ISO wisdom: Help with hedge row spacing and some last minute variety choices before I take the plunge

I am planning on using backyard orchard culture techniques to hedge row a bunch of fruit trees around my tiny 6000 sq. ft lot in the SF Bay Area. Our goal (my husband is roped into this) is to have many interesting varieties of fruit all year. I want to focus on growing varieties that are really hard to find or fruit that tastes better when you grow it, but also grow some favorites.

Hedge row questions:
Right now I am planning on going every 4’ with a tree about 4’ away from a fence. Is is better to have more small trees or a few large trees and just graft on all the varieties I want?

Variety Questions:
We get a lot of sun but not a lot of heat (I think my heat zone is 2 2017 excluded). We get somewhere between 300-500 chill hours.We can get a light frost ~30-31F, but that is super rare. I am totally prepared to fail a lot and do a lot of grafting, but want to know if the varies I am picking sound like good ones to start with.

Here is my to plant list (I already have a meyer lemon and I have my avocados and cherries figured out. We aren’t big fans of apples):

1 apricot - Blenheim (Late June early July)
1 aprium - Summer Delight or Cot N Candy?
2 nectarines - Arctic star( early to mid June) and Double Delight (July)
1 Santa Rosa weeping plum (Early July)
1 or 2 pluots ? either one multi graft pluot or two pluots: a Favor King (late Aug) and either a Dapple Dandy (early Aug) or Flavor Grenade (Sept)
1 strawberry free white peach (mid July); my favorite peach
1 Seckel pear ? Not sure if this is a good choice for our area
2 pomegranates - Parfianka and Eversweet
2-3 fig trees - A VdB for sure. Overwhelmed… I could spend years lurking on fig forums.
1 mulberry tree - dwarf morus nigra if I can find one
1 banana ? Looking for an interesting variety that can take some chill
1 Bearss Lime
1 New Zealand lemon
1 Moro blood orange
1 Red grapefruit (will any get sweet here)?

I would love some help filling in the question marks or any other feedback
We love apricots. Especially white apricots… was planning on growing Cot N Candy until I read all the bad reviews here, so now I’m leaning towards summer delight
Also, I love red grapefruits… I want to try to grow one even though it may never get sweet. Is there one I stand a better chance with?


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Vdb fig is a great choice, you want to add some of the other types. VdB is a dark, or black type. Add Strawberry Verte, a green skinned red flesh. And Black Madeira KK version, these are super hard to get, but any Madeira type would be fine, and hard to get though. MIB (Madeira Island Black, or CC Cravens Craving (Probably the best option as it never splits) or Preto Figo. CC is outrageously expensive. .
Also maybe a Mt Etna type. My favorite is Red Lebanese Bekaa Valley. You would have 4 figs that taste nothing alike. Like you say hundreds of others are fantastic too…

I would get Dapple Dandy over Flavor Grenade myself.
You have plenty of heat to grow all.

If grafting I would like some room, you need to balance the trees, so a hedge kinda is not the best approach for grafts. What I mean by balance is some grow more than others and you have to stay on top of pruning, You will anyway, but it would be hard if that close together. Best hedge trees are one type, my opinion anyway. BYOC works and works well, I have been doing in for 7 years. I don’t really like apricots, my favorite is pluots, so much better than most plums. But we all have different tastes and I’m sure people here can give you great advice on apricots. Weeping Santa Rosa is an awesome plum, good choice.


Robin, hopefully some people here from the Bay Area will catch this and give you more information. Let me call out a few so they might notice: @bleedingdirt @Lizzy @smatthew @Stan @jerry

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Hi Robin,

Where specifically are you in the Bay Area?

  1. Apricots over produce most of the time. I’d suggest you get Cot n Candy (it is the best Apricot I ever tasted when properly thinned) and graft Blenheim on one of the scaffolds.

  2. Nectarines are mostly available locally on Citation rootstock which does poorly with Peaches/Nectarines. Get one on Lovell if possible or buy any Nectarine on Lovell from the big box store and top work it.

  3. Weeping Santa Rosa plum is an excellent choice. Great to look at too!

  4. Don’t get a multi graft anything. The varieties compete among each other and it’s a pain to keep it in balance.

  5. Parfianka worked great for me. Make sure it gets a sunny spot. It dwarfed on me in a kind of shady spot. But they have thorns so watch where you plant them.

  6. Mulberries (other than some Albas) stain patios and cars. Again watch where you plant them.


Welcome, Robin. Though we’re nominally in the same zone, based on your description of your climate and the list of plants you’ve selected, I suspect that your area is a bit warmer than mine (Point Reyes Station) and less subject to winter chill. I’ve had to give up on apricots here, and have to choose peaches carefully if they’re to ripen properly. (I second the recommendation of Lovell rootstock, though it’s vigorous.) Black mulberry also wasn’t happy here.

