The Tidewater region of Virginia is considered to be the eastern part of the state, bounded by Interstate 95 to the west and the Chesapeake Bay on the east. On the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map, this area is defined as Zone 7, which has mild winters and warm summers. Winter temperatures can reach 0 degrees F, but the area has coastal influences, which lessen the severity and length of freezes.
Fruit trees that require a moderate amount of chill hours (temperatures below 45 degrees) thrive in this region.
Anjou pears are the yellow-green, short-necked pears commonly available in grocery stores. These pears are crisp and sweet and are good for eating fresh or baking. Introduced to the U.S. in 1842, Anjou pear trees thrive in the Tidewater region, as they need only 700 hours of chill time a year to bear good fruit. The trees should be planted in pairs, as cross-pollination is required. Anjou pear trees are fast-growing, should be planted in full sun and require regular water.
McIntosh apples are heirloom fruits that were first discovered in Ontario, Canada in 1798. These apples are among the most flavorful, and are popular for eating and baking. The fruit is squat and round with smooth, red skin and tart, white flesh. Hardy to Zone 4, McIntosh apples need 900 chill hours and can thrive in the Tidewater climate. Apples ripen in late fall in this area, and this tree does require a cross-pollinator. McIntosh trees should be planted in full sun and require regular water during growing season. These trees may be susceptible to scab.
Sour cherries, which require fewer chill hours than sweet cherries, are a good crop along the Atlantic Coast, including the Tidewater region. These cherries do require 800 chill hours in order to produce good fruit. Sour cherry trees produce a profusion of delicate, fragrant blossoms in spring before giving way to fruit, which is usually bright red with a tart flavor. Sour cherry trees do not need a pollinator, but you may get a larger harvest with multiple trees. These trees should be planted in full sun and require regular watering, including occasional soakings, during the growing season.
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