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Fruits and Nuts to Grow in a Mississippi Edible Landscape

gardening in the backyard garden
Edible gardens and permaculture are hot topics among gardeners and property owners. People want to grow sustainable plants that offer food for humans and wildlife rather than planting merely ornamental landscapes. 
Around the world, gardeners and farmers are integrating forests and orchards with understory food plants and perennials. Growers in Mississippi are lucky in this regard. Mississippi's coastal climate is perfect for introducing a wide variety of food plants to home landscapes, including the plants listed here.
Native Fruits
Plants native to the Mississippi coastal area are the easiest plants to grow. Trees that originate in the region are already adapted to the soil, sunlight, and climate of your property. If you do need to add amendments to your growing areas, the materials are easy to source locally.
Native fruit trees that do well in the Ocean Springs area include the mayhaw and black cherry trees. Both trees produce edible fruit and lovely flowers.
The mayhaw (Crataegus opaca) is a great tree choice for a smaller yard, since it only reaches 35 feet at maturity. The mayhaw's showy white flowers are a delight in February, while the red April fruits make excellent jelly.
Black cherry (Prunus serotina) is a Mississippi native that soars up to 80 feet tall at maturity. The growth habit of black cherry is more upright than that of other fruits. Early spring flowers and late summer fruits are the main benefits of this tree. The tart fruits are best in pies, jams, and sauces.
Research your area to learn more about edible native cultivars. Plant a selection of berries, crabapples, and other native fruits when you want a diverse native fruit garden.
Nut Trees
Nuts are delicious and useful for snacks, baking, and holiday dishes. Several types of nuts do well in Southern Mississippi.
Plant the following nut trees in the Ocean Springs area (mature height listed):
Black walnut (Juglan nigra): 150 feet
English walnut (Juglan regia): 60 feet
Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima): 60 feet
Pecans are one of the easiest trees to grow in the coastal regions of Mississippi. Pecan trees love the hot, humid summer climate of the Gulf-hugging areas.
Pecan trees grow to 70 feet in height and are available in several cultivars. Choose papershell tree cultivars when you want the nuts for people food, since the shells of their nuts are easier to crack.
Citrus Trees
The warm coastal winters in the Ocean Springs region are a boon to gardeners who want to grow citrus fruits. Sastuma oranges are a popular choice for home gardeners, since the trees have fragrant blooms and juicy fruits. The satsuma orange cultivars are related to the mandarin orange and offer easy peeling and deep orange rinds.
When it comes to growing lemons, Meyer lemon trees offer big fruit with sweeter taste than your average lemon. Consider dwarf kumquat, grapefruit, and lime trees to round out your citrus collection.
If you worry about random cold-weather events, plant citrus trees in containers. The pots will need to be moved into a sheltered location if a rare freeze is expected. Relocating plants can be accomplished with a dolly or rolling pot platform.
Other Food Plants
In some coastal Mississippi locations, you can grow figs and olives for treats and meals. Olive trees don't mind salt spray and sandy soils, so they adapt well to Mississippi landscapes. Peaches and other tree fruits can be grown in the region, but most Southern apple and pear varieties are more suited to the Northern parts of Mississippi.
If you're developing a food forest, plant perennial berries, Jerusalem artichokes, and other edible plants under your trees. Grow a bay laurel tree for savory dishes and blueberry shrubs for morning muffins.
When you need help planting, clearing land, or maintaining your fruit trees in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, contact McClain's Tree Experts. We provide tree care services seven days a week for coastal Mississippi property owners.