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11 Best Fruit Trees for West Virginia for Bountiful Harvests


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Fruit trees are a rewarding addition to any landscape or home orchard. But the wrong selection can lead to years of stunted growth and no fruit. 

There are a few factors to consider when planting fruit trees in West Virginia, or anywhere for that matter. 

  • Climate – West Virginia has a humid continental climate which allows it to grow various temperate fruits such as apples, peaches, plumscherriespears, etc. 
  • Soil Type – In most parts of the state, the soil, characterized as Monongahela, is well-draining, loamy, and mineral-rich. These characteristics are also favorable for growing fruit trees. 
  • Precipitation – For healthy growth, most fruit trees need about an inch or so of rainfall each week. The state averages anywhere from 36 – 52 inches of rain, with most of the state getting about 52 inches annually.
  • Growing zones – The state falls between growing zones 5a in the highest elevations to 7a. 

The following list includes fruit trees well-suited for West Virginia’s climate, soil type, precipitation, and hardiness zones

11 Excellent Fruit Trees To Grow in West Virginia

1. American Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis) – Native Tree

American elderberry
Image by oatsy40 via Flickr

Elderberry is native to West Virginia and has both culinary and medicinal value. Elderberry is reported to be good for boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation. In particular, it is possibly effective for treating the flu. 

The white flowers and the fruit are edible, with the flowers being much more pleasant than the fruit. Flowers have a honey-like smell, a crunchy and juicy texture, and a subtle floral taste. 

The deep red to purple fruits do not taste good – tart, bitter, and earthy. Many people avoid eating raw elderberries and prefer using them for cooking which tends to bring out the sweetness. 

Elderberry can grow into a shrub or a small tree. It does well in cool and moist locations. Full sun is better for maximum flowering and fruiting, but partial shade is also acceptable. Proper drainage is vital to prevent root rot. Overall, it is an easy tree to maintain. 

Other Common Names: American elder, Wild elderberry, Common elderberry

Growing Zones:  3 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 30 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Harvest Season: Summer

2. American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) – Native Tree

American Persimmon
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

American persimmon fruits range from bright orange and yellow to sometimes red or blue. The fully ripened fruit has a soft and smooth, even jelly-like texture, with a honey-like sweetness. The flavor indeed is richly sweet.

Native to West Virginia and most southeastern United States, American plum is also an attractive mid-sized landscape tree. It has shiny and drooping large leaves and dark checkered bark. In the fall, the leaves get a similar color to the fruit, a deep red or crimson shade. In some varieties, fruits cling to the tree well after the leaves are gone. 

American persimmons have a long harvest season. They provide fruits long after other fruit trees do. Some varieties, such as ‘Deer Luscious’ ripen in September while others, such as ‘Deer Magnet’ ripen well into the winter. 

Most varieties of American persimmon will do incredibility well in West Virginia’s zone 7. They have the perfect climate and conditions for this fruit tree. But for those in zones 5 and 6, the ‘Yates’ cultivar is a better choice for hardiness.  

Other Common Names: Common Persimmon, Eastern Permission, Simmon, Possumwood, Possum apples, Sugar plum

Growing Zones:  5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 feet tall, and 25 – 30 feet wide

Flowering Season: Late Spring

Harvest Season: September – February

Varieties Suitable for West Virginia: Yates, Deer Luscious Persimmon, Full Draw Persimmon, Deer Candy, Meader, Deer Magent

3. American Plum (Prunus americana) – Native Tree

American Plum
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

American plum is a valuable fruit tree for you and your local wildlife. The small fruits (1 – 2 inches wide) can be yellow, pink, red, or purplish. In most cases, they are yellow with red blush. The skin is thick and very tart, but the flesh has a tasty and easy-to-love sweet flavor.

Flowering starts at around three years of age, which is relatively quick. The sweet-smelling white blossoms appear in spring and are abundant. Also, these flowers attract bees which make tasty honey with them. 

However, some report that their American plum trees produce many flowers but no fruit. This is primarily due to a lack of pollination or late frosts. To prevent this from happening, it is better to plant multiple trees, as they are not large trees. 

American plum does greet in full sun and will have no problems adapting to West Virginia’s soils. 

Other Common Names: Wild plum

Growing Zones:  3 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 25 feet tall, and 10 feet wide

Flowering Season: Mid to late Spring

Harvest Season: Mid to late Summer

Varieties Suitable for West Virginia: Marshall

4. Apple (Malus spp) – Non- Native Tree

Apple Tree
Image by Brendan Riley via Flickr

Apples are common in WV’s orchards and backyards because they are easy to grow there. There are so many varieties of apple trees, each with unique tastes and features. Below are the characteristics of the best apple trees for WV. 

