11 Apr What information can you give me on fruit and nut trees suited to central Arkansas?
Answer: A really good place to start would be the ATTRA publication Fruit Trees, Bushes, and Vines for Natural Growing in the Ozarks. Though the title refers to growing in the Ozarks, most of the publication’s information is also true for central Arkansas. Apples, for instance, are even a little more difficult to grow organically in central Arkansas than they are in the Ozarks. Same goes for pears, peaches, plums, and seedless table grapes. The greater heat and humidity of central Arkansas is the reason. In fact, I’d say that all these are near impossible to grow organically commercially for profit. You might be able to get enough of these fruits for home use, but even that could be difficult because of devastating diseases that are difficult to control organically. If you read through the sections in Fruit Trees, Bushes, and Vines for Natural Growing in the Ozarks on these fruits, you’ll understand how to best deal organically with their respective problems.On the other hand, figs, pomegranates, muscadines, Asian persimmons, and pecans are easier to grow in central Arkansas than in the Ozarks, and all of those except the pecans, are generally quite easy to grow organically. Species that are equally easy to grow organically in the Ozarks and central Arkansas include elderberries, tart cherries, blueberries (but rabbiteye types would be better down there), some of the Munson-type grapes, strawberries, American persimmons, mulberries, and pawpaws. Pecans have two serious problems for organic growers. First, pecan scab can largely be avoided by only planting scab-resistant varieties like Elliot, Curtis, Gloria Grande, and Barton. The second problem is the pecan weevil, an insect pest that feeds within the shell and is pretty difficult to control organically. For more information on organic fruit production, see the Horticultural Crops section of the ATTRA website.