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10 Best Fruit Trees to Grow In Idaho for Reliable Harvests


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Growing your own food is one of the most radical acts you can do these days. Not only do you get to eat food that’s leaps and bounds tastier than anything you could ever buy, but it’ll also have a much higher nutritional profile.

You can also choose to grow your fruit organically which amongst the numerous benefits for yourself and the earth will also greatly reduce your carbon footprint.

Store-bought fruit are often varieties chosen because they ship well and not necessarily for taste or nutrition. Growing your own fruit allows you to experiment with different heirloom varieties and experience a whole world of new tastes, and textures.

Be sure to check your exact planting zone in Idaho beforehand to get acquainted with what may grow in your area.

10 Excellent Fruit Trees That Grow Well in Idaho

1. Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)

Apricots growing on a branch of an Apricot Tree
Image by Malcolm Manners via Flickr

Apricots can be grown in Idaho and won’t be troubled too much by the heat or humidity. All stone fruit can be grown in ID, but apricots are often the most successful. However, apricots are one of the earliest blooming fruit trees so can be damaged by late frosts, snow, and wind, so be sure to plant a variety that flowers after your usual last frost date.

Apricot trees are also fairly small in size, so can be grown by urban dwellers without a lot of space to spare. They aren’t tolerant of extreme cold, so may require some winter protection in the coldest areas. Apricots are self-fruitful so don’t need another tree for cross-pollination.

Other Common Names: Armenian Plum, Siberian Apricot, Tibetan Apricot

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Idaho: Goldrich, Canadian White Blenheim, Tomcot, Moorpark, Harglow

Flowering Season: Early spring

2. Apple (Malus domestica)

Apples growing on an Apple tree
Image by Brad Greenlee via Flickr

Apples can be grown in Idaho and there are a range of different varieties for you to choose from. Apples are dioecious, meaning they’re not self-fertile, so you’ll need more than one variety that flowers at the same time for cross-pollination to ensure a harvest.

They’ll need to be spaced 15-20 ft from one another. Planting native flowers to encourage pollinators will increase your chances of a bountiful harvest.

Apples are a top food producing tree and are the hardiest fruit tree and are one of the few fruit trees than can grow throughout the state including in the north.

Other Common Names: Apple Tree

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Idaho: Honeycrisp, Honeygold, MacIntosh, Golden Delicious, Lodi, Sweet 16, Zestar!, Gravenstein, Red Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala, Snow, Antonovka, Cortland, Duchess of Oldenburg, Earligold, Empire, Fireside, Freedom, Haralred, Haralson, Hazen, Jonathon, Liberty, , MacFree, Macoun, McIntosh Mor-Spur, McIntosh Spur, Northern Lights, Paulared, Rambo Red Summer, Red Fireside, Redwell, Regent, Spartan, State Fair, Summer Rambo, Summerred, Wealthy, Wolf River, Yellow Transparent

Flowering Season: Spring

3. Peach (Prunus persica)

Peach growing on a Peach tree
Image by Peter Stenzel via Flickr

Peaches are generally poorly adapted to the coldest areas of northern, central, and eastern Idaho growing conditions, but can be grown in large parts of ID where there aren’t such extreme temperatures. This is due to the fact that they bloom early in the season and the blooms are easily damaged by frost or snow.

Southwestern Idaho gardeners may have the best luck with growing peaches but gardeners in other regions may also have success some years. Peaches are self-fertile so won’t need cross-pollination to ensure a harvest. Plant in free-draining soil with plenty of sunlight, and avoid low-lying frost-prone areas.

Other Common Names: Peach tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Idaho: Elberta, Harken, Reliance, Red Haven

Flowering Season: Early spring

4. Nectarines (Prunus persica var. nucipersica)

Nectarines growing on a Nectarine tree
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Nectarines are hairless versions of peaches and, like peaches can thrive in the more moderate areas of ID. Nectarines, like peaches, are incredibly fast-growing and can provide an abundant harvest after just a few years. Nectarines thrive in the heat and will produce juicier, sweeter fruit with warm spring and summer temperatures.

Plant in free-draining soil in full sun, away from cool low-lying areas.

Other Common Names: Nectarine Tree, Hairless Peach

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Idaho: Fantasia, Mericrest, Arctic Star, Heavenly White

Flowering Season: Early spring

5. Pear (Pyrus communis)

Pears growing on a Pear tree
Image by manuel m. v via Flickr

Fresh pears can be enjoyed fresh, cooked, preserved, and in numerous other types of preparations. Pears are generally not self-fertile so will require more than one variety that flowers at the same time for cross-pollination. Pear trees are generally tall with upright branching and a pyramidal shape.

