How to Select Fruit Tree Varieties

Overview

Growing fruit trees is a fun hobby and can be an economic advantage for those families who eat a large amount of fruit. The trees offer shade, plus a nutritious snack or supplement to any meal. The fruits are packed with vitamins and other nutrients that are simply not present in other food groups. Growing fruit trees is possible in nearly any environment, but not all fruit trees will grow everywhere. Understanding what fruit trees grow well in your area and what you hope to do with the fruit is very important.

Selecting Fruit Trees

Step 1

Check what plant hardiness zone you live in and cross check that with the type of fruit tree you are interested in. The USDA has a plant hardiness zone map that will help you determine what zone you are in. The map is considered to be a general guide but is often very helpful in determining what species grow best.

Step 2

Visit a local nursery for ideas. Plant nurseries sell plants that thrive in the local environment. Therefore, any fruit trees you find there should work well in the type of climate you have.

Step 3

Buy a soil pH kit and test your local soil or take a sample to a local extension office. The soil pH is very important because each plant, fruit trees included, have a certain pH range recommended for them. This is because the soil pH affects the nutrients provided. In order to have adequate amounts of phosphorous for some plants, a soil pH value of between 6.0 and 7.0 is often needed, for example.

Step 4

Determine the nuances in your yard that might affect production. Some fruit trees prefer shade but most prefer full sunlight. Some, such as oranges, may prefer full sunlight but can still produce adequate crops even in partial shade. You might be forced to choose a species that is shade tolerant or sun tolerant.

Step 5

Choose the subspecies you want based on your zone and personal preference. Remember that some fruits are meant for specific applications. Jonagold apples, for example, are great for eating, and Lodi apples are used in sauces and cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant hardiness map
  • Fruit trees

References

  • Soil pH
  • Floridata
  • Vickie's Michigan Garden

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
  • Fruit Trees Site Selection
Keywords: soil pH, plant hardiness, growing fruit trees

About this Author

Ken Black is a freelance writer and a staff writer for The Times Republican in Central Iowa. He has written extensively on a variety of topics, including business, politics, family life and travel.