Planting Fruit Trees Regionally: Fruit Trees For Pacific Northwest Region


If you’re looking for options for Pacific Northwest fruit trees, you will have plenty of choices. Most of this region has plentiful rainfall and mild summers, excellent conditions for growing many types of fruit trees.

Apples are a big export and likely the most common fruit trees grown in Washington State, but fruit trees for the Pacific Northwest range from apples to kiwis to figs in some areas.

Growing Fruit Trees in the Northwest

The Pacific Northwest borders the Pacific Ocean, the Rocky Mountains, the north coast of California, and up into southeastern Alaska. This means the climate varies somewhat from area to area, so not every fruit tree suited for one region of the Northwest is suited to another.

USDA zones 6-7a are next to the mountains and are the coldest areas of the Pacific Northwest. This means that tender fruits, such as kiwis and figs, shouldn’t be attempted unless you have a greenhouse. Avoid late ripening and early blooming varieties of fruit trees for this region.

Zones 7-8 through the Oregon Coast Range are milder than those in zone above. This means that options for fruit trees in this area are broader. That said, some areas of zones 7-8 have harsher winters so tender fruit should be grown in a greenhouse or heavily protected.

Other areas of zone 7-8 have warmer summers, lower rainfall, and mild winters, which means that fruit that takes longer to ripen can be grown here. Kiwi, figs, persimmons and long season grapes, peaches, apricots, and plums will thrive.

USDA zones 8-9 are near the coast which, although spared from the cold weather and extreme frost, has its own challenges. The heavy rain, fog, and wind can create fungal issues. The Puget Sound region, however, is inland farther and is an excellent area for fruit trees. Apricots, Asian pears, plums, and other fruit are suited to this area as are late grapes, figs, and kiwis.

USDA zones 8-9 can also be found in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains where overall temps are higher but summers are cooler than the Puget Sound which means varieties of fruit that ripen late should be avoided. That said, tender fruit such as fig and kiwi usually over winter.

In the Rogue River Valley (zones 8-7) summer temperatures warm sufficiently to ripen many types of fruit. Apples, peaches, pears, plums, and cherries thrive but avoid late ripening varieties. Kiwis and other tender subtropicals can be grown as well. This area is extremely dry so irrigation is needed.

Zones 8-9 along the coast of California down to San Francisco is quite mild. Most fruit will grow here including the tender subtropicals.

Choosing Fruit Trees for Pacific Northwest Regions

Since there are so many microclimates within these regions, choosing fruit trees in the Northwest can be challenging. Go to your local nursery and see what they have. They will generally be selling cultivars that are suited to your region. Also, ask your local extension office for recommendations.

There are thousands of apple varieties, again one of the most common fruit trees in Washington. Before you buy decide what you are looking for in the flavor of the apple, what your purpose is for the fruit (canning, eating fresh, drying, juicing), and consider disease resistant varieties.

Do you want a dwarf, semi-dwarf, or what? The same advice goes for any other fruit tree you are buying.

Look for bare root trees , as they cost less and you can easily see how healthy the root system looks. All fruit trees are grafted. The graft looks like a knob. When you plant your tree, be sure to keep the graft union above the level of the soil. Stake newly planted trees to help stabilize them until the roots establish.

Do you need a pollinator? Many fruit trees need a buddy to help with pollination.

Lastly, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, then you are aware of the wildlife. Deer can decimate trees and birds like cherries as much as you do. Take the time to protect your new fruit trees from wildlife with fencing or netting.


Apricots and Pluots in the Pacific Northwest?

posted 7 years ago

  • I'm wondering if anyone out there has had any luck growing apricots or pluots in the maritime Pacific Northwest (or similar climates such as Ireland or the UK).

    I have a Puget Gold apricot that I planted about 12 years ago and it has never had any fruit on it. The tree is large with lots of blossoms every March but it has serious problems with gummosis/bacterial canker and I've tried various remedies without much success. I have a Creswell apricot, too, it has borne small amounts of fruit in some years, but the tree has always had serious health problems with gummosis/canker as well. There is another apricot on my farm that was here when I moved in, it had small crops of fruit several years ago, but lately is has also gotten the same problems with gummosis/canker that the other two have. Of course, apricots bloom too early for a dependable crop in the Northwest where spring frost is a problem, but I imagine some varieties have more resistance to frost and bloom a bit later than others.

