When choosing trees that grow fruit for your gardening space, it is important to understand which particular tree varieties are best suited for use in the home garden as opposed to trees for commercial use. Trees bearing well-known fruit such as apples and pears come with a higher level of maintenance than other garden plants. But for fruit enthusiasts, the work is well worth the effort.
Apple trees (Malus spp.) can provide a garden with an abundance of edible fresh fruit that may be used in pies or as jelly. There are many different cultivars that produce fruit with different flavors, sweetness, tartness and uses. Apple trees are available either as dwarf varieties or standard varieties; dwarf trees reach a height of approximately 10 feet, whereas standard apple trees reach a height of 20 feet. Thriving in full sun, apple trees prefer well-drained sandy clay loam or sandy loam soil but are tolerant of a wide variety of soil types. Aim for a soil pH of 6.5, recommends the Ohio State University Extension.
Sweet Cherry Trees
Sweet cherry trees (Prunus avium) produce fruit and are considered large trees. Displaying small flowers and upright branches that create pyramidal shapes, sweet cherry trees should be planted in at least two varieties to allow for cross-pollination. Thriving in full sun and moist, well-drained soil, these fruit trees yield purple-red, sweet-flavored cherry fruit. Sweet cherry trees can grow from 10 feet to a height of 50 feet. People eat these types of fruit fresh or are canned, according to the University of Illinois Extension HortAnswers.
American Plum Trees
American plum trees (Prunus americana) grow edible fruit. Displaying fragrant, small white flowers during the spring season, the blooms are followed by green leaves that turn yellow during the fall and round plum fruit. The yellow fruit measures approximately one-half to one inch in diameter. American plums are eaten fresh and are also widely used to make jelly, explains the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Thriving in partial sun to partial shade, American plum trees grow well in most soil types but cannot tolerate alkalinity. These trees grow to a height and width of 20 feet.
Japanese Apricot Trees
Japanese apricot trees (Prunus mume) are gnarled trees prized for their display of small, pink, aromatic flowers followed by aesthetically pleasing, yet inedible, fruit and green foliage. Thriving in full sun, Japanese apricot trees prefer moist, well-drained, acid soil. These trees grow to a height of 12 to 20 feet and a width of 15 to 20 feet, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.