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Much of the Central Coast enjoys fairly mild winter weather. On one hand, this makes it an enjoyable place to garden all year. On the other, it also means there are some varieties of fruit trees that won’t produce here and often they are the varieties we are familiar with. This article will help you understand the reasons why we must be selective in what we grow and help you select the best fruit trees for our warm winter climate.

Chill Hours

Chill hours are the guide that helps use select which trees will produce well here. A simple calculation for chill hours counts the hours of weather between 32 degrees and 45 degrees (F). Stations around the county list the chill hours as follows:

  • SLO 390 hours
  • Nipomo 428 hours
  • SLO West 621 hours
  • Atascadero 1204 hours

So for areas like Nipomo and coastal areas (which will have even fewer chill hours) you will want to select from the following trees that will need 400 chill hours or less (self-fruitful and those that need a pollenizer are noted. You can read about what that means here.)

Best Low Chill Fruit Trees

All are self-fruitful

  • Dorsett Golden <100 hours
  • Fuji 200-400
  • Pink Lady 200-400 (Kat’s Garden favorite, it’s a crisp, not overly sweet apple. Great for eating fresh or in pies)

All are self-fruitful

  • Blenheim <400
  • Gold Kist 300
  • Katy 200-300

Note the need of pollenizer

  • Royal Lee 200-300 (You also need to have Minnie Royal as a pollenizer)
  • Minnie Royal 200-300 (You also need to have a Royal Lee as a pollenizer)

All are self-fruitful

  • Arctic Star <300
  • Double Delight <400 (Kat’s Garden favorite. The dark pink blooms and gorgeous fruit make it as pretty to look at as the fruit is to eat)

All are self-fruitful

  • Eva’s Pride 100-200 (Eva’s Pride, Mid Pride & August Pride will ripen in succession giving you 3 months of peaches)
  • Mid Pride <250
  • August Pride 300
  • Donut/Saturn <300

  • Burgundy 150-300
  • Flavor Grenade 200-300 (needs Burgundy as a pollenizer)