    I've had better luck with Flavor Supreme pluot. After opening up the canopy near this tree and pruning it heavily, it had a very nice large crop of delicious pluots last year. This tree is pollinated by Japanese plums. This tree bears fruit about every other year. It seems to be better adapted to our climate than regular apricots.

    I'd like to hear from anyone who has grown apricots and pluots in the Northwest, especially which varieties work best. I'd also like to buy or barter for some apricot and pluot seeds. I'm looking for Chinese Sweet Pit/Mormon, Harglow or Westley apricot seeds or any seeds from plum/peach or apricot crosses. I have peach seeds for trade. (I know I can buy grafted trees from Raintree or Burnt Ridge, but I'd like to grow some ungrafted ones from seed.)

    "In a fruit forest everyone is happy"- Sepp Holzer


    Pacific Northwest Edible Fruits

    By Xander Rose

    Hello, I'm Xander Rose, the orchard manager at Raintree Nursery.

    We grow and sell many types of plants of course. On the nursery are many wonderful fruiting native plants. There might be some where you live, too! I will be writing this blog all about fruit trees and bushes in the Pacific Northwest. I thought I'd start by highlighting some natives.

    There are many edible fruits native to the Pacific Northwest that are easy to grow.

    There’s an attractive bush that has fruit that tastes somewhat like blueberries. It's a native plant that Raintree offers named varieties of for sale. I'm referring to the native and low-maintenance saskatoon, also known as serviceberry, Canadian blueberry, or juneberry. That’s one of the problems with common names there can be many of them, adding to the confusion! Let’s try using the scientific name for the serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia. That second name in the scientific nomiker means alder-like leaves, just to share that trivia.

    What other great edible fruits grow wild as natives in the Pacific Northwest? There’s salal, (Gaultheria shallon), which is a hardy perennial groundcover or short bush with rich black berries. Native Americans got a lot of use out of those berries. Bumblebees love its flowers! Raintree offers salal. In the groundcover-type department, there are also kinnickinick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and native strawberries (Fragaria species), to name a couple. Some Rubus species include the caneberries: fresh orange salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis), delicious and unique-tasting blackcap raspberries (Rubus leucodermis), sweet trailing blackberries (Rubus ursinus), and more! Cascara or chitum (Rhamnus purshiana) is a small native tree with edible black berries that birds love, and human can eat, too. To round out the list, beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) produces edible nuts. Oregon crabapple (Malus fusca) has small sour fruits that could be used as a minority part in cider or other processed apple products.

    Looking for native, edible fruiting perennials on your property can provide clues as to what nonnative fruits might also grow well. For instance, there are many native huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.). Likely, where they grow well, so would blueberries (also genus Vaccinium).

    If native edibles already grow where an orchard will be established, then consider leaving them as habitat for native bees and other pollinating insects, as sources of food and shelter for birds (that may also feed on orchard insect pests), and as refuge for other beneficial wildlife, such as predatory insects. I love fruits in general, but I particularly appreciate natives. I would add the small caveat that certain native fruiting planta could be a source of pests on your planted fruit trees. For instance, at home I may have a minor problem with tent caterpillars spreading from native crabapples. It's not a big deal though.

    Raintree grows native fruiting plants that could do very well in most Northwest yards and gardens. Those include salal, evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), and serviceberry.


    Happy growing! Because, after all, change is the only constant. -Xander Rose

    Native Edible Fruiting Plants of the Pacific Northwest

    By Xander Rose

    Hello, I'm Xander Rose, the orchard manager at Raintree Nursery.

    We grow and sell many types of plants of course. On the nursery are many wonderful fruiting native plants. There might be some where you live, too! I will be writing this blog all about fruit trees and bushes in the Pacific Northwest. I thought I'd start by highlighting some natives.

    There are many edible fruits native to the Pacific Northwest that are easy to grow.

    There’s an attractive bush that has fruit that tastes somewhat like blueberries. It's a native plant that Raintree offers named varieties of for sale. I'm referring to the native and low-maintenance saskatoon, also known as serviceberry, Canadian blueberry, or juneberry. That’s one of the problems with common names there can be many of them, adding to the confusion! Let’s try using the scientific name for the serviceberry: Amelanchier alnifolia . That second name in the scientific nomiker means alder-like leaves, just to share that trivia.

