5 of the Best Fruit Trees to Grow in the Pacific Northwest
Fruit trees can add color and vibrancy to your yard. The variety of hues, shapes, and textures, depending on the type of fruit, can really enhance your home’s curb appeal. Fruit tree blossoms can add a pleasing fragrance to your landscape while the fruit adds flavor to your kitchen with pies or jams.
The western coastal states have a distinct array of climate zones. Because of this, it can be tricky to determine which types of trees would be best for your specific location and your yard’s climate. Greenhouses can help, but there are some trees that thrive in the Pacific Northwest weather.
h many considerations related to soil drainage, sunlight required, pollination, and space needed, consulting with an expert is a helpful next step. Before actually planting fruit trees in your yard, call a professional arborist like Mr. Tree Services to get help deciding what species will work best for your landscaping needs.
Five of the best fruit trees to grow in the Pacific Northwest include apple, pear, nut, cherry, and peach trees.
1. Apple Trees
For many, growing an apple tree is a great idea. There are many varieties that are resilient in many climates, so finding what will work for your yard is easy. They are also edible immediately after picking. Depending on how you’d like to use your apples, there are certain varieties that have a flavor that is more conducive to baking or cooking. Visiting an apple orchard conjures ideas of freshly pressed apple cider, caramel-dipped apples, apple pie, and many other great foods. And while it could be fun to be able to grow a familiar variety, it might be more fun to grow a more unique variety than what’s available in stores. It’s really up to you.
A trip to your local nursery or orchard can help inform your decisions too. You could sample the flavors of apples available in your local area, and the growers can advise you on how certain varieties have responded to the climate. Apple trees do need pollinators, like bees or butterflies, in order for the pollen to transfer from tree to tree so they can produce fruit, so they need to be planted in pairs, unless a neighbor happens to also have an apple tree.
2. Pear Trees
Pear trees can produce quite successfully in the Pacific Northwest. From well-known varieties like Conference pears to Asian pears, this type of fruit tree manages well in a variety of wet and dry climates. They can also thrive in more fickle soils than apple trees. Beware of varieties that could be invasive, however.
Apple and pear trees grow well in the same environments. If you already have thriving apple trees, pears could be a great addition. Pear trees need to be cross-pollinated like apple trees, so you’ll need to plant a pair in your suburban orchard.
Also like apples, pears are versatile in how they can be baked and have a spectrum of flavors. Poached with chocolate or pureed into a sauce are delicious options. Harder varieties, such as the Asian pear, can be shredded for a crisp coleslaw, or softer varieties can be used for stewing. Many can be eaten straight off of the tree.
3. Nut Trees
Lots of different nut varieties are available for snacking, but did you know that you could grow nuts in your backyard? But which nut-producing tree offers the best solution in your garden? Almond and walnuts have grown well in the Pacific Northwest. Hazelnut trees are also a great option.
Almond trees are among the many types of fruit trees that produce sweet nuts. Almond trees are self-pollinating, and there is actually one type of dwarf tree that only grows up to nine feet tall. A shorter tree makes caring for the tree much more manageable.
Walnut trees grow well in the Pacific Northwest too, and they’re also self-pollinating. They grow best with moist soil and can grow over 50 feet tall. Their high-stretching, leafy crowns mean that these fruit trees can double as shade trees.
Note that although both almond and walnut trees are self-pollinating, they will be better producers when planted in pairs, with a similar variety of tree nearby. The cross-pollination factor will also promote nut production.
4. Cherry Trees
Bing cherries from the Pacific Northwest are well known around the world for being traditionally flavorful cherries that you can eat by the handful. If you would like to grow cherries in your yard, you’ll have to decide between sweet or sour cherries. Cherries can also be pitted and boiled into jam or baked into a pie. Their rich red hues add an aesthetically pleasing aspect to your landscaping while the fruit grows.
Some cherry trees prefer moist soil, while others need well-drained soil. Some can thrive in drier soils. Temperature can be another factor to take into consideration with cherries too. Temperature relates to how much sun a tree requires as well as the time of year that it will blossom and how resistant to cold it is. With regard to pollination, some cherry trees can be finicky about which trees they will pollinate with and other varieties are self-reliant for pollination. With so many varieties to choose from, consulting an expert is always helpful.
5. Peach and Nectarine Trees
Peach and nectarine trees are less common in the Pacific Northwest, but there are many varieties available, which can make it easy to find one that will grow in your backyard. Most don’t require a large amount of space, and there are even dwarf options, which means that the tallest trees have fruit in reach for easy picking. Peach and nectarine trees can be demanding because they need airflow around the soft fruit, so using proper pruning methods to create space between branches will allow for sufficient airflow.
Another consideration when choosing a variety of peach tree is whether it produces clingstone or freestone fruit. The clingstone fruit has a pit that is less easily removed. This type is more available in commercial circumstances or through farmers’ markets. Freestone varieties have pits that come loose easily from the peach flesh, making them easier to eat straight from the tree. How you would like to enjoy your peaches will determine what variety is best for you to plant.
Fruit trees can be a beautiful addition to your yard and a delicious investment. If you’re just getting started with your landscaping or want to re-invigorate it, calling tree care experts can help. At Mr. Tree Services, our team is happy to advise you on which trees to grow in your backyard and how to care for them.