Asian Pears generally won’t fare well in ID.

Other Common Names: Common Pear, and European Pear

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Idaho: Bartlett, Red D’Anjou, Comice Pear, Warren, Seckel, Golden Spice, Parker, Summercrisp

Flowering Season: March-May

6. Plum (Prunus domestica)

Plums growing on a Plum tree
Image by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson via Flickr

Plums can be either self-fertile or dioecious (having male or female trees) so be sure to check before deciding on a variety. Plums are versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in numerous ways, including fresh, dried into prunes, made into plum sauce or numerous types of other preserves.

Plums will thrive where winters and spring are relatively warm. Plant in well-drained soil to avoid root rot. They are small sized trees and this alongside their preference for warmth makes them suited for urban planting.

The majority of plums in Idaho are produced in Canyon, Payette and Gem counties, according to Idaho Preferred.

Other Common Names: European Plum, Common Plum

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 18-20 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Idaho: Empress, Friar, Simka, Presidential, Fortune

Flowering Season: Late winter/early spring

7. Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium)

Sweet Cherries
Image by hedera.baltica via Flickr

Sweet cherries are only slightly cold hardy, and the buds will be injured with temperatures close to -20 °F. As such, reliable production in northern Idaho over the long term is doubtful, and questionable in southeastern and central ID.

There are parts of Western Idaho where sweet cherries are commercially grown, according to University of Idaho Extension. Trees also routinely suffer sun scald.

Most cultivars of sweet cherry require cross pollination. Stella is the most cold-hardy sweet cherry and is often used for cross pollination for many other varieties.

Other Common Names: Wild Cherry, Bird Cherry

Growing Zones: 4-7

Average Size at Maturity: 30-35 ft tall and 20-25 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Idaho: Hartland, Hedelfingen, Napoleon, Hudson, Stark Gold, Sam, Starkrimson, Van, Bing, Chelan, Rainer

Flowering Season: Beginning of spring

8. Sour Cherry (Prunus cerasus)

Sour Cherry Tree flowering
Image by wikixexo via Flickr

Sour Cherry trees are hardier than sweet cherries and can withstand temperatures down to -40 °F and are easier to grow in Idaho. The fruit are perfect for making desserts and pastries. Most sour cherries are self-fruitful so you only need one tree or cultivar for fruit production.

Sour cherries prefer moist, well-drained soil. They have a greater tolerance to waterlogged soil than sweet cherries do.

Other Common Names: Tart Cherry, Dwarf Cherry

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 12-18 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Idaho: Meteor, Montmorency, North Star

Flowering Season: Early spring

9. Dapple Dandy Pluot (Prunus salicina x armeniaca)

Pluots are complex interspecific hybrids between Japanese plums (Prunus salicina) (75%) and apricots (Prunus armeniaca) (25%.) Dapple Dandy Pluots have a large and firm fruit with a mottled skin color, and a reddish pinkish flesh. The flavor is said to have a pleasing balance of acidity and sweetness.

Dapple Dandy Pluots are commercially grown in the southwest of ID, so if you live in this region chances are you can grow these in your own yard.

Other Common Names: Apricot/Plum cross

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and wide

Flowering Season: Spring

10. Everbearing Mulberry (Morus nigra)

Morus Nigra with ripe mulberries on it
Image by Cataloging Nature via Flickr

The Everbearing Mulberry produces an abundance of nutritionally dense fruit throughout the summer months. If you’re a fan on blackberries, chances are you’ll love the taste of black mulberries, which are sweeter and juicier.

Everbearing mulberries ripen over an extended period and not all at once, allowing you to spread out the harvest and not have to process so much fruit all at once.

Everbearing mulberries are extremely fast growing trees and can provide shade quickly. There are also incredibly hardy, tolerating extreme heat, drought, cold, poor soils and pollution, making them suited for inner cities. The black mulberry is smaller than the white mulberry (Morus alba) with a more regular crown and the fruit are smaller, juicier and ripen sooner.

Other Common Names: Black Mulberry

Growing Zones: 4-10

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 35-50 ft wide

Flowering Season: May – June

Grow Real Fruit

You haven’t really tasted fruit until you’ve tasted one that’s grown locally and allowed to ripen fully on the tree.

The flavor is unlike anything you can buy at the grocery store, and once you know how a fruit should really taste, you’ll find it hard to go back to commercial fruit.

Despite the short growing season of ID there are plenty of fruit trees you can grow.

Just be sure to select a variety that will survive your particular microclimate so you and your family can reap the benefits for years to come.

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