When my dad bought 80 apple, peach, apricot, and pear trees, my brother, sister, and I would help him plant these 4 foot tall trees. Back then, I couldn’t imagine how these sets of skinny branches and roots with no leaves could one day be strong enough to bear fruit. But in as little as 3 years, there they were, much taller than my 4’11” frame, with their arms full of leaves and fruit. I even had to use a ladder to harvest all the delicious fruit from the top! These amazing trees in our backyard grew and bore quickly because they were grafted onto dwarf/semi-dwarf rootstocks (I will explain next). Later I found out that there are many fast growing fruit trees. If we had grown these trees from seed, then we would probably have waited 10 years until they bore fruit. I don’t know about you, but I am not very patient so I am happy my dad chose to buy these fast growing grafted trees. And to help you fully enjoy your trees and fruit faster, here is a list of the top fast growing fruit trees.
What is the difference between growing a grafted tree and a seedling?
Fruit trees can be grafted onto rootstocks which are the underground portion of the tree. In addition to affecting the disease resistance and cold hardiness, rootstock control how early the tree can bear fruit and how large the tree will grow. For example if you grow an apple tree on a dwarf rootstock, usually the tree will bear fruit in 2-3 years after planting and grow to about 6-8 feet tall. However if you grow an apple tree on a semi-dwarf rootstock, it will bear in about 3-4 years and can reach 20 feet tall. Seedlings, on the other hand, aren’t grafted onto rootstock and so can take up to 8-10 years until they bear fruit. Although seedlings tend to be cheaper, they do take longer. Additionally they may not have all the flavor characteristics of the parent variety.
7 Fast Growing Fruit Trees
- Growing Zones: 3-8. Even if you are in a place with harsh winters, you can still grow apple trees! There have been many cold hardy apple trees that researchers have developed, such as Honeycrisp and Liberty.
- Years to Bear: 2-3 years. If you grow dwarf apple trees, they will bear fruit earlier than standard apple trees which will take about 8 years to bear.
- Chill Hours: In order for apple trees to bear fruit, they will need a certain amount of cold temperature during the winter, known as chill hours. Most apple tree varieties will need about 500-1,000 chill hours (temperatures below 45 F./7 C.). However if you are in a place with not that many cold days, there are low chill varieties available that only need about 300 chill hours.
- Pollination: Apple trees are in general require another compatible apple tree to cross pollinate with. However there are some varieties such as Braeburn, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious which are self-fruitful.
- Growing Zones: 9-11. Most citrus trees prefer a warm climate since they are frost tender. However if you live in a place with cold winters, you can always grow in containers and bring them inside during the winter.
- Years to Bear: 3-6 years, depending on the type of citrus and the growing environment.
- Pollination: Citrus trees are self-fruitful and won’t need another tree nearby in order to produce fruit.
- The dwarf varieties Meyer lemons or Satsuma oranges are great for growing in containers. However other dwarf citrus trees will also be easy to grow and produce early.
- Growing Zones: 8-10, although cold hardy varieties can grow in zones 6 and 7. Additionally you could grow these trees in containers if you live in a place with cold winters, and bring them indoors during the winter.
- Years to Bear: Although some fig trees can bear in 2 years, the average time until they bear fruit is about 3-5 years.
- Pollination: Fig trees are self-fruitful and won’t need another tree nearby in order to produce fruit.
- If you plant these trees outside, they can reach up to 30 feet tall within five years.
- Growing Zones: 4-9. Although there are cold hardy peach tree varieties that can grow in zones 4 and 5, most varieties prefer the conditions in growing zones 6-8.
- Years to Bear: 2-4 years, depending on the type of rootstock and the variety.
- Pollination: Many peach trees are self-fruitful and can produce fruit without the help of another cross-pollinating peach tree. However most trees have a better harvest when there is another peach tree planted nearby with the same blooming period.
- Peach trees need well-draining loamy soil in order to grow well. They can get damaged from waterlogged soils. Standard Peach trees can reach up to 25 feet tall although you can prune them to grow 12-15 feet tall. Lastly, these trees prefer 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Growing Zones: 4-8 for white and red mulberry trees and 5-9 for black mulberry trees.
- Years to Bear: If you grow a mulberry tree from seed it will take about 8-10 years for it to bear fruit.
- Pollination: Mulberry trees can be monoecious (the tree has both male and female flowers) or dioecious (the tree has either male or female flowers on one tree). Monoecious mulberry trees are self-pollinating or self-fruitful, while dioecious need another tree to cross-pollinate. Since it may be difficult to tell if the tree is monoecious or dioecious from a seedling, it is always a good idea to plant several trees.
- Mulberry trees can grow 2.5 feet per year and a three year old tree can reach about 12 feet tall. Mulberry trees will provide great shade during the summer because of their large canopy and an abundant harvest from August-September. Additionally, they will grow to about 30 to 50 feet tall. However with some pruning, you can prune back the tree to a smaller height. Lastly, these trees prefer full sun but can also grow in places with partial sun. First cultivated for silkworms about 4,700 years ago in China, and later introduced in Europe in the 12th century, these trees are well known to people in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Far East.
- Growing Zones: 5-8. Apricots need about 600 to 1,000 chill hours to set fruit so they prefer places with cold winters. However since they tend to bloom early in the season, they are also susceptible to a late spring frosts.
- Years to Bear: 2-5 years depending on the rootstock and variety.
- Pollination: Apricot trees create a radiant sight with their white/pink blossoms in the spring. They are also self-fruitful and don’t need another tree to produce fruit however the harvest is always improved with another apricot tree nearby.
- Try growing “Moorpark” or “Early Golden” if you want varieties that grow especially fast.
Black Cherry Trees
- Growing Zones: 2-8.
- Years to Bear: 2-3 years. In comparison sweet cherries will take about 5-7 years. Moreover black cherry trees will product fruit for about 170 years!
- Pollination: Black cherry trees, or wild cherries, produce beautiful white blossoms later in the spring compared to other varieties of cherry trees. Since they are not self-fruitful, they will need another cherry tree nearby in order to bear fruit.
- Black cherries grow about 2-3 feet in one year! Moreover, while they can reach 100 feet, most are about 50 to 80 feet in height with a 30- to 60-foot spread.