Fruit Trees in the Ukraine
"The orchard is a necessity to the Ukrainian farmer and is planted and cared for even under difficult conditions," according to the Travel in Ukraine website. The nation, located south of Moscow and on the northern edge of the Black Sea in southeastern Europe, has a continental climate and dark, fertile soil. The capital, Kiev, is on the northern fringe of the most fertile agricultural areas. Ukraine possesses a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) winter hardiness zone rating of 5 through 7.
According to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Ukraine consistently produces ample tonnage of apples annually to make it one of the nation's top ten agricultural commodities. Apple tree (Malus domestica) orchards are common throughout the nation as these plants are among the most winter cold-tolerant fruit trees in existence. Huge acreage is taken up by apple trees in the Bessarabia region.
Both sweet and sour cherry types are grown in the Ukraine. Sweet cherry trees (Prunus avium) are grown heavily in the valleys in the Podolia region, while sour cherries (Prunus cerasus) are grown in more widespread areas since they are more tolerant of cold. Moreover, sour cherries are easier to grow since they do not require another tree to ensure flower pollination and fruit set, and sour cherry flowers later in spring so damage from late frosts isn't likely. Sweet cherry trees need to be planted in clustered groves and often have diminished fruit production as early spring frosts often kill blossoms.
According to Travel in Ukraine, pear trees are also grown across the fertile soils of northern and central Ukraine. In fact, the European pear tree (Pyrus communis) is native to this region, as well as other pears most North Americans are not familiar with, according to "Economic Botany: Plants in Our World." Pears are long-lived trees and tend to produce more fruits when planted in large numbers for good cross-pollination. Fewer disease problems plague pear trees where the climate is warmer and drier, such as in southern Ukraine along the Black Sea.
Because peach trees (Prunus persica) flower so early in spring, they are best grown in the southeastern half of the Ukraine where winters are milder and there is less chance of spring frosts to kill peach blossoms. The Tauria region near the Yaila Mountains is most favorable for peach tree orchard production, according to Travel in Ukraine.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Food Crop Commodity by Nation (2007)
- "Economic Botany: Plants in Our World, 2nd Ed."; Beryl Brintnall Simpson and Molly Conner Ogorzaly; 1995