By Gabe Tschida Monday, September 9th, 2019 With school starting and apple season nearly upon us, the arborists at Urban Tree & Landscape are thinking about fruit trees. Fruit trees make excellent additions to your urban forest. And while it may take a few years to reap the benefits of an apple, pear, or plum tree, growing your own fruit can make school lunches much more delicious. If you’re considering adding fruit trees to your landscape, Urban Tree & Landscape can help you identify the right species and varieties for your yard and help you place them in your urban forest so they get the sun they need without crowding out your other trees. Hardy Apple Trees With their beautiful springtime blooms, apple trees are a popular landscaping tree. With a little effort, they can provide a bounty of delicious fruits through the fall, too. Apple trees need approximately 8 hours of sun a day and another apple tree of a different variety (such as a crabapple tree) to produce fruit. Standard-sized trees grow as tall as 12 feet and take about 8 years to bear fruit. Dwarf trees are shorter and can bear fruit in as little as 2 years. The University of Minnesota has developed several Minnesota-hardy apple varieties, including Honeycrisp, Zestar!®, and Sweet Sixteen. Older varieties that grow well in the state include Cortland and Haralson. Minnesota-Hardy Pear Trees Like apple trees, pear trees produce show-stopping blooms in springtime and lots of fruit in fall. Pear trees tend to be easier to grow than apple trees, but take longer to produce fruit (up to 10 years) and grow taller. They also require another variety nearby for cross-pollination and fruit production. Pear tree varieties that grow well in Minnesota include Golden Spice, Summercrisp, and Ure. These varieties are ready for harvest in mid-to-late August, making them great choices to put in school lunches. Cold-Weather Plum Trees Plum trees are among the hardiest stone fruit trees. Plum trees bloom early in spring and produce fruit late July and early August. Most are approximately 15 feet tall and produce fruits between 2 and 5 years from planting. Like apple and pear trees, you will need to plant two different varieties of plum trees to produce fruit. The University of Minnesota recommends the Toka plum for our northern climate, but LeCrescent, Pipestone, and Underwood are also good varieties. If you prefer prune-type plums, the Mount Royal variety from Europe would be a good choice for your urban forest. Urban Tree & Landscape can help you select and maintain your fruit trees so they provide you with years of delicious fruit. Contact us today for help managing and maintaining your urban forest.