Ask the Experts

What are the best kinds of fruit trees for the Inland Empire area? I’m not sure about the quality of my soil, so I’m also wondering what do you recommend as far as preparation?

Barbie, San Bernadino

Most any variety of citrus or fruit trees do well here. Exceptions would be apples, pears, and cherries. Our climate is generally too hot for these fruits, although we occasionally see an apple tree that does produce some fruit.

We normally recommend amending the soil when planting trees. The exact mixture and volume to use is dependent on your exact location, where the tree will be placed in your yard, and the amount of water it will receive.

Fruit trees can be an excellent addition to your yard, and come with a variety of beautiful and wonderfully scented blossoms. Keep in mind that they have very different growth habits. Some are round and work well for a wide open space. Others grow with a taller taper. You can also get a semi-dwarf tree for smaller areas. They all need to be watered well so they would need to be close to a water source.

If it were me, I’d pick a fruit I most enjoy such as apricot or grapefruit. Then I’d pick a variety with a growth pattern that best fit the planting site. Feel free to call our office and we can give you tips to narrow down your search.

My neighbor has huge trees which hang over the property line–and my roof!! Can you tell me if it’s against the law for me to have the portions of those trees that overhang my house cut back?

Rebecca L., Riverside

We get this question quite often, and the answer is that it is legal to trim back anything overhanging your property up to the property line, but no farther. The only reason we would need to get permission from the neighbor is when we would need to have access to his/her yard in order to trim the trees, but often times this is not necessary.

When is the best time to prune, clean and trim deciduous trees?

Chad, Ontario

Most of the pruning that we do is considered minor pruning and removal of dead wood. It consists of thinning up to 20% of the interior crown, removing crossing branches and all dead wood. This type of pruning can be done any time of the year.

Major pruning and/or crown reduction should be done early February to mid April. This is because the trees are still dormant and will have some time to heal before the bugs wake up and get crazy!

I am looking for a fast growing shade tree for my back yard, any recommendations?

—Sharron, Rancho Cucamonga

I highly recommend the Arizona Ash or Modesto Ash. These varieties will grow quite quickly, do not require a lot of watering, and do well in a variety of soils. As a bonus, the colors of the leaves in the Fall are quite beautiful.

Only part of my tree looks dead, the rest of the tree has new growth. Will I lose the whole tree. It is about 15 feet tall.

—Edward L., Riverside

We need to look at the tree to determine what can be done. Please call us at (951) 319-2666.

How often should I fertilize my fruit trees?

—Yolanda G., Moreno Valley

Twice a year, Spring and in the mid-summer.

How often should I water shade trees we planted 5 years ago?

—Bob E., Temecula

Every 3 weeks in the winter, every 2 weeks in the spring and every week in hottest part of the summer.