Many of our favorite fruits bought at the grocery store are from evergreen trees, making them a very popular type to plant.
No doubt this is why you’re contemplating growing an evergreen variety over any other fruit tree type – but what exactly is an “evergreen” fruit tree?
What are evergreen fruit trees? Evergreen fruit trees are fruit-bearing trees that do not enter dormancy. In other words, they maintain their leaves and color all year round. While they do retain their foliage, they do not bear fruit year round; rather they have specific blooming periods when the fruit is harvested like any fruit tree.
While your favorite fruit might’ve inspired your initial decision, there are several factors to bear in mind before planting an evergreen fruit tree.
From your climate and yard space to the issue of pollination and cross-pollination, we’ll look at the need-to-know aspects of their care, plus the easiest types to grow, and more.
Evergreen Fruit Trees
Before you plant your favorite fruit tree, it’s good to learn about how evergreens differ from other fruit trees and the factors you’ll need to consider before purchasing one.
Difference Between Deciduous and Evergreen Trees
The term deciduous derives from the Latin word dēciduus meaning “to fall down/off,” so essentially, deciduous fruit trees shed their foliage and flowers every fall after their spring or summer blooming season.
They also bear broader and thinner (flatter) leaves.
Evergreen trees, meanwhile, do not shed their foliage, and they retain their thicker and more leathery green leaves all year round.
They also bear fruit for a longer period, especially in climates with consistently warm summers and mild winters. A hybrid mango variety has even been developed that can bear fruit three times a year!
What Fruit Trees Don’t Lose Their Leaves?
- Kiwi Berry
- Bay Laurels
- Pineapple Guava (Feijoa)
- Tropical Guava
Considerations Before Buying & Planting
Evergreen trees may look better for longer than deciduous types, but they’ll still falter without the appropriate care.
Here are a few things you’ll need to research before committing to your fruit tree – aspects from preferred climate to ideal growing needs.
Your Grow Zone
The seed packet or tag on your young fruit tree will normally specify which Grow Zone it will be best for.
Depending on which zone you live in on the USDA plant hardiness map, you may be able to grow heat-loving tropical varieties or those that prefer slightly cooler temperatures.
Here’s just some fruit trees and their recommended zones:
A fruit tree’s hardiness is its ability to survive through the winter and still flourish.
Evergreens will tolerate cool, not harsh, frosty winters, but some. like the cold-hardy pawpaws, can handle the chill better than others.
If you choose a less-cold-hardy variety, it’s important to know when frost is likely to occur in your area so you can plan ahead and put winter protection methods in place.
A tree is (potentially) for life. Since a healthy fruit tree could be with you for generations, it’s important to consider its final size and how quickly it matures.
The mature height and spread of the tree may invite other questions too such as:
- Is its root system invasive?
- Will it create too much shade in your yard?
- Will you have the space to spare (should you wish to plant another fruit tree)?
Specific Growing Requirements
Most evergreen fruit trees thrive in full sunlight and fertile free-draining soil, but others will prefer slightly shadier spots to bear fruit and may tolerate heavier clay mediums or those with a specific pH.
You should also note whether the tree prefers to be thoroughly watered or fares better with periods of drought if it is more susceptible to root rot.
Fertilizer is another key care aspect as potted versus ground-grown trees will need differing levels of NPK (Nitrogen/Phosphorus/Potassium) and organic fertilizer.
Organic fertilizer, though better for your fruit, will deliver fewer nutrients and may result in lower yields compared with synthetic forms.
An especially vital consideration when growing a fruit tree is whether or not it is a self-pollinating variety.
Self-pollinating or “self-fertile” fruit trees (including citrus, papaya, and loquat) can produce fruit without the need for cross-pollination and can be planted solo.
Others (like blueberry and pineapple guava) require a partner, sometimes of the same variety, to cross-pollinate in order for them to both produce fruit.
Upon purchase, your fruit tree should state whether it requires a pollinator, and most nurseries will provide pollination charts so you know which ones to partner.
TIP: You may also choose to grow an ornamental evergreen tree that won’t produce fruit, but they’ll grow stunning flowers that feed pollinators and are often faster growers compared to regular evergreens!
Certain fruit trees will produce fruit faster than others and much earlier in their lifetime too.
Take into account that dwarf fruit tree varieties may bear fruit in just 2-3 years while full-sized or “standard” trees can take 6-10 years.
Over time, you must be prepared to thoroughly prune and thin out your tree to encourage a better branch framework for fruit development.
You’ll also need to commit to a regimen of applying pest control and fungicide spray, particularly if they are vulnerable to certain diseases.
Also, don’t forget to clean up dropped, decayed fruit to prevent pest infestations and mold gathering around the soil/roots.
You can lay down a cheap plastic cloth to make the dropped fruit more visible and easier to collect.
Ease of Harvesting
Certain soft fruit varieties like blueberry and the semi-evergreen blackberry will be simpler to harvest as these can be picked straight from the vine lower to the ground.
Each fruit tree has different ripening times too, so depending on your orchard size and ambitions, you may decide to plant varieties with similar ripening periods or stagger your fruit harvest throughout the year.
Best Evergreen Fruit Trees To Try
Now you know what to look into when selecting a fruit tree, here are some of the easiest and most well-loved types to plant:
This bright-yellow fragrant variety produces oval fruit with tough, dimpled skin and requires ample water. Lemon trees also produce white and purple flowers and grow 10-20 feet tall.
Avocado trees are intolerant to frost and grow up to 60 feet tall. They produce pear-shaped fruit with rough dark green skin and grow best in California and Florida.
The Mediterranean-native olive tree loves climates with dry, hot summers and wet winters.
It reaches 20-30 feet tall and produces smooth and rounded or almond-shaped drupes that begin green before ripening to tannish-brown and black.
These require a lot of space, growing 30-45 feet tall and 50 feet wide. They produce fleshy fruit in an elongated oval shape with yellow to orange and green coloring.
Do You Need To Plant Fruit Trees in Pairs?
Not always, as some modern fruit tree varieties are self-fertile and won’t require a pollinating partner.
However, the majority will benefit from the cross-pollination of at least one other compatible tree. Check for neighboring trees in your area or consult a local nursery about your chosen variety.
Can You Plant Different Fruit Trees Next to Each Other?
Yes, planting a mix of fruit tree varieties together is encouraged, assuming each individual tree has adequate room to grow to its mature size.
Spacing is essential to ensure that pruning, spraying, and harvesting can be done without risking damage or disease to other fruit tree varieties.
Evergreen fruit trees maintain their gorgeous foliage and shape all year round, and there are many easy-to-grow varieties to choose from.
Just be sure to do your research when it comes to the perfect soil, sunlight needs, and more to get stellar results from your investment.
Once you’ve selected your ideal variety, you can make your neighbors evergreen with envy (sorry) by enjoying delicious home-grown fruit in your yard – not to mention having the bonus of a decorative privacy screen too!