One of the questions that landscaping companies always get is concerning what plants can do well in certain USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) zones. There are 13 hardiness zones in the USA. These zones are further divided into subsets A and B.

Each zone designates the plant hardiness needed so that a plant can survive the winter. The zones have a hardiness difference of 10 degrees. Thus, zone 9 is 10 degrees colder than zone 8. However, for two subsets in the same zone, the difference is usually 5 degrees. Thus, zone 9A is 5 degrees warmer than zone 9B.

Zone 9a is an all-year growing zone

15 states fall in USDA zone 9 and Louisiana is one of them. This is considered and all-year growing zone. Many fruit trees do well in this kind of climate. But not quite. Some do need to be hand-selected, as you will read later.

Because of the warm climate present in the Zone 9, many fruit trees do quite well. In fact, many of the most popular fruits thrive in this climate. Fruit trees like pears, cherry, apple and peach do well in the soft winter chill that happens in zone 9a. However, because factors may not remain constant, if it turns too chilly, they might not produce fruit. Likewise, many tropical fruits do well in zone 9. However, it is a gamble because a dash of extreme cold could deter fruition.

To survive in the south, the plants need to be hardy. The summers can be brazen hot and the winters can sometimes be extremely chilly. Because of this diversity of conditions, tropical fruits such as papaya and mangoes do not thrive in zone 9a.

Long story short, what are some fruit trees that you can grow in zone 9a? These are avocado, some citrus fruits, figs and others. However, here, we shall look at avocado and fig, two of the fruit trees that most landscaping companies recommend for growing in zone 9a.

Avocado

The most recommended avocado tree to grow in zone 9a is the Mexican species because such trees do well in the cold. The temperature range in zone 9a can go as low as 18° F. As the avocado species from Mexico are more resistant to cold, they are a wise choice. A couple of options are the Mexicola and Mexicola Grande.

However, for the avocado tree to thrive in USDA zone 9a, you have to know some important things. It is paramount that you give the plant the best care from when it is very young, and continue even after maturity.

Choosing a place to plant your avocado

The main thing to consider here is a place where the plant will be exposed to some hours of sunlight every day. Avocados do not do well in waterlogged soil, so you have to choose an elevated position where the soil drains faster.

Because of the size that an avocado tree reaches in maturity, you need to plant them at intervals of between 20 and 30 feet. Keep the same distance between the avocado tree and your structures/buildings.

Watering your rootball

You should dig a hole that is three times wider and deeper than the rootball. Once you have transferred your rootball to the place where you want to grow it, water it every day. You can keep checking whether the water is penetrating the soil well, using your finger. Just make sure that the soil is not waterlogged. Too much water causes the roots to rot. You can add a layer of coarse mulch for some insulation.

Applying fertilizer

Fertilize the soil with recommended avocado food. You may also use citrus food. The good thing is that avocado requires minimal care to thrive and even then, it grows fast, achieving double the size each year.

It will stop growing any taller once it reaches 30 feet. In between, there is no need for pruning. The most important thing is to know what kind of fertilizer to apply. To get the guesswork out of the picture, contact professionals from landscaping companies.

Among some of the most recommended nourishment for your avocado tree are potassium, zinc, phosphorus and nitrogen. Use a 10:30:10 (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, with zinc) mix in the first few years of the avocado tree. Once it starts bearing fruit, apply ¼ pound of fertilizer once every two months.

When the tree is mature, use a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (10:5:20) applying a pound every year.

Pest control

Pests such as borers, lace bugs, thrips and scales attack avocado plants. However, to prevent damage from these pests, plant a tree that is native to your area. Consult landscaping companies to ensure you select a tree that is well suited for your area and will thrive.

Growing figs – what landscaping companies advise

Because the USDA zone 9a has a mediterranean kind of climate, figs do really well. In areas such as southwest Louisiana, landscaping companies in Lake Charles and Sulphur will advise you to try growing fig.

Hundreds of fig tree varieties grow in Louisiana. However, varieties such as Black Mission, Adriatic, Excel and Brown Turkey do very well in the zone 9a climate. They are even hardier than avocado, because they can withstand temperatures as low as 10°F. If winter gets any colder than this, it is recommended that you grow them indoors.

Where to plant your fig tree

Take the guesswork out of the picture by contacting landscaping companies to understand and meet your fig tree’s needs. For starters, you need to know the best soil, so make sure you plant the fig tree in well drained soil. Try sandy soil instead of clay soil. You can plant your tree in late fall, when there is still enough sunshine.

Spacing is important. It is recommended that you make the space between fig tree and buildings at least 20 feet. This is also the recommended spacing between two fig trees.

Transplanting a fig tree

When planting a fig tree from a pot to a hole outdoors, make the hole deeper than the rootball and at least two times wider. Make a small mound of soil inside the hole and then carefully spread the roots over it. Cover it gently with soil, shovel by shovel until it stands straight and firm. The top two inches of cover can be compost.

Care for your fig tree

Water the tree everyday unless there is rain.These trees hate waterlogged soils, so make sure that does not happen. In late winter, you can begin applying nitrogen. Fig trees are quite hardy, so they do not require a lot of fertilizing.

They also do not require pruning. However, if the winter turns extreme, the top part of the fig may die, but the part buried in the soil stays intact. Once that happens, just wait for summer so the plant can sprout up.

Pests and diseases affecting figs

Figs have many enemies. When they ripen, birds, squirrels and other rodents will try to outdo you when harvesting. However, you should worry about the disease-causing pests. This is why you need to consult landscaping companies.

One of the most common pests to watch out for when growing figs is the root knot nematodes. They affect the roots and prevent the proper absorption of nutrients. This eventually leads to the death of the affected plants because you cannot use chemicals on the roots.

Rust and blight also affect fig trees. Rust is not dangerous and you can leave it to go on its own. However, to control blights, just clean out the dead or sick branches, apply mulch and practice clean gardening procedures.

As you can see, there can be quite a lot to do for your fruit trees. That is why you need the assistance of landscaping companies. From planting, care, pest control and so on, it can be quite a handful for you. You must enlist expert help.

If you’re planning on planting fruit trees, call us on 337-313-3002 for information about the best native species. Our certified landscape horticulturist can help you avoid trial and error and get a good harvest.