What Fruit Trees Grow In Massachusetts?


If you are a Massachusetts gardener, you might want to plant some fruit trees in your yard.  You might also want to find out which fruit trees are suited for growing in this climate.

So, what fruit trees grow in Massachusetts?  Some of the best fruit trees to grow in Massachusetts are apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and figs.  You should choose dwarf varieties if you want to get fruit sooner after planting.

There are a few important factors to consider when choosing a fruit tree.

For example, some fruit trees require another tree of the same type nearby in order to produce fruit.  You might also want to consider dwarf varieties if you don’t have much space in your yard.

Let’s take a closer look at the types of fruit trees you can grow in Massachusetts.

What Fruit Trees Grow In Massachusetts?

Some of the best fruit trees to grow in Massachusetts are apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and figs.

purple figs
Figs are one good choice for growing in Massachusetts, but you may need to bring them indoors in the winter, or keep them in a heated greenhouse.

To decide which type of tree to grow, you should consider these important factors:

  • when your tree will produce fruit
  • the amount of fruit you will get from a tree
  • the size of the tree and the space in your yard
  • whether you need two trees of the same type to produce fruit

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

When Do Fruit Trees Produce Fruit?

Most fruit trees take at least 2 or 3 years to mature fully, to the point where they can produce fruit.  Dwarf varieties of fruit trees often mature a year sooner than standard varieties.

brown pear
Dwarf fruit trees produce fruit a year sooner than other varieties.

Planting dwarf fruit trees allows you to harvest fruit sooner.  However, keep in mind that dwarf varieties won’t grow as large as standard varieties, and they will not produce as much fruit.

  • Apples – apple trees will mature and start producing fruit 2 to 5 years after planting.  Most apple trees will produce fruit that is ready for harvest sometime in August, September, or October.
  • Pears – pear trees will mature and start producing fruit 4 to 6 years after planting.  Most pear trees will produce fruit that is ready for harvest somewhere from mid-August to mid-October.
  • Peaches – peach trees will mature and start producing fruit 2 to 4 years after planting.  Most peach trees will produce fruit that is ready for harvest sometime in mid to late summer, between June and August.
  • Cherries – sweet cherry trees will mature and start producing fruit 5 to 9 years after planting, while sour cherry trees will mature and start producing fruit 4 to 6 years after planting.  Some warmer climates, such as California, may see cherries ready for harvest as early as May.  However, most cherry trees will not bear ripe fruit until June.
  • Figs – fig trees will mature and start producing fruit 1 to 2 years after planting.  Fig trees may start producing fruit as early in the year as May or June, and continue bearing fruit until the first fall frost in October or November).

For more information, check out this article on frost dates from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

How Much Fruit Do Fruit Trees Produce?

The amount of fruit that a tree produces depends on the type of fruit, but also on the variety of tree (standard or dwarf).

peach tree
Peach trees can produce lots of fruit – in fact, sometimes you may need to thin the fruit to avoid broken branches from the weight of all those peaches!
  • Apples – a standard variety apple tree will yield 4 to 5 bushels (192 to 240 pounds, or 87 to 109 kilograms) of apples per year.  A dwarf variety apple tree will yield 1 to 2 bushels (48 to 96 pounds, or 22 to 44 kilograms) of apples per year.  (A bushel of apples weighs 48 pounds).
  • Pears – for European varieties, a standard pear tree will yield 4 to 6 bushels (200 to 300 pounds, or 91 to 136 kilograms), while a dwarf pear tree will yield 2 to 3 bushels (100 to 150 pounds, or 45 to 68 kilograms) of pears per year.  For Asian varieties, a standard pear tree will yield 3 to 6 bushels (150 to 300 pounds, or 68 to 136 kilograms), while dwarf varieties will yield 1 to 3 bushels (50 to 150 pounds, or 23 to 68 kilograms) of pears per year.
  • Peaches – a standard variety peach tree will yield 3 to 6 bushels (150 to 300 pounds, or 68 to 136 kilograms) of peaches per year.  A dwarf variety peach tree will yield 1 to 3 bushels (50 to 100 pounds, or 23 to 45 kilograms) of peaches per year.  (A bushel of peaches weighs 50 pounds).
  • Cherries – sweet cherry trees will yield 30 to 50 quarts of cherries per year (15 to 20 quarts for dwarf sweet cherry trees).  Sour cherry trees will yield 20 to 60 quarts of cherries per year (15 to 20 quarts for dwarf sour cherry trees).
  • Figs – a young fig tree may only produce 20 to 60 figs (2.5 to 7.5 pounds) of figs per year.  A larger, more mature tree can produce much more fruit.  Some varieties of fig trees can produce two harvests in a year: a first crop (called the Breba crop) in the spring or summer, and a second crop in the fall.

For more information, check out this article on estimated fruit yields from the Stark Brothers website.

How Tall Do Fruit Trees Grow?

