Grow. Nourish. Connect.


Choosing Fruit Trees for Your Garden

grow nourish

Fruit trees can be a wonderful choice for many gardens. No matter how much space you have at your disposal, growing a single fruit tree, or creating a plant filled food forest with multiple fruit-bearing trees can be a great decision. But choosing fruit trees can sometimes feel confusing. Which fruit trees should you choose?

To help you make the right decision, here are some of the things to think about when choosing fruit trees for your garden


Choose Fruit Trees For Where You Live

The first and most important things to think about when choosing fruit trees for your garden are the conditions a particular tree will require, and the conditions you can provide within your space. 

By thinking about the climate and microclimate, sunshine and shade, wind, water and soil, you can match the right tree with the right place, and stand a far better chance of success long term. 

Think about what particular types of fruit trees need in terms of temperatures, water availability and nutrients. Will a type you are considering thrive in your area, or require careful tending and far more TLC?

A good place to begin can be to look at fruit trees that are native to, or commonly grown in, your particular area.


Select Cultivars Carefully

Remember, even if you have decided which type of fruit you would like to grow, not all cultivars have the same requirements. 

It is important to think about things like drought tolerance, heat tolerance, chill-hours etc. and to find the right cultivar for your area and your particular garden. 

One other very important thing to think about when selecting a particular cultivar is whether or not that cultivar is self-fertile. Will it fruit when grown alone, or does it require a pollination partner?

You should also consider when particular cultivars fruit. Even with one particular type of fruit, there can be great variety in the time of the harvest. 

It can be useful to think carefully about when trees fruit specifically, so you can property plan to grow, harvest and eat from your space year-round. Choosing fruit trees with staggered harvest times can help you make sure you don't have gluts – or too much to do at any one time in your garden.


Think About Size

When choosing fruit trees, you should understand that many fruit trees you can purchase for your garden are 'Frankenstein' trees. They are often grafted trees, made up of a rootstock and psion. 

The rootstocks are chosen to determine the size and vigour of a tree, while the top portion, the psion, determines the characteristics of the fruit. 

When choosing a fruit tree that is a grafted tree, it is important to think about the rootstock used. It might create dwarfing or semi-dwarfing trees for smaller spaces, for example. Trees on a dwarfing rootstock can be very useful for smaller gardens.


Think About Shape

When choosing a fruit tree, you might also like to think about shape. The trees you buy might already be trained to grow in a specific way – espaliered, for example, to grow against a wall, fan-trained, or cordoned. 

Choosing to shape trees in specific ways rather than just growing standard or bush shaped fruit trees can help you make the most of every inch of space in your garden.


Think Holistically - Add Fruit Tree Guilds

Last but not least, when choosing fruit trees, remember that you should not think about trees in isolation. You should always consider a potential fruit tree addition as part of the whole. Think about how a particular tree will be integrated into the rest of your planting in your garden. 

When selecting a fruit tree, you should also think about and choose attendant plants – creating guilds of beneficial companion plants around each one to increase yields and improve results in your garden.



If you enjoyed reading that, you'll surely love our Shambhala Living Podcast too..

Listen to Shambhala Living Podcast Now

S t a y   C o n n e c t e d

We'd love to share more about our food growing and regenerative living tips, ideas and visions for a new future.