  • State Fair – Medium-sized fruit that is juicy and sweet but tart. This is the best variety for baking, canning, and sauces. 
  • TriumphTM– Trees produce fragrant spring blooms that turn into round green fruit with a red blush. Apples have a firm texture and a tart flavor and store well. They are great for baking or eating fresh. 
  • Freedom – The variety is most resistant to the wide range of diseases affecting apples. Fruits are medium to large and bright red with yellow flecks. Its apples are juicy and crisp with a sweet-tart flavor. 
  • Ruby Mac McIntosh – These red fruits have a sweet yet tart flavor with white flesh. The taste is sweet, tart, and juicy, and when harvested later even sweeter. 

Regardless of your choice, apples prefer full sun and well-drained fertile soils. 

Growing Zones:  5 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: Standard varieties reach 30 feet tall with a similar spread and dwarf varieties start at 6 feet tall with a similar spread.

Flowering Season: Spring

Harvest Season: Fall

Varieties Suitable for West Virginia: State Fair, Triumph, Freedom, Ruby Mac McIntosh, Buckeye Gala, Gibson Yellow Delicious

5. Bosc Pear (Pyrus communis ‘Bosc’) – Non-Native Tree

Bosc Pear
Image by Apple and Pear Australia Ltd via Flickr

This popular grocery store pear is easy to grow at home.

Bosc pears are sweeter and more flavorful earlier in the ripening process than other pear varieties. Before their flesh has fully softened, you can still enjoy a Bosc pear with its honey-sweetness and juiciness.

This tree has the nickname “Winter Pear” since its fruit ripens after the Autumnal Equinox.

Bosc pears are fast growers, gaining more than 24″ in height yearly. Also, it can take them about four years to bear fruit.

Bosc pear thrives in soil that is deep, heavy, slightly acidic, moist (but well-drained), and moist. Other types of soil are acceptable, but the crop may be lighter.

Growing Zones:  4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 20 feet tall with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Harvest Season: Fall

6. Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) – Native Tree

Canadian Serviceberry
Image by Andrey Zharkikh via Flickr

Not enough gardeners are planting this native fruit tree, but they should. It produces tasty blueberry-looking fruit that is excellent fresh in desserts, jam, or wine. Some report that it tastes like a mix of strawberry, blueberry, and a touch of almond – so delightful!

If you don’t like the taste of the fruit, it also makes a gorgeous ornamental flowering tree with its white spring blossoms. After the blooms appear, oval green leaves follow. These leaves turn to an attractive orange-red in the fall.

Planting fruit trees is usually discouraged for those with wet or poorly draining soil. But the unique Canadian serviceberry grows best in areas with wet soil. Also, it grows well in either full or partial sun exposure – at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day.

Other Common Names: Bilberry, Chuckle-berry, Currant-tree, Juneberry, Shad-blow serviceberry, Shad-blow, Shadbush, Shadbush serviceberry, Sugarplum, Thicket serviceberry

Growing Zones:  3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 25 feet tall and 10 – 15 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

Harvest Season: Early summer

7. Sweet Cherry Tree (Prunus avium) – Non-Native Tree

Cherry Tree
Image by Christos Loufopoulos via Flickr

Sweet cherry varieties are widely available at nurseries and are suitable for both fruiting and ornamental planting, thanks to their lovely white flowers. 

Most sweet cherry trees are self-sterile. So, for fruiting, they are often planted in clusters so they may pollinate. If space is a concern, consider these varieties:

  • Lapins: Self-fertile, semi-dwarf plants that provide an abundance of black fruits. 
  • Stella: A dwarf, self-pollinating variety that has fruits that have a deep red color. 

When harvesting sweet cherries, timing is everything. If you pick them too early, they won’t be as sweet as they could be, and if you pick them too late, they’ll be too mushy. The fruit’s sugar content significantly rises during the final days of ripening.

Sweet cherry trees do best in a sunny, protected location with enough airflow. They thrive in deep, moist soils and dislike intense heat. 

Sadly, several illnesses affect sweet cherry trees. Foliar fungicides can be used to control fungi that cause disease like leaf spots and rust. Blight, canker, and powdery mildew are other potential issues. Many of these issues can be avoided with good air circulation.

Other Common Names: Wild cherry, Gean, Bird Cherry

Growing Zones:  4 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 25 feet tall with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Harvest Season: Early Summer

Varieties Suitable for West Virginia: Lapins, Stella, Carmine Jewel, Romeo, Early Richmond

8. Fig Tree (Ficus carica) – Non-Native Tree

Fig Tree
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Figs have a sweet and honey-like taste. The flesh is soft and squishy with tiny crunchy seeds. Some ripe figs are green, purple, or brown. Color and the level of sweetness vary based on cultivar and climate. Among the varieties for WV, Celeste is the sweetest. In general, hot and dry summer produces sweeter fruit.

