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  • Writer's pictureJeff Robbins

Low Water and Edible

These edible plants and fruits require little water to thrive in our region! Although many annual vegetable crops have water requirements comparable to turf, there are a number of edible trees, shrubs, and ground covers that require much less water than grass and produce something you can eat. This month we want to highlight some of our favorite fruiting trees that have low-moderate water needs.

1. Pomegranate – This vibrantly colored superfood has been cultivated by numerous cultures for millennia and originates from the hot and arid climate of the middle-east. Given its origins, it is no wonder that these trees can be very drought tolerant once established. Pomegranates grow quickly which make them a great option for creating an informal hedge or screen. The naturally bushy trees may also be pruned to a single trunk to form an attractive specimen tree. On the coast we recommend early season types like Sweet, Eversweet, and Granada. Further inland nearly any variety will perform well.

2. Fig – Fresh figs do not ship well which means they are difficult to find in the store, fortunately growing your own couldn’t be easier! These stately trees have beautiful summer foliage and an attractive branching structure during winter dormancy. Fig trees can become quite large if left unpruned, however, with proper pruning, the trees can be kept in the 10-12’ range. Along the coast we have had great success with Brown Turkey and White Genoa varieties, but there are many others that may perform well too.

3. Mulberry – Like with figs, fresh mulberries do not pack well and because of that many people have not become acquainted with this wonderful and easy-to-grow fruit. Mulberries can vary in color from white to dark purple and are similar to blackberries in taste. Standard mulberry trees can get rather large and are known for having invasive roots. Fortunately there are also some dwarf and weeping forms which are much smaller trees and easier to fit in a residential setting. Mulberries ripen over a relatively long period of time providing a steady supply of fruit for weeks on end.

Going edible doesn’t need to increase your water use and these are just a few of the fruiting trees that can thrive with little irrigation. Stay tuned for our August newsletter which will highlight some of our favorite edible and low-water shrubs.


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