Fruit Trees for the Colorado Springs area?

My brother-in-law lives just north of Colorado Springs CO at 6800’ elevation in Larkspur. He’d like a cultivar of fruit (unspecified) that “works” in his environment. Any ideas?

Larkspur, Colorado is in USDA Hardiness Zone 5b.

Here’s the basic climate from city-data:

avg temp


Cedaredge Colorado is where my grandparents lived and it was a good fruit growing area from what I can remember but on the other side of the continental divide. A similar elevation and had apples, peaches, pears and sweet cherries, I believe just down the road from cedaredge is a town called orchard city.

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I’ve heard Colorado is challenging when it comes to growing fruit. @milehighgirl tried many varieties and struggled with them. One problem is it’s very dry. I would grow something like autumn olive that were drought tolerant and tough. One persons noxious weed is another persons garden plant.


Climate is dry, and extremely late freeze prone.


I think the orchards at cedaredge irrigate with melt water off of grand mesa and can control the amount of water the trees get. Maybe making better fruit than I can grow here where I am at the mercy of the rain some years.


I recently saw Matt post about Adirondack Gold Apricot



Maybe @Steve333 could comment, I think he’s in that general area.


Based on my experience, I’d start with ‘Summercrisp’ pear as most reliable. Pretty, at least.

Heading says “trees” but Glenora grape has also been reliable, high quality,. Very attractive, but light bearing.

The NMSU ag station at Alcalde in Northern New Mexico is a good resource. They push jujubes.

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Sorry for the delay, I have been visiting family in FL and do not have as much internet access as usual.

There are quite a few different climates in CO, with their own situation. The western slope fruit growing area tends to be quite a bit different than the eastern plains/foothills or the higher mtn areas. I suspect Larkspur is fully in the eastern plains/foothills area (so if I got that wrong some of this may not apply), but based on that assumption,I would suggest the following:

  1. Fire blight can be a serious threat there, you likely should choose resistant varieties and rootstocks, and keep up on protective sprays. I know of several folks who lost older apple varieties to FB and had to replant more resistant varieties. I personally have had good luck with the PRI varieties (although I am at a higher elevation where there is less FB pressure).

  2. Access to irrigation for the trees, at startup as well as the future is important. It’s dry out here (most of the time).

  3. Depending on the site, protection from our strong winter winds can make quite a difference.

  4. Usual soil building/amending things apply. Plains often have quite a bit of clay.

  5. Painting the trunks with white paint seems to improve winter survival significantly. The strong sun and winter temp swings are hard on young trees (and older ones).

Those are the main things that come to mind. Specific varieties is a personal choice depending upon what you like in fruit. If you have more q’s let me know.

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I’d say apples are likely the best adapted fruit for the Larkspur area. Apples are very hardy and bloom later than most other fruits. They are also about the only commercially viable fruit on the eastern slope of the Rockies. There are commercial apple orchards in northern NM at high elevations. They still have spring frost issues but not as bad as most stone fruits.

Cedaredge is a much better fruit area because the western slope is protected to a large degree in winter by the Rocky mountains. Temperatures in winter and spring are much more variable east of the Rockies than west.


@Steve333, @fruitnut – Thanks for the great replies. The Lowe’s in his area is carrying HoneyCrisp and Fuji apple trees. What do you think? Or is there a mail order supplier with a better cultivar or two?

I think those would be as good as he’s going to do this time of yr. Fuji should probably ripen in that area. There may be better choices but I don’t know any that I’m sure about.

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Ok Fuji it is!

Fuji would be cutting it close. It has trouble in my area a couple hours south on I 25 ( slightly higher altitude).

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Fuji is iffy in my area, he likely has a bit longer season than I do, but it may still be problematic. There are early Fuji cultivars which might be better. But depending upon the details of his location that might not be necessary.

To be safe, selecting varieties which ripen and bloom over a period of time give some insurance for the variability of the front range weather.

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Sorry for the late reply, but maybe it will still be helpful. I’m up just north of Denver in a similar climate, although just a bit less harsh. In general you can expect:

  • Berries every year
  • Sour cherries almost every year
  • Apples and Pears every other year
  • Peaches every 5 years
  • Other stone fruit falls between peaches and Apricots
  • Apricots every 7 years

Colette pear is one exception to the rule. It can produce up to three flushes of blooms and set fruit without being pollinated. So even when the first blooms get zapped it still fruits, though the pears are smaller those years. It is also fireblight resistant. Perfect for the front range.

For an easy to find apple, Honey Crisp does fine for me.