Planting a fruit tree that will bear fruit for 100 years is not simply a matter of choosing the right type of tree. To survive and bear fruit, a tree must be planted in the right location. Trees do not die of old age. Disease, injury or pests usually cause tree death. Under the right conditions, many fruit trees will not only live for 100 years but also can live fore several hundred years and even a thousand years.
The average life expectancy of an olive tree (Olea europaea) is 300 to 500 years, but they have been known to live for thousands of years. A tree in Kolymbari is believed to be between 3,000 to 5,000 years old, and it still produces olives. Another olive tree earned the nickname "Plato's Tree" because it was believed that the philosopher once taught classes under it. It survived 2,400 years until 1975 when a bus crashed into it and caused it to fall. The "Peisistratos Tree" is believed to have been planted by the former leader Peisistratos back in 6th century BC. Other olive trees in Greece, Crete, Jerusalem and Portugal are believed to be more than 1,000 years old.
When John Endicott planted his orchard in 1633, he probably never guessed that part of it would remain over 350 years later. One solitary European pear tree (Pyrus communis) is all that remains of the garden. The tree has survived hurricanes, neglect, vandalism and war, and still manages to bear fruit today. This is remarkable because the average life expectancy of European pear trees is 50 years.
The Northwestern United States is home to the oldest apple trees. Located at E. 7th and SE Columbia Way is an apple tree was planted in 1826 by Dr. John McLoughlin. Another long-lived apple tree was originally planted by Peter Stuyvesant in his orchard in 1647. It was still bearing fruit in 1866, when a derailed train struck it. The tree did not survive its injuries. An even older apple tree can be found in England in the village of Beaminster, Dorset. This tree was originally planted in 1809, making it more than 200 years old, and it still bears fruit. It is so old that scientists are unable to identify its type and proclaimed it a new species, the Granfer's Apple. Normally, apple trees are only expected to live about 60 years, depending on a variety.