Although all varieties of figs grow well in zones 8 and above, this delicious fruit is an excellent addition to any sized WV landscape.

There are varieties hardy enough for the state’s winters that are easy to grow and provide tasty fruit, such as ‘Chicago,’ ‘Celeste,’ and ‘Brown Turkey.’ The latter produces two crops of large fruit in a single year, though not as sweet.

Caring for fig trees is easy; they just need lots of sun (at least six hours) and well-drained soil. They do not require much attention most of the year and will happily produce fruits each season without a fuss.

In the colder regions of WV, it is best to give heavy mulch to the base of the tree after going dormant in the fall.

Other Common Names: Common fig

Growing Zones:  5 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 30 feet tall with a similar spread

Harvest Season: Late summer through fall

Varieties Suitable for West Virginia: Chicago, Celeste, Brown Turkey

9. Methley Plum (Prunus salicina) – Non-Native Tree

Methley Plum
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Methley plum is a cultivar of the Japanese plum. They are more vigorous, disease resistant, and produce more flowers than the more common European plums. But since Methley plum is self-fertile, it makes a good pollinator for Japanese varieties.

One drawback of this plum is that they bloom early, making them susceptible to late spring frosts. The lovely white flowers can appear as early as February.

After 2 – 4 years, the tree produces a heavy annual crop of juicy, red, and purple fruit. The mildly sweet flesh is suitable for fresh eating and jelly.

Methley plum need full sun – at least six hours of direct sunlight. Also, it tolerates a wide variety of soil types, with some tolerance for heavy and waterlogged soils.

Other Common Names: Japanese plum, Cherry plum

Growing Zones:  5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: Standard varieties average20 feet tall with an equal spread while dwarf varieties average 8 – 10 feet tall with an equal spread

Flowering Season: Late winter through early spring

Harvest Season: Late May through early July

10. Mulberry (Morus spp) – Native Tree

Mulberry
Image by Paul Sableman via Flickr

Mulberries resemble blackberries in shades of deep purple, crimson, black, or even white. Like many berries, they have a tangy and sweet flavor but what makes them unique is the slightly woody flavor. 

The flavor of the white mulberry, or Morus alba, is similar to watermelon. The black mulberry, Morus nigra, has the strongest flavor of all the mulberries, while the red mulberry, or Morus Rubra, has a delightfully tangy flavor. Mature mulberry fruits are delicate and juicy.

They bloom in West Virginia from the middle of April through the start of summer. Trees have an abundant harvest in mid-summer. 

Mulberry trees are easy to grow. They thrive in both full sun and light shade. As long as the drains well, mulberry trees can easily tolerate clay, loam, and sandy soil.

Mulberry trees have extremely active, quickly expanding roots. Avoid planting your tree far from critical features like utility, septic, or sewage lines, as well as crucial buildings, to avoid damage to essential components of your property.

Other Common Names: Silkworm mulberry, Common mulberry

Growing Zones:  4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 60 feet tall with a spread of 20 – 40 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

Varieties Suitable for West Virginia: White mulberry, Red mulberry, Black mulberry, Korean mulberry

11. Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) – Native Tree

Pawpaw
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

You can find pawpaw trees growing wild throughout West Virginia. At first sight, the fruit looks like a mango, but of course, mango trees don’t grow in this state.

Not only do they look like mangos, but they also taste a bit like mangos but more like bananas. The sweet custard-like flavor is excellent for pies, bread, jelly, ice cream, or eaten fresh. 

Pawpaw trees are ready to harvest from mid-August through September. Pawpaws bloom later than apples, peaches, and pears; they are less vulnerable to flower damage and future crop loss from late frosts than most fruits. As such, pawpaws provide a sustainable source of fruit year after year. 

Pawpaws grow best in more acidic, fertile, wet, and well-drained soils. Pawpaw can handle some shade but thrives in direct sunshine as long as it gets adequate water and is shielded from strong winds. 

Other Common Names: American pawpaw, paw paw, paw-paw

Growing Zones:  5 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 15 feet tall with similar height and width

Harvest Season: Mid – August through September

Planting native and non-native fruit trees in WV

When planting fruit trees in West Virginia, you can choose between native and non-native fruits. West Virginia’s temperate cold hardiness zones allow landscapers to enjoy many types and cultivars of fruit trees. 

The advantage of native fruits is that they support local wildlife and, in some cases, adapt quickly to the local environmental conditions. One of the native fruits is the pawpaw, which has a unique tropical flavor and is easy to grow. 

On the other hand, some non-native fruits such as applessweet cherriesMethley plumsfigs, and bosc pears, are supermarket staples you can conveniently grow at home. In most cases, with the correct soil and sun exposure, these non-native trees are easy to grow in WV. 

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