Selecting Fruit Trees

There was a time when growing fruit tree was even more important than landscaping. Once moved into a new home, the amateur gardener would head straight for the local horticultural retailer to buy a few fruit trees. Unfortunately, this practice has fallen by the wayside. Many are convinced that growing fruit trees demands a great investment in time and effort yet, by following a few simple rules, it’s possible to have a beautiful orchard without becoming it becoming a burden and having to spend all of one’s free time tending to the trees. Others will say that the trees take up too much space and that today’s properties are too small. Fortunately, the advent new cultivars and growing techniques make it possible to enjoy edible and ornamental fruit orchards that can be grown in very restricted areas.

25% Off CouponTo succeed in your project, it’s important to choose the right trees. As you choose to suit your own tastes in fruit, also consider the trees’ compatibility with their new location. The following points will help you make your selections.


To begin, a tree’s hardiness is defined as its ability to resist the extreme climactic conditions of a region. For example, a “Reliance” peach tree that’s rated for zone 5b won’t survive in region 4, as the extreme weather conditions exceed the tree’s resistance level.

Thus, to cultivate the right varieties, it’s important to know your own region’s hardiness zone. You can find this important information on-line on, among others, this very website via Hardiness Zone, or you can inquire with your horticultural retailer.

Fruit trees don’t all bloom at the same time. Certain varieties, such as peach trees, nectarines and apricots, bloom early enough to be damaged by spring frosts, while apple and pear trees bloom two weeks later and are rarely damaged by late frosts.

To help you select your fruit trees, please refer to the following table divided into hardiness zones. For a variety’s characteristics, please refer to the main table.

Zone Tree Cultivars
Zone 2 Pear tree:

Apple tree:

Plum tree:


Lodi, Norland, Parkland, Rescue

Brookgold, Brookred, Opata

Zone 3 Apricot tree:

Sour Cherry:

Pear tree:

Apple tree:

American Plum:

European Plum:

Morden, Scout

Evans, Météor, Montmorency, Northstar

Flemish Beauty, David, Golden Spice, Ure

Belmac, Cortland, Famous, Honey Gold, Yellow Transparent, Lobo, McIntosh, Melba, Paulared, Quinte, Spartan, Wealthy

Crescent, Grenville, Superior, Underwood


Zone 4 Apricot tree:

Sweet Cherry:

Pear tree:

Apple tree:

European Plum:

Japanese Plum:


Gold, Rabbits

Clapp, Lucious Red Clapp

Empire, Honey Crisp, Jonafree, Liberty, Richelieu, Royal Gala, Shamrock, Trent, Vista Bella

Mirabelle, Reine Claude, Stanley

Burbank, Early Golden

Zone 5 Sweet Cherry:

Pear tree:

Apple tree:

European Plum:

Bing, Heldelfingen, Stella, Van

Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Red Bartlett

Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious, Granny Smith


Zone 5b Nectarine :

Peach tree:

Harflame, Harko

Red Haven, Reliance

Choosing a Cultivar

Let us begin by saying that fruit trees are grafted upon more or less vigorous host trees, which determines the height and width of the cultivars. Unfortunately, if you live in zone 5b or less, there are few dwarf fruit tree choices. In fact, with the exception of apples, few dwarf species are hardy enough for these climactic conditions. To give you a general picture, we are listing below the average height and width of each species.

Apricot 2 to 4 metres high – 2 to 3 metres wide
Cherry 4 to 10 metres high – 3 to 8 metres wide
Nectarine 3 to 4 metres high – 2 to 3 metres wide
Peach 2 to 5 metres high – 1.5 to 3 metres wide
Pear 7 to 10 metres high – 6 to 8 metres wide
Colonnade Apple 1.75 to 2 metres high – 60 centimetres wide
Dwarf Apple 2 to 3 metres high – 2 to 3 metres wide
Semi- Dwarf Apple 3 to 4 metres high – 3 to 4 metres wide
Semi-standard Apple 5 to 7 metres high – 5 to 7 metres wide
Plum 4 to 6 metres high – 3 to 4 metres wide

If the space in your garden is limited, ask yourself if the varieties are self-fertilizing i.e., fruit production assured by a single plant, or auto-sterile i.e., they need the presence of other trees of the same species to reproduce. The following table will give you a quick look, but note that there are exceptions in the fruit tree families that are mentioned in our main table.

Apricot Auto-fertile
Sour Cherry Auto-fertile
Sweet Cherry Auto-sterile
Nectarine Auto-fertile
Peach Auto-fertile
Pear Auto-sterile
Apple Auto-sterile
Plum Auto-sterile

The third criterion to consider is maintenance. Certain fruit tree families are easy to maintain and it’s important to discuss this item when visiting your horticultural retailer.

For example, if you don’t like drastically pruning back your trees, choose pear trees that need only light pruning in lieu of apple trees that must be thoroughly pruned in the spring. Or you may need to choose leaf disease-resistant trees like Belmac, Jonafree, Liberty, Richelieu or Trent apples that don’t need repeated sprayings in the summer.

The Location

To choose the ideal location for your trees, it’s important to take the following criteria into consideration:

  • Different fruit trees have different shapes. Before planting, choose the cultivar that’s adapted to the dimensions of your garden. Also remember that growth rates differ for each species. For example, the pear tree has a neat, uniform shape, but will be much bigger at maturity than a dwarf apple that has an irregular shape but is more compact.
  • While many trees thrive in different type soils, it’s essential that they benefit from adequate drainage, as most can’t tolerate humid areas. In fact, if your soil is heavy, certain species like apricot, cherry, nectarine and peach will benefit from being planted in raised areas that favour root growth.
  • As most fruit trees do best in full sun, choose the sunniest area of the property for their location. It takes a minimum of eight hours of direct sunlight to guarantee an optimum harvest.
  • Since air circulation is more restricted, avoid closed areas in the garden that can create a haven for tree diseases, for example: the development of fungal diseases. You’ll also need a cleared space, wide enough to have room for tree maintenance. Many gardeners make the mistake of planting their trees too close to buildings or other installations, thus limiting their freedom of movement to spray pesticides that can stain walls and dirty windows.

Once your choice is made, it’s time for planting. For solid advice on the subject, please read the Planting Fruit Trees article.

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] the original post: Selecting Fruit Trees « Black Belt Review By admin | category: fruit trees, tree | tags: amateur, from-childhood, fruit trees, […]

  2. How would I buy a Flemish Beauty pear tree?

  3. Pear tree, Apple tree, Plum tree, Apricot trees, Sour Cherry trees, Pear tree, Apple tree, American Plum, European Plum, Nectarine, Peach tree.

    Apricot 1 metres high
    Cherry 1 metres high
    Nectarine 1,5 metres high
    Peach 1 metres high
    Pear 1 metres high
    Colonnade Apple 1.75 to 2 metres high – 60 centimetres wide
    Dwarf Apple 1 to 1,5 metres
    Semi- Dwarf Apple 1 metres high
    Semi-standard Apple 1 metres high
    Plum 1 metres high

    Apricot Auto-fertile
    Sour Cherry Auto-fertile
    Sweet Cherry Auto-sterile
    Nectarine Auto-fertile
    Peach Auto-fertile
    Pear Auto-sterile
    Apple Auto-sterile
    Plum Auto-sterile

  4. i would like to know what kind of fruit is that hanging from that tree in picture above and is it okay to eat it.

  5. Get A Great Fruit Trees At Online Store…

    Gardening is one activity which we can do to fill our spare time. Gardening can be said to have a fascination for some people, so it is no wonder there are some people who spend their money on this one. Currently your gardening no longer buy the seeds …

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