One of the nicest things about home ownership is the ability to keep a garden and produce food right in your own backyard. Unfortunately, many homeowners are reluctant to start food gardening because of the work and expertise involved. Some trees make a mess by dropping fruit all over the ground, others require chemical sprays to stave off pests, while still others require frequent pruning to keep fruit in reach and prevent disease. However, not all fruit trees are prone to these types of problems. Here are four of our favorite low-maintenance fruit trees that you can plant this spring.
Pawpaw trees are so easy to grow, you can find them in the wild throughout much of the eastern US. The trees produce beautiful fall colors and require little to no pruning, although you can always ask an arborist for help shaping up the lower branches. Pawpaw enthusiasts say that the soft fruit is reminiscent of tropical-flavored ice cream. While it’s rare to find pawpaw fruit in a store because of its short shelf life, this high-vitamin fruit freezes well and makes great smoothies.
For people who have only tasted dry figs, fresh figs straight from the tree are truly a treat. This easy-to-grow, Mediterranean native comes in a wide range of varieties, many of which are tolerant of freezing temperatures. You can plant figs outside or keep them as a house plant. Fig trees send up new shoots each year, which can be cut and propagated to create more trees or pruned back. The trees require very little fertilizer and produce best with minimal watering.
Cherry trees make a stunning addition to any home garden. There’s good reason why many cities have entire festivals devoted to these fragrant beauties. While traditionally cherries are large trees that are prone to dropping fruit, newer dwarf and shrub varieties make it easier to harvest all the fruit before it falls. Home gardeners with limited space should choose a variety that is self-pollinating to ensure an abundant harvest with only one tree.
The fruit of the jujube tastes like an apple, but are easier to grow and contain higher concentrations of vitamins and antioxidants. Jujube trees tolerate some freezing temperatures, but do best in warm, dry climates. These attractive trees can grow up over 30 feet, but also tolerate aggressive pruning by gardeners who want to keep the fruit in reach.
If you’ve always wanted to grow food in your own backyard, but didn’t know where to start, please consider planting one of these low-maintenance trees this spring. In no time at all, and with very little work, you’ll be enjoying fresh fruit from your very own trees.