Fruit trees are an excellent addition to any garden. Not only are they beautiful and colorful, but they also produce delicious produce. They are not for impatient growers, however, as it takes time to see the fruits of your labor, quite literally! So how long can you expect to wait before you can sink your teeth into your home-grown fruit?
The answer to this question depends on what sort of tree it is, and at what stage it’s at when you are growing it. The rootstock on which a fruit tree is planted will have a significant impact on when the tree will begin to bear fruit. Most often, more vigorous rootstocks will take the tree longer to grow fruit, but the trees they grow tend to be smaller.
How long do common fruit trees need to bear fruit?
- Lemon Trees: 2-3 years
- Lime Trees: 6-8 years
- Apple Trees: 4-8 years
- Orange Trees: 3 years
- Olive Trees: 4-5 years
- Avocado Trees: 10 years
- Almond Tree: 5-10 years
- Mango Tree: 5-8 years
- Peach Tree: 2-4 years
- Apricot Tree: 5-7 years
- Pear Tree: 3-10 years
- Plum Tree: 4-6 years
- Sweet Chestnut Tree: 3-5 years
- Fig Tree: 8-10 years
- Cherry Tree: 3 years
Time to maturity of common fruit trees
Time to Maturity for Lemon Trees
Lemon trees need a lot of sun and great drainage, but so long as those conditions are met, you should begin to see fruit growing in 2 to 3 years. Lemon trees can be left to grow, but they do require a lot of space to do successfully. They also do well potted and pruned regularly.
Time to Maturity for Lime Trees
For the first few years of a lime tree’s life, your tree will flower but will not produce fruit. Flowers will bloom and fall from the tree. Most varieties of lime trees will produce fruit after 6 to 8 years, but some plants grown from seeds may never produce fruit.
Time to Maturity for Apple Trees
For gardeners with space and patience, there is nothing quite so classic as a homegrown apple. Apple trees can grow to over 29 feet and will begin producing fruit after 4 to 8 years. The fruit is usually just harvested in the summer, and these trees are generally pretty low maintenance. Plant them in a sunny spot with plenty of drainage, and you will start to reap the rewards in 4 to 8 years.
Time to Maturity for Orange Trees
A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast would taste even sweeter if it was from your garden. Orange trees require around 5 hours of direct sunlight every day and will start to produce fruit after 3 years. Whether your orange tree produces fruit has very little to do with the size of the tree, and more to do with the growing conditions, so make sure to plant your orange tree in the perfect spot to give it its best chance at growing well and bearing oranges.
Time to Maturity for Olive Trees
Olive trees are one of the oldest domestic crops, and they are well suited to warm climates. They don’t do well in tropical climates with high humidity, and dry hear reminiscent of the Mediterranean is where they thrive. If you live in a climate like this, then all you need to do is plant your olive tree in fertile soil that gets at least 6 hours of sun. Your tree should start to bear fruit after 4 to 5 years, which you can pick in mid-autumn to early winter. Olives need to be soaked, salted, and preserved in oil to take away their bitterness.
Time to Maturity for Avocado Trees
One of the lushest trees to grow, avocado trees are great for gardeners in most climates and grow best in full sunlight, and without strong winds. Avocado roots are also quite wide-spreading, so plant them with plenty of space to grow, and avoid planting them close to drains, swimming pools, or driveways. With occasional pruning and good conditions, you can expect to grow avocado fruits after about 10 years from seeds.
Time to Maturity for Almond Tree
Almond Trees are just amazing to look at during blooming time. They are great for gardeners in warm, sunny and dry climates. Almond Trees are susceptible to spring frost and thrive in mild winters and dry summers. Most almond trees aren’t self fertile and require at least 2 trees to produce its delicious nuts. About 5-10 years after planting you can see first results and start harvesting your almonds.
Time to Maturity for Mango Tree
Mango trees are a perfect choice if you live in a tropical or subtropical zone. They really can’t stand the cold, temperatures below 40°F (4°C) will be fatal to your Mango tree. Furthermore, they require well-drained soil to stay healthy. After about 5-8 years you’ll reap the fruits of your work.
