Fruit trees in Santa Fe

A friend of mine wants to buy a gift of a fruit tree as a memorial for someone in Santa Fe who lost their spouse. Are their any members here with knowledge of what can be grown in that relatively harsh climate?

Apples are probably the best adapted fruit in that area. I’d suggest early to mid season because at 7000 ft the season is short. I don’t know what to suggest but Honeycrisp might do well there. It seems to do best in cooler areas with lots of chilling.

Apricots in a good location do better than expected. The tree could last 30-40 yrs but not as long as an apple.

Apples and pears have the highest quote on quote living time rating of commercial trees. Mulberry seem to live for quite some time. Of course pears on Callery rootstock just tend to outlive anything. Some people don’t like Callery rootstock for the reason it just lives while others like it for it just living.

Here’s the climate of Santa Fe compared with Poughkeepsie NY. Both are similar-ish in seasonal temperature but Santa Fe is significantly more arid.

Also according to a relief map, Santa Fe elevation may be 6200-7200ft. Every 1000ft is 5F colder on an clear, cloudless day–which there are many of there.

I’m having luck with Harvest Queen pear. Although it’s too soon to say it’s not a fluke.

Two straight years with a very heavy fruit set. For us, that’s very rare. Not a real strong grower, so size up on the rootstock.

Very attractive in bloom with surprisingly long lasting blooms. Smallish, melting, Bartlett type pear. Very sweet but not real complex. No one will complain.

Beware of deer—-they love it.

Supposedly disease resistant, but that’s not a big problem for us anyway.

Fertilized by ‘Summercrisp’. Which might as well be a crabapple for it’s reliability and appearance.

Apples are generally adapted and there are enough of them around that you don’t need to plan on getting a pollinator.

Apricots are the most popular fruit tree. Pretty hard to beat their appearance or their general adaptation. They even naturalize around here.

The only hard part is they hardly ever bear a crop. The conventional wisdom was that you got a big crop every 3-4 years. I can’t remember when we last got a real crop.

So the problem is frequent, late hard frosts?

I noticed apricot trees along the Rio Grande between Taos and Santa Fe over 50 years ago but I wasn’t there long enough to evaluate their productivity. However, they were the result of naturalization and may have been genetically adapted- beginning with many seeds brought by the Spanish.

How long is the season there- long enough to ripen late apples like Goldrush or Pink Lady?

Yes, the spring frosts take them out. It’s gotten to the point where apricot trees are almost entirely ornamental. You could do a lot worse for an ornamental tree, however.

I did not have enough season to properly ripen “Goldrush” I ran out of heat more than that they got frosted. The experimental station at a nearby town recommends “Gala” and “GingerGold”

The ag station is pushing jujubes right now as well-adapted. Too soon for me to report but I don’t doubt it.

Some limited success with European plums. We like “Geneva Mirabelle” although it’s limited producer. “Castleton” planted after your endorsement looks promising. The Stark’s sport of “Stanley” didn’t have a long enough season to ripen. Like apples, stay away from the late ripeners.

A very hard (well below zero) freeze eventually takes Japanese plums.