Before you grab that fruit tree that’s on sale at Home Depot, make sure it’s a good fit for your zone, otherwise you may be calling us in just a couple years to help you pull out a dead tree. To understand what fruits grow best for your location, you’ll want to know what hardiness zone you live in. Utah is considered to be in hardiness zone 5 to 7, but we know that the climate varies greatly between St. George and Logan. Here are some good options for fruit growers all over the state.
Apples: Apple trees are great for Utah because they are very cold hardy. Popular varieties include granny, red delicious, and honeycrisp. They love Utah’s cold spring and fall, and unlike other fruit, they can even grow when there is snow or frost that lingers a little longer than we’d want in the spring. They’re easy to grow, don’t require fertilizers or heavy waterings, and usually needs very little pruning. Apple trees also have a heavy harvest, and you should have sweet, crisp apples ready to pick from August through November. You do need to watch out for pests, insects, and diseases, however, and if you notice your tree is struggling, address it quickly.
Pears: Pear trees are also cold hardy, and they are a great complement to apple trees. Popular varities include bartlett, kieffer, and anjou. Pears are also heat-resistant and generally are able to survive just fine during drought times. It’s an adaptive tree, and some people even grow them in containers on their balcony. Be aware of insects and overly wet conditions.
Plums: Most fruit trees can tolerate heat, but plum trees actually prefer it. Popular varieties include french, damson, and friar. Plum trees are so hardy that they are resistant to almost all insects and diseases. They are perfect for small spaces because they typically don’t get bigger than about 10 feet high. Be mindful od pests like deer and squirrels and overly wet or shady conditions.
Peaches: Peach trees like the heat even more than plum trees. Hot summer generally produce more fruit. Popular varieties include reliance, redhaven, and white. Peach trees are good for vertical gardens because they don’t grow very wide, and they are quick growers bearing fruit within a couple years of planting. Pay attention to especially cold winters, as they won’t do well if temperatures hit below 10 degrees consistently. You also want to watch for diseases such as mold and blight.
Some other notable fruit trees that do well in Utah include cherry, fig, nectarine, apricot, mulberry, and lemon. When you are faced with decision time, ensure the fruit tree that you choose can handle the heat and drought in the summer and the cold temperatures in the winter. You’ll also need to consider the placement of the tree in your yard, the hardiness against pests and insects, and how much maintenance will be required. Fruit trees will require a little extra TLC, but the delicious snack they produce will make it worth it.