When Will My New Trees Produce Fruit?

When Will My New Trees Produce Fruit?

The real answer to that question is unsatisfying…“it all depends.” To understand why, we must remember that a fruit tree is a living organism, a miraculous creature that can produce delicious food from merely soil, water, and sunshine. To make this everyday miracle possible, fruit trees require numerous conditions to be just right. The soil must be healthy, the right amount of water must be present, pests and disease must be minimally present, the plants must reach a minimum level of physical maturity, and the proper weather conditions must prevail. As if that weren’t enough to think of, all of these factors interact with each other, which makes it even harder to estimate when a tree will begin to produce fruit.

The bottom line is that no one can say, for sure, when a tree will begin to bear. However, there are general time frames that apply to each type of tree when they are grown under ideal conditions. That’s a big caveat. I said “under ideal conditions” and that is rarely what I see in home gardens. I don’t even have “ideal conditions” in my own garden for Pete’s sake! The following guidelines will give you a general idea of what to expect from newly planted fruits. Please don’t be discouraged by the long wait for some types of fruit. Patience is just part of the gardening experience. So much of modern life is fast, fast, fast, but Mother Nature likes to take her time. I think edible gardens have much to teach us about slowing down and enjoying the journey.

I have 2 suggestions for the impatient orchardists out there. First, take good care of your trees, because healthy trees will almost always bear fruit sooner than sickly or stunted trees. The importance of basic care cannot be overstated for fruit trees. Fertilizer, mulch, water, and proper growing conditions (like soil type and sun exposure) are absolutely essential for a tree to gift you with fruit. With consistent basic care, fruit production is almost always a simple matter of time.

Second, plant a mix of fruits instead of just one type. If you plant a whole yard with pears, you have to wait 5-7 years (under ideal conditions) to get any fruit at all. Even the most patient gardener can get frustrated with a long wait like that. Instead, make room for some quick maturing fruits as well. Why not plant a few blackberries with your pears, or a row of blueberry bushes with your apples? Those berries will keep you excited and inspired until the slower fruits are ready.

Average Years to Produce (under ideal conditions):

Blueberry 1-2 years
Grape 1-2 years
Mulberry 1-2 years
Blackberry 1-2 years
Loquat 2-3 years
Fig 2-3 years
Peach 3-4 years
Citrus 3-5 years
Persimmon 3-5 years
Olive 3-5 years
Mayhaw 4-5 years
Plum 4-5 years
Pomegranate 4-5 years
Chestnut 5-7 years
Pear 5-7 years
Apple 5-7 years
Pecan 7-10 years

*Some plants will produce fruit in their very first year, however, we advise that you never allow fruit to ripen on plants that have been in the ground less than a year. Producing fruit requires lots of energy and young plants need to put that energy into growing roots and branches. If you allow 1st year plants to grow fruit, those plants may be stunted for years to come. Pick off small fruit as early as you can, if any appears, for the first year.

**Please remember that these timeframes are generalities. Any individual tree may take more or less time to produce fruit than the average time for that type of tree. If your trees fruit earlier, congratulations, you should brag to all your friends! If it takes longer than expected, your trees may need some extra attention, but please don’t throw in the towel. Get expert advice from Tallahassee Nurseries or your County Extension Office on ways to improve the growing conditions of your home orchard.

This article was written by Jonathan Burns (Tallahassee Nurseries Outdoor Manager, FNGLA Florida Certified Horticulture Professional) using information from years of personal observations gardening in the Tallahassee area, as well as advice from a well respected, local, fruit tree grower



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