I grow mostly apples, which are quite happy, so I don’t have much useful experience to contribute. I do a lot of multi-grafting on apples, and I find it useful and non-problematic, but it may well be different with stone fruit. Your project sounds great, and I look forward to hearing (and seeing a few pictures of) how it turns out.

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Thanks, that is really helpful with the figs. I’ll probably spring for a Black Madeiria cutting at some point after I am more sure I know what I am doing. I don’t think I will have to worry about splitting here if figs are similar to tomatoes… no rain during the growing season.

Maybe I will change it to 5’ or 6’ spacing so I can do more grafting… Also I may be able to zig zag the the one row to give a bit more space.

Thanks bleedingdirt. I am in North San Mateo, but my weather is more inline with Burlingame… Southern San Mateo has a completely different climate (and that is where I think the weather station is).
I think you have better weather for getting sweet fruit in San Jose.

Great to hear you have liked the Cot 'N Candy. I have room for the Cot 'N Candy and a Blenheim, but maybe I should get the Cot N Candy and Summer Delight since they are patented and graft on Blenheim sometime. Or I could put all three in at a closer spacing…
Of all fruit, I would love to have too many apricots… they go really well in pastries, desserts and with pork and chicken.

I found the thread complaining about Citation, but it also seems to work well for some people… I have trouble with most things in my yard being too vigorous (other than zutano avocados), so I wonder if it will be ok for me.
I don’t know how to graft yet. I went to the Golden Gate scion exchange and picked up some persimmon scions to graft on to my mature persimmon tree, but I doubt I’ll have much luck my first year. Maybe it would be better to just get the right rootstock and worry about varieties later. I am pretty sure I will only be able to get the varieties I want on Citation, but I will look for Lovell

Thanks for the warning about the thorns Parfianka… I was going to put it right next to the driveway! I have some cuttings to root in a pot, so it will be a while before I gets a spot in the yard.

Thanks for your help!

You can stick to you plan, it is not impossible, just harder. I have SV and Red Bekaa figs, I can give you cuttings. I have CC and MIB too, but all cuttings this year are gone.
PM me about cuttings. I’ll trade for future scion off some of those cultivars you’re putting in.(peach and nectarine, I don’t have any of those). I know it may be a bit, I’m in no hurry.
Here is my trees from a photo from yesterday. Mine are spaced at 8 feet, and all have multiple grafts. They are 7 years old. Black currants were planted between some. If you blow up the photo you can see the tags marking each cultivar. I plan to replace tags with metal ones at some point. A guy I know makes embossed tags and they are really nice…


Thanks Jerry. Very different climate for sure. The Point Reyes area is beautiful! I always feel like I’ve visiting some magical fantasy land when we go up there.
I will definitely share what happens for better or worse :slight_smile:

So I just went to Wegmans as they should have had all the trees I want and got this haul:

7 stone fruit and a Lapin Cherry. They had everything but the Weeping Santa Rosa… I guess I will have to order it online. Also they only had Flavor King on myro, so I didn’t get it yet as I wanted to make sure that was an ok root stock as the Dapple Dandy I got is on citation. I got both the Summer Delight and the Cot N Candy, but didn’t buy a Blenheim yet (not worried about those selling out).

Unfortunately everything (other than the Lapin cherry) is on Citation. I bought all the varieties I wanted anyway, but I think I will pick up a Lovell donut peach somewhere keep one of the nectarines or peach in a pot to use as budwood to graft on it. The nursery people said they haven’t had anyone complain about citation, but I don’t think any of them are overly knowledgable. I don’t really want to put all my eggs in one rootstock.

Now to decide what goes where…


Those of you who like the Weeping Santa Rosa, how much space do I need to give it to get it as lovely as the pictures I’ve seen? I want to give it a special place to show it off… I don’t want to put it with the hedgerow.

Also @Drew51, when I plant the trees I will need to head them… Will the small branches I remove be viable scions? If so, I could send you some this year. I would love to trade for figs.

Yes, those cuttings are fine as scion! If you cut the Apricots, I’ll take that too I have a weeping Santa Rosa but it’s not weeping much for me. Mine is by itself, no trees are close.I’m going to prune it back and try to get it to weep. It had a few fruit last year, and they were very good. Maybe they used a reverted water sprout to bud the tree? Mine is not weeping.At least not yet.

Black Madeira grows slower than mud… My Black Madeira is three years old and barely 2 feet tall. There are plenty of delicious fig varieties out there - I’d advise trying others.

