Our climate makes it possible to grow a wide variety of fruits, including all kinds of citrus, most drupes such as peaches, plums, pluots and apriliums, apples, pears, quince, and the occasional cherry. Similarly, there are many nut varieties that are suitable for home garden cultivation.
Almonds are almost synonymous with California, as all commercially grown almonds are grown here. They are one of the earliest trees to flower in the spring (usually by Valentine’s Day) and are as showy as peach trees in this regard. They do not do well in moist, waterlogged soils, but do enjoy cool, moist winters. For these reasons, it performs best in the Central Valley and inland areas of the southern part of the state.
Almonds require cross-pollination, so you’ll need to grow more than one if you want to harvest. They don’t cross-pollinate spontaneously, so do some research to make sure you have at least two trees that work.
Almonds look like little peaches on the tree. When the fuzzy outer skin cracks, it’s time to harvest.
Pistachios are also suitable for growing in California. It requires long, dry, hot summers and mild winters to produce. To get a decent yield, at least one male and one female tree should be planted close to each other. Another bonus: it offers beautiful fall colors.
If you have enough space, a walnut tree might be a good (or at least adventurous) choice. They require very good drainage and deep soil. Their new shoots and flowers can be damaged by late frosts, and spring and early summer rains can contribute to walnut blight. , requires at least two trees for pollination. These trees can reach 80 feet, so they are suitable only for the largest properties.
Pecans aren’t very good for California and are only consistently successful in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
Macadamia nuts are grown in California, but only in San Diego County (Fallbrook). They are very picky, requiring a lot of irrigation, deep fertile soils, and a climate with a very limited temperature range. Explains. Most macadamias are grown in Hawaii, where the land is expensive but the climate is perfect.
Looking for more gardening tips? Here’s how to contact the Master Gardener Program in your area:
Los Angeles County
email@example.com; 626-586-1988; http://celosangeles.ucanr.edu/UC_Master_Gardener_Program/
firstname.lastname@example.org; 949-809-9760; http://mgorange.ucanr.edu/
email@example.com; ext. 951-683-6491 231; https://ucanr.edu/sites/RiversideMG/
San Bernardino County
firstname.lastname@example.org; 909-387-2182; http://mgsb.ucanr.edu/