Orchard recommendation

I am located in Zone 8A. I am trying to decide what type of fruit to plant in s new orchard to sell in a few years when I retire. I have fairly Sandy soil. They raise a lot of peaches in the area and I was thinking of trying something different that not everybody would have. Right now I have a wide variety of trees to see what does best. Plums produce great but they tend to bloom too soon and the crop is lost to a late frost. I have about a 10 acre patch I want to plant eventually. Right now we grow watermelons there and they produce really well. I have thought about maybe growing a mixed orchard and having it as a pick your own. Any recommendations?

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Am I right in thinking you are near College Station, TX? If so why not contact the people at A&M. The state wide extension specialist would be where I’d look first. I used to have some contact with Larry Stein. He may be in Uvalde now but would be worth contacting.

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I East of College Station by about 50 miles. Though A&M would be a good place to check with.

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How about Jujubes? And try a few apples…on dwarfing roots if you want quicker results.

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BLUEBERRIES (Southern Highbush) and hybrid cherries (U of S cherries, nanking, etc…)

I’ve never tried jujubes. Blueberries will grow fairly well there. There is too much rain and heat in the summer to grow cherries here. I will have to experiment and see what does best. I have several years before I retire still. I mainly want to get everything planted and producing before I retire though

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Jujubes are easy care trees, no spray, no disease. However, it is a niche market. Not sure what a marketing potential will be like in your area.

. @Bhawkins grows jujubes in TX (I think). @k8tpayaso, also grows jujubes.

Here in Dallas I have clay soil; but Jujubees & Persimmons are easy & bulletproof. Some varieties of figs & pears do well, some don’t. Apples, Plums & peaches are a lot of work.

A couple nice pick your own orchards you could visit would be Lightsey Farms in Mexia, & Matt Family Orchard in Tomball. The Oriental community here can never get enough jujubee’s or persimmons.

Katy might be closer to you than me, her experiences might be more appropriate.

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Bob,

The Mislabeled Winter Delight turned out to be Autumn Beauty Jujube for you. How many years of mediocre fruits before they tasted real good?
The Scion I got from your tree fruited last year with fairly large elongated fruits with so so flavor and sweetness. I hope the fruits will taste better with age.

Tony

On the tree I sent you wood from; the first year to fruit was very bland, the second year great. On my other Autumn beauty, the fruit tasted great the first year it bore fruit.

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My ranch is not far from Mexia and I live in Katy right now. I might try a couple Jujube trees and see how they do. I have a big patch of wild persimmons that I have to keep mowing down to keep them in check. So I know persimmons will grow good here. The only trees I have any problems with so far are apples. I seem to have problems getting them started. Though I finally have some that look like they will do great. I could always just keep growing watermelons there as well instead of fruit trees. I get so many every year I have trouble getting rid of all of them.

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The Mexia pick your own is well know to the orientals here, lots of them make the 120 mile drive; but while persimmons are available, jujubes aren’t. My wife is Korean, Koreans love fresh watermelon. I think a jujube/persimmon/watermelon pyo would be a big hit, and you wouldn’t have much competition.

Jujubes and persimmons are easy here. They need water. Also once a year mulch, nitrogen, and a little pruning help. Jujubes will start to bear 2nd leaf, persimmons 3-4th leaf

Of course if you’re looking to keep really busy in retirement, there are apples, peaches, apricots, plums. The peach orchards here spray weekly during spring up to harvest.

As Fruitnut suggested, Texas A&M is a great resource.

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I remember visiting a Mexia strawberry farm once a long time ago. That sounds like a lot of work. You pick strawberry plantings are popular in other areas. That’s the worst of the labor.

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