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Seven Steps to Choosing the Perfect Fruit Trees for Your Backyard

Cold Hardy Fruit Tree Orchard

Welcome to the exciting world of fruit tree growing! Whether you’re an experienced or beginner gardener, the most important step in creating a successful backyard orchard is choosing the right fruit trees for your climate and soil type. Here’s an inspiring guide to help you make the best decisions when it comes to selecting trees for your yard.

The first thing to consider is your location. Consider the average temperatures, intensity of sunlight, and amount of rainfall in your area, as these factors play a major role in determining which fruit trees will have better chances of thriving. You should also consider whatever limitations may exist due to local zoning rules if you plan on planting a large variety of trees.


Once you’ve taken the climate into consideration, the next step is determining what kind of soil you have in your yard. The quality of soil plays an integral part in how well desired plants will grow; depending on its particular characteristics, certain soils can be enhanced with various amendments like fertilizer and compost for optimal results. It’s also important to test your hue soil pH levels and lime accordingly if needed to ensure optimal growth conditions for said plants before setting out on planting any trees at all.

Finally, choosing which specific types of fruit trees are best suited for your individual needs comes down to personal preference – but not without considering other factors such as ripening season, size (including both height and width), resistance to pests and cold temperatures… among other things! Weighing all these options up while keeping environmental conditions in mind should guarantee that you make informed decisions that result in fruitful harvests every year.

With this helpful guide, now you’ll be ready to start harvesting delicious homegrown fruits right at home! Best wishes on a successful planting season – we’re sure it won’t take long before those succulent fruits start filling up those baskets!

1. Determine Your Hardiness Zone

winter wood

Choosing the right fruit trees for your climate is an important step to ensure they will thrive. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map divides the United States into different zones based on average minimum winter temperatures and can be a great resource when selecting fruit trees. Every tree has its own range of hardiness zones which should be taken into consideration when making your decision. As an example, apple trees require colder climates and are hardy in zones 4-8 whereas citrus trees need a warmer climate and are only hardy in zones 9-11.

We learned our lesson the hard way when starting out with fruit trees – we didn’t take hardiness zone ranges into account and ended up purchasing an apple tree tree that was only suitable for zone 7. Unfortunately, as we lived in zone 5 this tree didn’t survive its first winter, so now whenever we’re looking at any type of tree, making sure it is within our hardiness zone range is one of the most important factors we consider!

2. Consider Your Soil Type

When choosing fruit trees for your yard, it’s important to consider what type of soil you have since different trees have different soil requirements. Well-drained soil is ideal for some types of fruit trees, while others may need a more moist environment. To find out the soil type in your yard, you can contact your local county extension office. They usually have access to area soil maps which will give a better idea of how your specific property is composed.

While soil tests can be useful for diagnosing issues related to plant growth, they are typically generalized to an entire area or yard rather than just one section. This means that if there are variations between sections, then the test results won’t reflect that accurately. Therefore, learning about your basic soil type can provide more reliable information when selecting the best fruit tree for your property’s needs.

3. Determine Your Space and Sun Requirements

You should also consider the tree size and sun requirements when selecting which ones to plant. If you have a smaller yard, then you may want to opt for a dwarf fruit tree as these trees are ideal for areas with limited space, and they also can do well in containers. Some of these trees require only 8-10 hours of direct sunlight each day, so they can do well even if your property does not get full sun throughout the day.

On the other hand, larger fruit trees need more space for proper growth and development and often require full sun exposure for up to 12 hours per day. When planting one of these trees, make sure to provide enough space between it and neighboring structures or plants so that its roots have enough room to grow. Read more about how rootstocks impact size and hardiness of fruit trees. 

No matter what kind of fruit tree you decide on, ensuring your chosen variety is suitable for your climate and soil conditions will help it flourish over time. With proper care and maintenance, any type of fruit tree can provide many years of delicious harvests!

4. Decide on a Type of Fruit

Choosing the right fruit tree for your garden can be overwhelming with all the different varieties and options available, but you can narrow it down by considering your hardiness zone, soil type, space/sun requirements, and what fruits you truly enjoy eating. If you live in a cold climate, then some of the most popular types of fruit trees to grow are apples, pears, cherries and plums.

For each of these types of fruits there are many different cultivars (varieties) that you can choose from. Apples typically come in sweet or tart flavors and range in color from pale yellow to deep red. Popular apple varieties include Granny Smiths and Honeycrisp. Pears come in both Asian and European varieties, with Asian pears typically having a rounder shaped fruit with a crisp texture while European varieties have an elongated shape and softer texture. Cherries vary depending on whether they are sweet or sour; sour cherries tend to be harvested earlier than sweet ones since their skins need more time to soften. Plums also have several distinct varieties such as Japanese plums which tend to be small with green skin and hybrid plums which tend to be a bit larger and more like the plums you buy in the grocery store.

