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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Weekly Express-News Article
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Saturday, November 17, 2007

 “Fruit Without Sprays”

Peaches and apples are most people’s favorite fruits, but they are not easy to grow in San Antonio.  If we are going to grow them so that a majority of the fruit is blemish-free, an ambitious spray program is required.  There are several species of fruit, however, that we can grow without spraying to protect the fruit from diseases and insects.  Look for fruit tree sales at area nurseries or wait and plant fruit trees in early February when the shipments for the spring arrive.


            Plums and peaches are closely related, but plums are less demanding in terms of the need for insecticides and fungicides.  The best plum for our area is the methley.  Plant it in full sun in a raised bed surrounded by used railroad ties and irrigated with drip irrigation and you can expect a large harvest of plums every May without pesticides.  Plums also do not require as much pruning as peaches.  Remove the dead wood and suckers each year and you are in business. 


            Oriental persimmon makes a very attractive lawn tree and it will produce a large harvest of nutritious fruit with minimal care.  The brightly colored fruit is harvested at this time of the year.  Once the fruit becomes mushy soft it is very sweet, but until that time it is astringent.  The exception is the variety Fuyu.  It has a mild flavor even when it is firm.  Persimmon is used in many dessert recipes and can be used fresh.  One gardener harvested his persimmons when they were firm, let them become soft ripe on a picnic table and then froze the fruit. He ate one of the frozen persimmons every morning with his breakfast. 


            Pears can be very easy to grow in the San Antonio area.  They perform acceptably in most native soils and do even better if planted in a raised bed.  A landscape mix filling a frame of four – eight feet used railroad ties works very well.  Pears will survive and even produce fruit without irrigation, but do better if you can water them every two weeks during the summer when they have fruit.  The Kieffer pear produces a huge crop of cooking pears every year.  Orient produces a fewer number of larger pears.  Warren produces good pears to eat fresh. 


            Blackberries like neutral soil better than alkaline soil, but they still do very well in the area.  Obtain roots or container grown plants.  Plant them three feet apart in an open area (not against a fence).  Blackberries spread underground and to control them you want a buffer of open area so you can limit them to a specified area. 


            Blackberries occasionally benefit by an iron treatment and stink bugs sometimes must be controlled with Sevin or Malathion, but the toughest part about growing the productive fruit is that the old wood should be cut out every year after the fruit is harvested in late spring.  New primocanes emerge from the ground to bear next year’s crop.  The most productive varieties kiowa, Brazos, and Rosborough are thorny so it is not an easy job. 


            Citrus especially the satsuma orange does well in this area without regular insecticide sprays.  Many area gardeners grow Changsha tangeries, Meyer lemon, Mexican lime, and even grapefruit, but in terms of fruit quality and cold tolerance, satsuma mandarin oranges win the contest.  The fruit is ripening now and will be at its sweetest in December.  Several of the other tough fruits make attractive additions to area landscapes, but none of them match the dark green evergreen foliage, fragrant blooms, and colorful fruit of the satsuma. 


            Other fruit that produce well with very little spraying are figs and pomegranate.