Q. My friend and I would like to plant a few fruit trees on some property at Acoma Siding in Nevada. It is near Barclay, Nevada, east of Caliente about 20-30 miles. I was wondering if you had some advice on types and varieties of fruit trees that may do well there. I believe it is in the 5000' elevation.
A. This advice would also apply to property in southern Nevada on the way up Mt Charleston and other higher elevations.
Your best bet will be to plant on the side of a hill, if you can do it, to avoid late spring freezes. The major limitation for you is minimum temperatures and late spring frosts. To avoid these as much as possible planting on the sides of hills and avoiding low spots where cold air can accumulate would be safest.
Without knowing your exact low winter temperatures it would be safe to assume you are in apple, pear, sour cherry and plum country. Perhaps you might also try berries such as raspberry and other cane fruit. The best website for general growing information on fruit selection for colder spots of the West will be Dave Wilson Nursery and can be found at http://www.davewilson.com
Stay with fruit with a higher chilling requirement, probably around 800 to 900 hours, and check their requirements for pollination. Some apples might be Rome, Delicious, Northern Spy, Harrelson among others.
European pears might include Bartlett, Comice and D’Anjou. But higher chilling hours may be one indicator that they will probably perform better for you. On apples, have them on a dwarfing rootstock such as M111.
Because you are in a very arid climate with desert soils, mulch the soil and add plenty of soil amendments at the time of planting. That should get you going.