Choosing fruits that you love eating and processing into jams, jellies, pies, and fruit leathers is just as important as all the other factors combined. If you don’t enjoy the fruit, you won’t take the time to really take care of your tree and pick the fruits at ripening. Do take the time to really brain-storm with your family before making final choices.

No matter what type of fruit tree you choose for your garden, it’s important to research the characteristics of each variety before deciding on one so that you can get the best results for your climate conditions. With so many different kinds available, you will certainly find one that is perfect for your garden!

5. Research Specific Cultivars

When deciding what type of fruit to grow in your garden, it’s important to do some research into the various cultivars available. Different types of fruits have different requirements and may be better adapted to particular climates or regions. For example, if you live in an area that experiences cold temperatures, you should look for cultivars that are known for their resistance to frost and cold weather conditions.

The ‘Honeycrisp’ apple is a popular choice for colder regions due to its hardiness, while the ‘Meteor’ sour cherry is another good option for areas with cooler climates. Both of these cultivars will resist frost and maintain their integrity when temperatures dip below zero degrees Celsius. Other well-suited varieties for colder areas include the ‘Liberty’ apple, the ‘Blake’s Pride pear, and the ‘Stanley’ plum.

When selecting fruit trees for your garden, make sure you choose cultivars that are right for your region and climate. Doing some research beforehand can help ensure success with your fruit crop!

Cold Hardy Fruit Trees and Plants

6. Purchase from a Reputable Nursery

When it comes to purchasing a fruit tree for your garden, you want to make sure that you buy from a trustworthy and reputable nursery. This is the best way to ensure that you are getting a top-notch tree that is suited to your particular climate. Do some research and find a nursery that specializes in fruit trees and has built up good reviews within your local area.

A great source of information can be friends or family who have successfully grown their own fruit trees before, as they may be able to recommend certain nurseries or give tips on how to get the best quality product. You should also take time browsing the selection at multiple nurseries in order to do side-by-side comparisons and pick out the best looking and healthiest trees.

Once you’ve chosen your tree, ask the staff questions about its age, growing habits, and any other information about its care and maintenance that will be useful for having a successful harvest season. Make sure that you inspect the tree carefully for signs of disease or pest damage before taking it home with you. If all checks out, enjoy patting yourself on the back for being one step closer as a self-sustaining fruit grower!

7. Plant and Care for Your Tree

Planting your fruit tree can seem complicated, but with the right knowledge and instructions you’ll be on your way to having a thriving tree in no time. First, it’s important to prepare the soil you are planting in. Make sure it is well-draining and free of rocks larger than an egg. You should also make sure there is plenty of space for a healthy root system to grow.

Once the area is prepped, you’re ready to begin planting! Dig a hole that’s larger than the root ball of the tree, then place it in the hole and cover with soil. Firmly press down on the soil as you go. Be careful not to pack down too tightly though as this could limit air flow and strain your tree’s roots. Once it’s fully planted, water thoroughly to promote good root growth.

If you’d like to put amendments on your soil, now is the time to do this. Compost, rock dust, seaweed powder and other organic amendments should be put on top of the soil, after backfilling and prior to mulching. This will feed your tree, without burning the roots, by providing a slow release of the nutrients with each rainfall.

It’s important not to forget about caring for your young tree after planting either! Provide an adequate amount of water at planting is very important. The only time we water trees after planting is during a long-term drought. The best way to mimic a good, steady rain is to water one time per week with a 5 gallon bucket of water poured over the mulched area of the tree. Adding a good wood mulch around your young tree aids in retaining moisture while protecting roots from extreme temperatures or drying winds.

For more details on exactly how we recommend planting and caring for your fruit trees, check out our article along with our accompanying video which have all the steps you need to get started!


In conclusion, if you’re looking to grow fruit trees in your backyard, there are seven important steps you should take to ensure success. The first step is to determine your USDA hardiness zone, as this will give you a better idea of what type of fruit trees thrive in your area. Next, assess the soil type of your yard or garden and make sure it’s suitable for the tree variety you would like to plant. Consider how much space and sun exposure the tree will need based on its size, and also think about which type of fruit you would prefer and research specific cultivars that do best in your climate and environment. Finally, it’s important to purchase from a reputable nursery.

Having all the necessary information in hand before buying the tree will help ensure healthy growth and yield good quality fruit over many years. Proper maintenance is also a key factor for growing successful fruit trees; water them consistently without overdoing it, prune regularly when needed, fertilize during growing season with organic methods if possible, and use pest-repellent natural oils as required to keep away pests.

With these tips in mind, planning ahead before planting can help guarantee an abundance of homegrown fruits right at home – such as juicy apples, sweet pears or even unusual varieties like quince! Whether it’s for satisfying those mid-morning snack cravings or using them as ingredients in delicious recipes – homegrown fruits provide incomparable taste that can’t be beaten! So don’t wait any longer – get started with selecting your perfect piece of nature today!

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