Sweet, juicy, and full of flavor-it's hard to find something as satisfying as fresh fruit on a hot summer day. The only thing better is growing your very own supply of fresh fruit, right in your backyard! Unfortunately, gardeners tend to avoid growing fruiting trees and shrubs like the plague, leaving it to their Southern neighbors instead, when all it takes is a little knowledge of the trees that thrive in our region. Take a look at these four fruit trees that can grow right here in North Dakota!
An apple a day may not actually keep the doctor away, but with an apple tree in your backyard, you'll have enough to cover your bases anyway! As the most popular fruit tree in North Dakota, it shouldn't shock you to see this one topping our list. With plenty of apple tree cultivars available, take bloom time, harvesting time, and flavor profile into consideration when choosing a tree. From the firm, tart flavor of Haralred, to the sweet, crisp taste of Honeycrisp (our personal favorite!)-you can check out all the Zone 4-appropriate apples we carry at Plant Perfect right here.
Apple trees need to be pollinated by another apple tree, but of a different variety. So, unless you or your neighbor already have one in your backyard, it's best to buy them in pairs. Plant them far enough apart that they won't interfere with the other's growth, but close enough that they'll easily cross-pollinate (between 30-50 feet). Plant them in well-drained, fertile soil in a location with ample sunlight. It can take five years for a new tree to start producing fruit, but don't worry-the trees in our garden center have already been nursed for a few years!
Adored not only for their delicious little fruits, but also for their ornamental spring blossoms, cherry trees are another popular addition to Bismarck landscapes. Their early spring white-pink blooms are a welcoming sign of the season and a good reason you might want to save space in your front yard for this fruit tree. Although sweet cherries aren't hardy to North Dakota, sour cherries are-and let us tell you, they're definitely worth growing! These tart cherries are perfect for pies, cakes, sauces, jams, and so much more!
You can't go wrong with Evans Bali-an extremely productive cherry tree with remarkable hardiness (it can even grow in Zone 2!). This cultivar is much sweeter than other sour cherry trees, so you can enjoy its dark red fruits fresh off the tree! We also carry North Star, which is known for its good-quality, deep red cherries that ripen earlier than other trees. If you're a baker, this cultivar is for you! These two cherry trees are self-fertile, so you can count on them to provide an abundance of fruits year after year, without the need for a second tree. They're pretty adaptable, but will be most productive in rich, well-drained soil and full sun conditions.
Much like their pomaceous cousins (apples), pears can vary widely in their size, color, and flavor profile. Here at Plant Perfect, we carry two very different but equally delicious varieties: Golden Spice and Ure. Golden Spice pears are very hardy fruits with a tart, spicy flavor that's perfect for canning. They're golden yellow, brushed with red, and ripen in early September. Ure pears, on the other hand, are yellow-green in color and ripen a few weeks earlier. They can be eaten fresh or saved for cooking or canning. Luckily, these two cultivars are perfect pollinators for each other, so you don't have to choose between them-take home one of each!
Like many other fruiting trees, pear trees need to be cross-pollinated by a different variety of the same fruit. Pear trees are a little less common, so consider planting two yourself to ensure you'll get a productive tree. Ideally, plant them within 50 feet of each other. Pear trees will feel right at home in a sunny area of your yard, receiving at least six hours of sunlight each day. Plant them in well-draining soil, and amend the area with organic matter to keep it rich and fertile.
Just starting to get your garden gloves dirty? Plum trees are ideal for novice gardeners! They're generally great producers and are less demanding than other trees. Plus, they're super versatile! Pick plums right off the stem for a satisfying snack on a summer day. Or, their delicious flavor can also be carried through the rest of the year when processed into jams, jellies, and baked goods.
While most plum trees require a second cultivar to pollinate, we carry one self-pollinating variety at Plant Perfect: Mount Royal is an extremely hardy plum tree that produces tender, juicy fruits. We also carry Pembina Plum, Superior Plum, and Toka Plum (take note: Toka is, without a doubt, the best pollinator of the bunch!). Plum trees prefer loamy, well-drained soils and full sun. Avoid planting them in low-lying areas where they'll be susceptible to frost damage.
BONUS: Cherry plums are small, dwarf plum trees that pack the same great flavor in less than half the size-perfect for people with limited landscape space! They're extremely hardy and disease-resistant, and their small fruits are ideal for jams, sauces, and canning.
In addition to choosing the right location, remember that most fruit trees require annual pruning to keep them healthy, as well as regular watering and fertilization schedules to keep them productive. Look out for common pests and diseases, and carefully remove affected branches and address problems quickly as they arise. With a little bit of TLC, you'll be enjoying the fruits of your labor in no time! Visit our garden center to take home a fruit tree (or two!) today.