Easy Fruit Trees to Add to Your Garden
Every hardcore gardener looks forward to reaping the fruits of the harvest. Vegetable gardens are great for your dinner, but fruit trees provide you with desert. When you add fruit trees to your garden, you bring beauty and functionality to your property. Of course, not every tree is appropriate for every property. With a little research, a thriving collection of fruit-producing trees is easy to establish. Here are our picks for the best fruit trees for first-timers.
Easy Trees for Beginners
It’s wise to start with low-maintenance fruit trees. Apple, peach, and redhaven peach trees are quick to take root. They’re disease and drought-resistant, so they’re easy to grow organically without harsh chemicals. And most can handle the high and low temperatures in your area. Once established, a low-maintenance fruit tree should thrive with little to no effort on your part.
Of course, the climate in your area plays a role in the variety of trees you choose. Plums, peaches, and cherries all do well in the northern U.S. Native American persimmon trees thrive in the Southeast. Most citrus trees are easy to grow, but only in USDA zones 9 to 11. That’s why most are grown in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. And thanks to selection and breeding, each of these fruit trees comes in a variety that will fit your climate like a glove.
Growing Trees Versus Gardening
Growing a fruit tree is similar to growing a plant in the garden. But there are a few important differences. While most garden vegetables can be grown from seed, fruit trees are generally purchased as saplings. You can also plant and harvest vegetables in a single season, but trees can take years before they produce fruit. It’s best to plant fruit trees as early in the spring as possible, and in full sunlight. And many fruit trees need to be planted in pairs to help with pollination.
Fruit Trees for Smaller Spaces
Not everybody has a yard large enough for an orchard. Dwarf trees and small varieties of standard fruit trees can be planted in pots and grown anywhere with plenty of light. Raspberry bushes are easy to grow in containers. Fruiting bushes including gooseberry and blueberry are also good fits for smaller properties or balcony gardens.
Fun Fact: People skilled in the art of bonsai can create miniature fruit trees. Unlike dwarf trees that are small because of breeding, bonsai manipulates the roots of a standard tree to make it tiny. Though not what you’d call “low maintenance,” for the right homeowner, a bonsai fruit tree might be a perfect match!
How Long Before They Fruit?
Raising fruit trees is a marathon, not a sprint. Some, like mulberry trees, might take a full decade to produce. Others, including some citrus trees, will take only a year or two to produce edible fruit. Peaches, plums, and cherries require a wait of two to five years. Fancy an apple pie with homegrown filling? Don’t make that pie crust until at least four years after planting the tree. Dwarf varieties will bear fruit a little sooner. If your trees still aren’t producing after five years, you may have issues with pests or the soil.
Growing native trees such as pawpaws or American persimmon has several advantages. They need less maintenance and are great for local wildlife. Native trees and plants are also more resistant to disease and insect damage. Though indigenous fruit trees might be a little harder to come by, the heritage and hardiness they offer are worth the extra effort!
By Jamie Coombs
Jamie Coombs is a former landscape company owner whose areas of expertise include traditional and nontraditional irrigation systems, sustainable lawns and native trees and plants.