The height of a fruit tree depends on the type of fruit, and also on the variety (standard, semi-dwarf, or dwarf).

pear tree
Some fruit trees can grow as tall as 25 feet, while dwarf varieties usually do not get taller than 10 feet.
  • Apples – standard varieties of apple trees will grow to a height of 18 to 25 feet tall, with a similar width.  Semi-dwarf apple trees will grow to a height of 15 to 18 feet, with a similar width.  Dwarf apple trees will only grow to a height of 8 to 10 feet tall, with a similar width.
  • Pears – standard varieties of pear trees will reach a height of 18 to 20 feet and a width of 12 to 13 feet.  Dwarf pear trees will reach a height of 8 to 10 feet and a width of 6 to 7 feet wide.
  • Peaches – a bit shorter than the others, standard varieties of peach trees will reach a height of 12 to 15 feet.
  • Cherries – standard varieties of cherry trees will reach a height of 18 feet or more.  Semi-dwarf cherry trees will reach a height of 15 to 18 feet.  Dwarf cherry trees will grow to a height of 8 to 10 feet tall, with a similar width.
  • Figs – fig trees can quickly grow to a height of 10 to 15 feet tall, with a similar width.

Most trees can be trained to stay shorter with pruning.  You can also grow some trees, such as apples or pears, along the side of your house, espalier-style.

For more information, check out this article on fruit tree sizes from the Stark Brothers website and this article on dwarf fruit trees from the Stark Brothers website.

Do You Need Two Fruit Trees To Produce Fruit?

This depends on the tree and whether it is self-pollinating or not.  A tree is self-pollinating (or self-fruitful) if its flowers contain both male and female parts.

peach flowers
Peach flowers are self-pollinating, meaning you only need one peach tree to get fruit each year.

Otherwise, the tree is self-unfruitful, and it will require cross pollination to produce fruit.  This means that you need at least two trees, usually of different varieties, in order to successfully cross pollinate your trees and produce fruit.

pear blossom
Pears are self-unfruitful, meaning that you need two different trees, each of a different variety, for cross pollination to occur. This is the only way to get fruit from pear trees.

Let’s look at whether each of our tree choices is self-pollinating or not.

  • Apples – usually, you will need two apple trees, each of a different variety, to produce fruit.  Two apple trees from the same variety cannot cross pollinate each other, so be sure to buy two different varieties!  There are some self-pollinating apple tree varieties, but even these will produce more fruit when cross-pollinated with other apple trees.
  • Pears – usually, you will need two pear trees, each of a different variety, to produce fruit.  Two pear trees from the same variety cannot cross-pollinate each other, so be sure to buy two different varieties!  Of course, there are exceptions, such as the Colette Everbearing Pear from Stark Brothers, which is a self-pollinating pear tree.
  • Peaches – you only need one peach tree to produce fruit, since they are self-pollinating.
  • Cherries – you only need one sour cherry tree to produce fruit, since they are self-pollinating.  However, you need two sweet cherry trees, each of a different variety, to produce fruit.  There are exceptions to this: the sweet cherry tree varieties Stella, BlackGold, and WhiteGold are all self-pollinating.
  • Figs – you only need one common fig tree to produce fruit, since they are self-pollinating.  There are other varieties of fig trees that do require cross pollination, but most nurseries will only carry common fig trees.

Remember that self-pollination does not mean guaranteed pollination.  You can still see a lack of fruit, even with flowers, if there are not enough pollinators (bees, hummingbirds, etc.) in your yard.

You can use an electric toothbrush to provide the type of stimulation necessary, but this is a risky endeavor when climbing high up on trees!

For more information, check out this article on pollination of fruit trees from the University of Maine Extension.

You can also check out this article on fruit tree pollination from the Stark Brothers website.

Where Can I Learn More About Fruit Trees?

For more information on any of the fruit trees mentioned here, along with some interesting varieties of each tree, you can find links to other fruit tree articles below.

cherry blossoms
Cherry trees produce beautiful blossoms in the spring, and tasty cherries about a month later.

Check out this article from the University of Maine on the planting and early care of fruit trees.

Check out this article from Weston Nurseries on growing fruit trees in New England.

Check out this article on apple trees from the Old Farmer’s Almanac website.

Check out my article on when pear trees bear fruit.

Check out this article from the University of Massachusetts on peach trees.

Check out my article on when peach trees bear fruit.

Check out my article on when cherry trees bear fruit.

Check out my article on when fig trees bear fruit.

Conclusion

By now, you have some good ideas for the types of fruit trees you can grow in your yard in Massachusetts.  You also know what factors to consider before making your decision.

I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone else in Massachusetts who can use the information.  If you have any questions or comments about growing fruit trees in Massachusetts, please leave a comment below.

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jonathon. I’m the gardening guy (not guru!) who is encouraging everyone to spend more time in the garden. I try to help solve common gardening problems so that you can get the best harvest every year!

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