers in southern California or other really low chill areas. Obviously we get very few chill hours here, I think we’ve been below 150 hours for at least the past 3 or 4 years in a row and maybe above 200 only once in the past 8 or 9 years. I’ve just taken out a Flavor Grenade and an Emerald Drop pluot because, although they are big, beautiful trees, they simply do not produce a decent amount of fruit (less than 5 per year, sometimes zero) on a consistent basis. I would love to start a list of those who have real experience with fruit production in really low chill areas (less than 200 hours consistently). I know pollination is a factor with some fruit, but I’m not taking that into account here because these trees don’t really even flower enough for that to be a factor.
At this point, I would definitely sacrifice taste for production. I’m not a huge fan of Anna Apples but my tree pumps out 100-150 apples every year. I’d rather have that, than an apple tree of superior eating quality that only produces 5 apples every year. Heck, I’d even take a tree that produces 20 pieces of fruit. There is no in-between with my trees, they either produce a massive amount or very little. Please add onto the list below if you can, thanks!
Here is what I have that I have personally witnessed producing fruit consistently and in more than decent numbers at my house or in my neighborhood:
My friends have grown more than your selections after we used the techniques for olive trees in the tropics.
You should have consulted me before taking out your flavor grenade and other higher chill crops.
The idea is to install a misting setup within the branches of your trees so it hits many of the fruiting or blooming spurs.
Have an electric pump that has enough pressure to operate the misters and that pump is fed by a plastic barrel.
Come during the coldest weeks of the year and then the lows is going to get warmer than 45F, dump some ice into the plastic barrels and turn your misting setup for 8-12 hours each night. One full week should give you an additional 56-84 chilling hours. Even without the ice, just using the evaporative effects of cold water can bring temperatures down below 45F during the evening hours.
It isn’t very complicated to install for a few trees but not practical for large areas, but hey, it’s been done for hectares of olive plantations in the tropics.
Apples: Braeburn is precocious and produces early. Has some problems with diseases and sunburn and fruit rot
Apricots: Blenheim does better than expected, if you summer prune early (bears more at tips, forms next years buds in later summer)
Nectarines: double delight, panamint are very reiliable
Peaches: santa barbara
Plums: Santa Rosa
Goldmine was inconsistent but wonderful when it bore
Moorpark apricot will not grow or bear (as expected, very high chill)
I have to update this. My Moorparks on peach rootstock bought at a big box store all died. I bought 2 from Bay Laurel around 2017, one on Citation and one on Myrobalan. Myrobalan was considered “standard” but paradoxically did not grow as high or as vigorously as citation. I have had light production on Myrobalan, a couple apricots the last couple years on young trees. Citation made about 20 last year. This year I have pretty good fruit set. Myrobalan probably has around 50-100 small fruitlets, many of which will probably drop. Citation has a full crop, some of which are farther along. I suspect I will end up getting a reasonably full crop on Moorpark on citation.
I did not want to falsely convey that Moorpark is a lost cause in Inland Southern California. I was pretty determined to try different things and eventually got it to work reasonably well, though I certainly don’t expect that to last.
Also, I am fairly confident that the Goldmine I bought at a big box store (grown by Pacific Groves) was mislabeled. I have been able to determine that 3 trees over the years I bought from them were mislabeled (including Red Baron peach, which is pretty easy to identify, from the flowers). What I thought was Goldmine seems to be Snow Queen. I only buy from reliable nurseries now. Either way, I abused that tree with excessive pruning and then it got peeling sunscald so whether it is Goldmine or Snow Queen it is worth a better try.
Update on the Moorpark in low chill San Diego:
Although the citation tree was loaded with fruit, it leafed out at the base only and then slowly marched upward, a sign of inadequate chill for the cultivar. The April fruit drop was massive. I am left with perhaps 30 fruit on a younger tree. I am happy to have any fruit at all since this cultivar was not expected to produce here.
Our Tropic Gold apricot only has about 6 fruit on it right now. Last year was about the same. Was hoping it would be different this year. But it is still a relatively young tree, 3 years in the ground.