Five Things to Consider When Choosing Fruit Trees

picture of plumsIt’s generally pretty easy to decide what sort of fruit to grow. I suspect most of us simply pick the fruit we most like to eat. I know that is true for me!┬áBut there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right variety.

Well I’m here to help. At least a little. Here are five things to consider when deciding which fruit trees to plant in your urban/suburban oasis.

  1. How much space do you have? Some fruit trees are self fertile, meaning you only need one tree to get fruit. But other varieties will require two trees in order to get any fruit. If you’ve got the room then by all means, plant two! But if you’re tight on space, a self-fertile variety is a necessity.

2. How comfortable are you with heights? This may influence whether you go with a full sized, semi-dwarf or dwarf variety. Fruit trees can grow as large as 18 – 25′ tall and wide, depending on what you’re growing. Consider carefully just how high you’re willing to climb to get that tasty fruit! Semi-dwarfs are in the 12 – 15′ range, and dwarfs are generally under 10′. There is a lot of variability depending on the type of fruit, so watch carefully.

3. What do you plan to do with the fruit? Some varieties are better for eating, others better for canning, and yet others better for baking. How you want to use the fruit might play into which variety to buy.

4. What zone are you in? Not all plants can grow and thrive in every climate. In Denver we’ve got hot dry summers with winters that can get downright cold. I’d love to grow an avocado tree and a lime tree, but neither of them will survive the harsh winters and dry weather we get here in Denver. Check a zone map to figure out which zone you are in and make sure you purchase fruit trees that do well in your climate.

5. What sort of general weather trends to you experience where you live? For example, it starts getting warm here in Denver in March. But we are at a high elevation, and it’s not uncommon to get frosts here through April and well into May, killing off any early blooming tree or shrub long before any fruit can grow. As a result, Denverites buy the latest blooming varieties they can get their hands on.

Hopefully this helps as you start considering your garden this year. What are you thinking of planting? I’m considering adding a pear tree to our little orchard this year.