    What other great edible fruits grow wild as natives in the Pacific Northwest? There’s salal, (Gaultheria shallon), which is a hardy perennial groundcover or short bush with rich black berries. Native Americans got a lot of use out of those berries. Bumblebees love its flowers! Raintree offers salal. In the groundcover-type department, there are also kinnickinick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and native strawberries (Fragaria species), to name a couple. Some Rubus species include the caneberries: fresh orange salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis), delicious and unique-tasting blackcap raspberries (Rubus leucodermis), sweet trailing blackberries (Rubus ursinus), and more! Cascara or chitum (Rhamnus purshiana) is a small native tree with edible black berries that birds love, and human can eat, too. To round out the list, beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) produces edible nuts. Oregon crabapple (Malus fusca) has small sour fruits that could be used as a minority part in cider or other processed apple products.

    Looking for native, edible fruiting perennials on your property can provide clues as to what nonnative fruits might also grow well. For instance, there are many native huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.). Likely, where they grow well, so would blueberries (also genus Vaccinium).

    If native edibles already grow where an orchard will be established, then consider leaving them as habitat for native bees and other pollinating insects, as sources of food and shelter for birds (that may also feed on orchard insect pests), and as refuge for other beneficial wildlife, such as predatory insects. I love fruits in general, but I particularly appreciate natives. I would add the small caveat that certain native fruiting planta could be a source of pests on your planted fruit trees. For instance, at home I may have a minor problem with tent caterpillars spreading from native crabapples. It's not a big deal though.

    Raintree grows native fruiting plants that could do very well in most Northwest yards and gardens. Those include salal, evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), and serviceberry.

    Happy growing! Because, after all, change is the only constant. -Xander Rose


    Growing paw paws in Pacific Northwest

    posted 1 year ago
    • 2

  • I am interested in advice on several aspects of paw paw cultivation.

    (1) Producing paw paw fruit. I live on a small island off Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. The winters here are mild (usually rainy from October through April with temperatures dipping to just above freezing, with 1-3 weeks of snow and freezing temperatures) so I am not concerned about winter survival, but summers are cool and I'm not sure there is enough heat to reliably ripen the fruit. The summers here are long, dry, and sunny, but daytime temperatures are often only about 20-25 C (about 70 F) with maybe a week getting up closer to 30 C (about 80 F).

    I know that at least one fruit aficionado on Vancouver Island has them successfully fruiting in his backyard garden (Bob Duncan of Fruit Trees and More) but he has them espaliered against a south-facing wall in an intensive fruit tree situation. I am hoping to produce fruit with paw paws planted in the understory under sweet chestnuts, similar to the mixed chestnut and paw paw setup that they are using at Red Fern Farm in Iowa. However, I am concerned that the shading effect of the chestnuts might reduce the heat units to the paw paws even more. In their native habitat they do well in shade, but it is a heck of a lot warmer in summer there. Do they need a minimum temperature to ripen, or a certain cumulative number of heat units?

    (2) Overwintering very young seedlings. I bought seeds from England's Orchard in Kentucky last spring and asked for the shortest-season seeds they had. So far I have about a dozen that have germinated and are growing outside in pots. They are pretty small, only a few inches tall and with about 4-6 leaves. I am not sure whether I should leave them out in pots for the winter, perhaps in my unheated 'greenhouse' (it's one of those semi-opaque garage shelters that I use for tomatoes and other plants that need more heat or extended season), versus bringing them into a cool room in the house. I wonder if the latter would be safer, and maybe even allow them to grow a bit more over the winter. So far they have not dropped any leaves for the winter and it is about 7-10 C out there (45-50 F).

    (3) Seed germination. More than half of the seeds I planted this past spring/early summer did not germinate this year. I'm guessing maybe a 20% germination rate? They were stratified by the grower so in theory should have been ready to sprout when I got them. Someone at the NNGA/NAFEX meeting suggested that they might need warmer germination temperatures than what I had here (I had them in the warmest microclimate available outside, but see note above about summer temperatures). Should I leave the unsprouted pots outside overwinter for another winter of stratification in hopes of some sprouting next year, or if they have not already sprouted are they basically done? I don't think they dried out at any time, not sure what the normal germination rate might be or how long the seeds might last following planting. Another option would be to bring them into the warmest spot in the house, which would be near the wood stove, in hopes of getting enough heat for a successful late germination of the non-starters.

    Thanks in advice for any insights or suggestions. - Andrea

    Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    posted 1 year ago
    • 4

  • Andrea Locke wrote: I am interested in advice on several aspects of paw paw cultivation.

