Fruit Trees For Shady Areas & Blueberries Failed To Fruit

Question:

We have virtually no areas of full sun in our yard. The trees in our neighborhood have matured around us, so now only get six to seven hours of morning and early afternoon sun during the summer. Our peach, nectarine, and cherry trees are not doing well because of the shade, so we’re in the process of replacing them. Are there any varieties of fruit trees like the Asian pear or Persimmon that can produce reasonably well in these conditions?

Answer:

  • Any plant that receives six or more hours of direct sunlight per day is considered to be in a sunny location. It doesn’t need to be continuous so your yard is still okay for growing a variety of fruit trees. I’d only consider a persimmons if the area received little or no summer irrigation.
  • You should find a selection of standard, semi-dwarf and other types of dwarf trees toward the end of January. But first, you need to have a good idea of just how big a mature tree is right for your yard. For many yards, a semi dwarf fruit tree is too big as they can reach a height of fifteen feet plus with a ten-foot spread.
    • You can keep these trees smaller if you prune diligently each winter. In addition, I’d prune the branches so they are spaced farther apart to increase the light in the center and on the shadiest side of the tree.
  • I suspect the current trees are declining for other reasons other than the exposure.
    • Established trees decline from root rot and borers from constant summer irrigation, so you don’t want to plant under them. Apples, pears, and Asian pears are the exception and do fine with frequent watering while peaches, nectarines, cherries, persimmons and others suffer.
  •  With our smaller yards, it’s important to plant the right types of trees that complement the rest of plants. The nursery professional at your favorite garden center is a great resource for this type of information.

Question:

I  planted a blueberry in my yard some years ago. It grew, flowered, but did not fruit. I was advised to plant a second as they are not self-fertile. I have tried four times and every time and still no success. The second blueberries were  around 2-3 feet from the first one. What am I doing wrong?

Answer:

  • Blueberries do require a second variety for berries. Sunshine Blue is one of several varieties that produce berries on their own. 
  • The key to selecting the second variety is the flowering period.
  • Two blueberries of the same name will not pollinate one another. You need to plant a second variety the blooms at the same time as the one you have.
    • Blueberries are group by early, midseason and late-blooming varieties. Also, you want ‘low chill’ varieties becuase of our mid winters. The trick now is to figure out what you have and  then plant a variety that will pollinate it. It make take another season to get the right variety.