The climate of Lassen County is such that fruit trees do well, including apricot, cherry, apple, pear, peach, nectarine, and plum. However, some years there are late spring frosts which kill early blossoms, especially apricots. When looking for trees to plant, be sure to check the climate zone rating because some varieties are better adapted to this region than others. For instance, there are a lot of different kinds of apple trees, some of which will do well in our zone and some of which cannot be grown well here. Nut trees are not successfully grown here.
Twenty-four climate zones are defined in the Sunset Western Garden Book, and most of Lassen County is in Zone 1A & 2B. Twenty zones are defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and most of Lassen County is in Zone 6B. Fruit trees require a period of cold temperatures during the winter months for successful flower and fruit development. When selecting trees, it is important to choose only those that have a climate zone rating for Lassen County.
The Backyard Orchard has excellent information on tree selection, planting and caring for trees, irrigation, pollination, pruning, fruit thinning, and harvest.
When selecting fruit trees, remember that most of them require cross-pollination in order to create fruit; this means they rely on pollen from another tree to pollinate their own flowers so fruit can grow. While some fruit trees self-pollinate, check to see what variety you're planting to determine if you need to plant more than one.
One of the questions we often get is: "My tree has a disease of some kind. How can I find what's wrong?" The answer can be found in Pest Notes. Pest Notes identify diseases of trees, shrubs, lawns, and flowers and tell how to identify the problem. Pest Notes describe what damage the disease will do and outlines what the solutions are.
Oftentimes people think of California as sunshine and beaches, but with altitudes in Lassen County ranging from 4,000 to 5,300 feet, palm trees and citrus trees do not grow here. Much of Lassen County is considered high desert, but parts of the county are covered in forests with pines, juniper, fir, aspen, cedar, oak, and hemlock trees. Manzanita and sagebrush proliferate throughout the region.
In Lassen County, one must take into account that pruning influences cold hardiness. Dr. Rich Marini, one of the premier pomologists in the country, has written an excellent article, Effect of Pruning on Cold Hardiness of Fruit Trees, explaining what cold hardiness is all about, and why delayed pruning is advised.
Master Gardener Videos has an excellent presentation on trees by Chuck Ingels. He shows how to plant and care for trees and how to properly prune trees.