Once you’ve chosen the types of fruit you’d like to grow, it’s time to figure out where to plant fruit trees.
Where to Plant Fruit Trees
You can grow fruit trees in the ground or in containers. The containers have to be big, and the trees have to be small (dwarf) sized. I’ll tell you more about the types of fruit tree sizes another day, but don’t worry if you have a small backyard. You can still add a fruit tree.
Fruit trees need full sunlight. Full sunlight is defined as six or more hours per day of bright, direct sunshine. You can’t skimp on this. Anything less than six hours a day of direct sunlight won’t help your tree produce fruit. The tree may live, but you won’t get fruit from it.
Sunlight is needed by fruit trees both for photosynthesis (energy production) and fruit production and ripening. So be sure that wherever you wish to plant your fruit tree, it gets plenty of direct sunshine. That’s the one thing you can’t skimp on!
So where to plant fruit trees depends first on the light conditions in your yard. Unfortunately, if a big building, a neighbor’s shed or a big old pine tree blocks the light, you won’t be able to grow a fruit tree.
Type of Soil for Fruit Trees
Where to plant fruit trees also depends on the soil you have to work with. Most fruit trees can grow just fine in any soil as long as it is amended with plenty of organic materials. A loam soil or a sandy loam is perfect for fruit trees, but I have mostly clay and as you can see from the photos accompanying these articles, I’ve been able to grow fruit just fine!
I recommend getting a soil test done before planting fruit trees in your backyard. A soil test will reveal the pH of the soil as well as its composition. You can get your soil tested at your local Cooperative Extension office.
Location: Slopes and Drainage
If you’re planting fruit trees in the ground, look for an area on your property that has a gentle slope. Plant the fruit trees near the top of the slope. Cold air sinks to the bottom of a slope. Water drains to the bottom, too. You want both warmer temperatures and well-drained soil, which you will find at the top of the slope.
What if you don’t have a slope? Don’t worry about it. Sure, it’s ideal. But fruit trees have been grown in many places that aren’t ideal. You can plant one in a container or simply plant a fruit tree wherever you have full sunshine and plenty of room for it to grow.
More to Learn! Read the Series
There’s lots more to learn and know about successfully growing fruit trees in your backyard. I’ve shared a series of articles here on Home Garden Joy with more to come. I will be adding more articles to the series, so check back often for new information.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.