You wouldn’t believe all the delicious fruit you can grow in your own back yard! Lots of people have citrus trees in their yards in Arizona, and that’s because citrus does very well in our climate, is evergreen and makes a great landscaping tree, but it is far from the only fruit that is easy to grow in our dry, arid climate.
Some of the easiest, lowest maintenance fruit trees to grow in your backyard are:
(Date Palms grow easily and are all over the valley, but pollinating them and caring for and picking the fruit requires renting a “cherry picker.” Renting heavy equipment isn’t what I would consider easy.)
The above list requires very little maintenance once established. Regular deep irrigation, mulching, and pruning to control size are all that are needed. (Grapes need a specific method of pruning depending on type, either cane pruning or spur pruning, but once this is learned it will take you a few minutes every year.) Remeber that you aren’t the only one that will want your fruit. The birds will be after it too. That’s why it’s important to keep the trees to a size where you can throw bird netting easily over the tree. Also, you want to be able to pick the fruit by hand, and if the tree gets 15-20 feet tall, you won’t be able to, so keeping the tree 6-8 feet tall is recommended. The tree will still give you plenty of fruit for your family, and it will be easier to manage. Dave Wilson Nursery has a great YouTube channel, where their video’s teach you how to plant, prune and care for your trees to keep them manageable.
The following fruits require only slightly more maintenance because care needs to be taken in selecting types, as well as researching whether they are self-fruitful or if they need a pollinator. Varieties that need a pollinator will mean that you need more than one variety of tree, planted near each other to cross-pollinate. As a rule in the Phoenix area, select varieties that require less than 300 chill hours if you want fruit every year. If you don’t mind having years where they don’t bear much, you can choose cultivars that are up to 500 hours. The Fruit and Nut Guide document linked on my sidebar will list proven cultivars and their chill requirements. Here is the list of only slightly less easy fruits to grow in Arizona.
Stone Fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, pluots, apriums, plumcots and nectaplums)
Pears (Even though some are low chill, these seem to be fussier than other fruit trees.)
Asian Pears (not fussy like traditional pears)
These fruits are more difficult and need protection from wind, bright sun and frost:
Avocado (just because you find these at Lowes, doesn’t mean they will grow easily or that they will ever fruit.)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully you are encouraged that you can grow more than you would think in your own backyard!