How to Grow Fruit Trees in Shade


A fruit tree must be planted where it can receive the sun's energy to produce fruit. If you evaluate the conditions in your yard or garden, plant the right variety, and take care of your tree, you can expect to have the harvest you'd like.

Step 1

If you have six hours a day of unobstructed sunlight in midsummer, you can plant any fruit tree. If you have less, but the sunlight is strong or dependable--such as in California--and rarely obscured by clouds, you don/'t need as much sunlight. Winter shade is fine; trees don't need sun then. Light shade, such as on the east side of a wall or shade from tall trees, may reduce fruit yield but the trees will grow well. If you have heavy shade, such as on the east or north side of a wall with overhanging trees, sun-loving fruit trees may not bear at all and may be more prone to diseases.

Step 2

Choose your tree carefully. Apples, pears and plums can take light shade with some loss of yield. Pawpaws grow and bear well in shade, as do a number of bush fruits such as Nanking Cherry and Elderberry.

Step 3

Plant your tree and fertilize yearly with 0-10-10 fertilizer, which promotes flowers, fruit and strong trunks.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be patient. Fruit trees in shade may bear a few years later than those with more sun.

Things You'll Need

  • Fruit tree sapling
  • 0-10-10 fertilizer


  • Shade Tolerant Fruit Plants
  • Pawpaws
Keywords: Fruit trees, Shade, Pawpaw

About this Author

Over the past 30 years, Mara Grey has sold plants in nurseries, designed gardens and volunteered as a Master Gardener. She is the author of "The Lazy Gardener" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flower Gardening" and has a Bachelor of Science in botany.