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I would too, MIB grows fairly well for me I suggest if you want a Madeira type to get this one. Figs don’t grow super fast for me here in the Winter Wonderland (used to be that phrase on car license plates). But MIB is right there with the best of them. And Craven’s Craving is a larger fruit, and never splits, but is outrageously expensive. Mine is 4th leaf now. The only reason I got it is Padsfan who discovered was sending out cuttings for people to test for 5 bucks 4 years ago. Else I would not have it. I have many other very rare figs because I have CC to trade now. I also got lucky as when the user AZFigs first started selling on EBay under the name Justcare24, and nobody knew it was him. I bid on MIB for 10 bucks and won, also for 5 bucks got Galicia Negra from him. Plants, not cuttings. Everybody knows Justcare is AZFigs now a very well respected fig grower. So no such discounts anymore!
I have no more CC cuttings this year, I traded or gave away all I had including to users here. Contact me next year.

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Hi Robin, and welcome!

I’m down in Santa Cruz, but somewhat similar climate-wise. I think you get a little warmer in summer and a little cooler in winter, but not by much…

Seckel pear should do well for you. They seem to take a while to come into production around here though. And they aren’t entirely fireblight resistant. My Seckel tree had a strike this summer that took one big branch but didn’t kill the whole tree, thankfully. If you like Seckel, you may also like Warren, but those trees also take time to bear.

If you end up ordering a peach on Lovell, I recommend Babcock, because it’s very low-chill and very dependable (for a peach)! Then you can graft your faves onto it, but you’ll always get a few Babcocks even if the others are finicky. I think Babcocks are vastly underrated. They are super sweet and perfumy, just not very big. Babcock isn’t Peach Leaf Curl resistant, but I get two sprays a year which prevent PLC. Otherwise it would be a huge problem.

I, too, was not fond of apples, but we moved into a house with an old apple tree (Gravenstein), and I started going to the CRFG apple tastings. I got scions for the tasty and interesting low chill apples, and now my home grown Red Fujis are on par with the fruits I’ve always loved. The thing is, they are so much easier to grow here than anything else, and it’s nice to have SOMETHING dependable among all the prima donna, I’ll-fruit-when-I-feel-like-it, fruit trees!

I’m still struggling to get apricots down here. The nursery here told me (back 7 years ago when I thought they knew everything!) that Katy apricot would work well here, but the closest I’ve come to success is with Blenheim grafts–the Losse Blenheim strain. They set fruit when nothing else does. (Keeping the pests away until they are ripe is another matter.) My Katy apricot tree is in a relatively good spot, but I planted it too deep and probably also strangled the roots with gopher wire. It was early in my fruit education! :thinking: I’m on the verge of digging it up and starting over, maybe with something sturdier like an aprium. I’ve now got a Flavor Delight in a big pot, and if it fruits this year, I’ll also graft some Losse Blenheim to it, and maybe put it in the ground. Fingers crossed.

Hope things go well for you! Keep us posted.


Hi Lizzy… Thanks for the welcome!
Yes, I think your climate down in Santa Cruz is almost identical to mine.

I’m really glad you love the Babcock peach as that is the one I bought! The nursery didn’t have any donut peaches on Lovell, but they had Babcock. I love white perfumy peaches (I’d describe Strawberry Free peaches similarly, but large and juicy). I am excited that it will be a reliable one. I am sure I will have to spray as well. Should I spray this year before they bud or wait until fall?

Sorry you haven’t had luck with the apricots… I just added a Blenheim on Myro to my trees. We’ll see how it and the apriums do. I hope to give it a bit more space so I can graft on other varieties in the future. If they don’t work, it will be more plums and pluots grafted on.

I would love to squeeze some pears, apples, or asian pears in somewhere. I do like them, but I wonder if it would be worth giving precious space to them as I don’t know if they would be any tastier than what I can get at the markets. I should probably use that space for exotic berries or figs. The more I read about the seckel pear, I doubt it would hold a candle to the juicy sweet pears I can get at the markets… Maybe an asian pear would be more worth while.

I will definitely keep you posted!

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Thanks for everyones help!

Now I just have to figure out where to plant what! I have 9 stone fruit trees sitting in dirt out side. I am wanting to put them all in an L shape area where the bottom of the L is 18’ x 12’ and the long part is about 32’x 7’. This area will be clear of existing vegetation on Monday, then it is soil amendment and planting time.

I also have a 5’x24’ strip in the back next to a deck where I think I will put a few citrus, the Eversweet pom and maybe a fig or two.
Them I have a very long area over a city sewer easement where there is currently a giant plum tree (with small sour plums) and pine tree. No idea what to plant there… wanted to plant figs and mulberries but I’m really worried about the roots. Can the roots penetrate those giant city sewer mainlines?

A lot to figure out, but lots of fun too!


As I plan some of my own purchases in the East SF bay, I’m curious to know how this is all working out!

Take care

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@ReaLM hasn’t logged in or posted since 2020. I don’t think they are on the forum anymore. You might want to start your own thread if you’re wanting advice about planting hedges and picking varieties in San Francisco.

Here is ReaLM’s profile.