    (1) Producing paw paw fruit. I live on a small island off Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. The winters here are mild (usually rainy from October through April with temperatures dipping to just above freezing, with 1-3 weeks of snow and freezing temperatures) so I am not concerned about winter survival, but summers are cool and I'm not sure there is enough heat to reliably ripen the fruit. The summers here are long, dry, and sunny, but daytime temperatures are often only about 20-25 C (about 70 F) with maybe a week getting up closer to 30 C (about 80 F).

    I know that at least one fruit aficionado on Vancouver Island has them successfully fruiting in his backyard garden (Bob Duncan of Fruit Trees and More) but he has them espaliered against a south-facing wall in an intensive fruit tree situation. I am hoping to produce fruit with paw paws planted in the understory under sweet chestnuts, similar to the mixed chestnut and paw paw setup that they are using at Red Fern Farm in Iowa. However, I am concerned that the shading effect of the chestnuts might reduce the heat units to the paw paws even more. In their native habitat they do well in shade, but it is a heck of a lot warmer in summer there. Do they need a minimum temperature to ripen, or a certain cumulative number of heat units?

    (2) Overwintering very young seedlings. I bought seeds from England's Orchard in Kentucky last spring and asked for the shortest-season seeds they had. So far I have about a dozen that have germinated and are growing outside in pots. They are pretty small, only a few inches tall and with about 4-6 leaves. I am not sure whether I should leave them out in pots for the winter, perhaps in my unheated 'greenhouse' (it's one of those semi-opaque garage shelters that I use for tomatoes and other plants that need more heat or extended season), versus bringing them into a cool room in the house. I wonder if the latter would be safer, and maybe even allow them to grow a bit more over the winter. So far they have not dropped any leaves for the winter and it is about 7-10 C out there (45-50 F).

    (3) Seed germination. More than half of the seeds I planted this past spring/early summer did not germinate this year. I'm guessing maybe a 20% germination rate? They were stratified by the grower so in theory should have been ready to sprout when I got them. Someone at the NNGA/NAFEX meeting suggested that they might need warmer germination temperatures than what I had here (I had them in the warmest microclimate available outside, but see note above about summer temperatures). Should I leave the unsprouted pots outside overwinter for another winter of stratification in hopes of some sprouting next year, or if they have not already sprouted are they basically done? I don't think they dried out at any time, not sure what the normal germination rate might be or how long the seeds might last following planting. Another option would be to bring them into the warmest spot in the house, which would be near the wood stove, in hopes of getting enough heat for a successful late germination of the non-starters.

    Thanks in advice for any insights or suggestions. - Andrea

    In your neck of the woods the warmest micro climate you have or can create combined with the most adapted seed genetics are going to be your best bet. I would keep them in full sun if you have extra rock, surround the trees, and if possible create a south facing horse shoe micro climate. I would get seeds from Bobs earliest producers vs seed from Kentucky and/or grafted cultivars. On the paw paws extended growing range it’s all about the regional seedling genetics, which will keep adapting.

    I would not over winter paw paws outside anywhere it touches freezing. The fleshy paw paw root will die if frozen in pots. In the unheated greenhouse sounds fine but I would heavily mulch around the pots- here in our cold midatlantic winters I create a square of strawbales then which I put all my potted paw paws inside and cover with wood chips for the winter, an unheated garage will work as well- but they do need dormancy.

    Properly handled paw paw seed can be in the 90% range for germination, moisture and cold for 90 days I germinate my seeds on a heated seed mat or at indoor room temps. I detail my process well in my book.
    Maybe we’ll come visit you one day, we love your part of the world.

    I’m thinking it might be Bob, that I read uses seaweed to heavily mulch his paw paws.


    PUBLISHERS WEEKLY DEC 3, 2018

    Food writer Weaver (Orchard House) combines a horticultural guide and culinary treasure chest between the covers of one instructive book. Focusing on fruits and berries some common (strawberries, apples), other exotic (quince, lingonberries) the text runs through how to prepare jams, curds, and sauces while starting from the ground up, literally. Highlighting soil maintenance and plant placement, Weaver discusses planting, cultivating, and harvesting, all with an eye to creating preserves. "Unlike vegetable gardens that need to be weeded and watered, fruit trees spend a lot of time taking care of themselves," she notes, observing that with proper maintenance, these plants can easily thrive beyond the farmer's lifetime. The catch is, the book focuses on growing in particular regions of the Pacific Northwest where the damp winters and mild summers provide optimal fruit-growing conditions. This makes the book a must-have in those areas, and a non-must elsewhere. But farmers everywhere will learn and benefit from Weaver's wide scope of knowledge.


    Watch the video: Container Gardening Fruit Tree Orchard For A Small Space


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