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I live in San Jose, CA and have a 6 feet wide by 40 feet long strip of land running from SE to NW. At the SE end it is flanked by an established oak tree which would delay the morning sun to the first 15 feet of the strip until 11am during summer (SE strip end is 15 feet away from the tree periphery). The NW end of the strip is near the house which starts to cast its shadow progressively by 2pm during summer. (house is about 15 feet away from end of strip). The degree and timing of the shadows cast varies with the seasons though.

What I'm concerned with is what type of fruit trees would do best in this situation:

  • insufficient morning sun to the trees planted nearest to the SE end
  • lots of heat from late morning till mid afternoon to the same ones and for the trees near the NW end of the strip
  • lots of shade from 4pm onwards.

So far, I have decided to plant a row of semi-dwarf fruit tree of the same type, set 8 feet apart from each other. From the choices below, what fruit tree is best suited?

Choices: nectarines, peaches, plums(European),or apples.

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Of the trees you are thinking about, I think peaches are the best option. Peaches (and nectarines, whose tree is exactly like the peach, the only difference being the fuzz on the fruit) are the easiest to care for of these trees, and will grow in variable light. They also can take heavy pruning, and a mature standard tree can be kept at 6' and still bear profusely.

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