Time to Maturity for Peach Tree
One of my personal favorites, I just love the taste of fresh Peaches! Peach Trees are quite easy to tend to, they require a well-drained spot in full sunlight and regular deep-watering. In about 2-4 years it’ll start producing it’s juicy goodness.
Time to Maturity for Apricot Tree
Apricot trees are another great choice for any gardener. They love a sunny place in well-drained soil but are otherwise pretty complacent. The only thing they don’t like is late spring frost and over-abundance of some elements (like salt). The first fruit will set in about 5-7 years after planting the tree.
Time to Maturity for Pear Tree
Normally you shouldn’t compare Pears to Apples, but in this case, it’s actually possible. Pears love sunny spots and are relatively low maintenance otherwise. These Trees can get quite big and start to carry fruit after 3-10 years.
Time to Maturity for Plum Tree
Plum trees are another great addition to every orchard. They require full sun and well-drained, slightly acidic sandy soil to thrive. Plum trees are winter hardy and can thrive in hardiness zone 3 to 8. It’ll take about 4-6 years for your plum trees to produce fruits.
Time to Maturity for Sweet Chestnut Tree
I love Chestnuts! I usually collect wild ones, but why not help yourself to your very own Chestnut tree? All they need is, you guessed it, a well-drained sunny spot. Optimal temperatures for these trees can be found in hardiness zone 4-8, where they take about 3-5 years to mature. The wind usually carries their pollen, so make sure there are other Chestnut trees around.
Time to Maturity for Fig Tree
Fig tree are native to northern Asia and thrive in tropical climates. However, there are some winter hardy versions available on the market. Figs love a sunny spot preferably next to a wall (the heat will help your tree grow). After 8-10 years you should see some decent results!
Time to Maturity for Cherry Tree
Nothing beats fresh dark red cherries directly from the tree. Cherries are a great choice for your orchard with a relatively short time to maturity of only 3 years. They thrive in well-drained fertile soil and love to get all the sun they can. Sour cherry trees are self-pollinating, which means only 1 tree is required to produce fruit. For sweet cherries, you’ll need at least 2 to ensure pollination.
Growing from Seed vs. growing from Transplant
Growing from seeds allows you to grow a much wider variety of plants. If you are relying on what your local nursery has for your seedlings, you will be limited to a few dozen varieties, but the advent of buying seeds online means your options are limitless.
Seeds are also a lot cheaper than transplants, so if you have a larger garden, or are growing on a budget, buying seeds is a great choice. You may have to invest a little more upfront, on things like grow-lights, containers, and potting mix, depending on the kind of set-up that’s best for you, but you will save money in the long-run.
Many gardeners also say that one of their biggest reasons for growing from seeds is the sense of satisfaction and personal achievement. You get to start your annual gardening journey earlier in the year, and you’ll know, come harvest time, that your yield was all your hard work and effort.
On the other hand, transplants are a great way to start growing for many gardeners. They are quick and easy, and if you buy them from a good source, you know they will be high-quality. If you are just getting started with gardening, or if you are busy, transplants are unbeatable.
Transplants are also great if you are short on space. You can place them right into your garden, instead of keeping seeds indoors, sheltered, lit well, and with adequate space as they grow until they are ready to be planted.
Growing seedlings, for most plants, take 6 to 8 weeks of skill and care before they are ready to grow in the garden. If you don’t have the time, or you are away from home more frequently, then you will be better off planting transplants directly.
How long does a fruit tree produce/live?
Fruit plants, unlike vegetables, do not have to be replanted every year. They take longer to begin producing fruit, but once they begin producing, most fruit trees will continue to give fruit for many years. Some plants live longer than others, so here is what you can expect from some of the more common backyard fruit trees:
Lifespan of Apple Trees: 10 to 100 years
If you keep your apple tree in good health, it will continue to bear fruit for up to 100 years. They are, however, susceptible to fireblight, an incurable bacterial disease that will cut an apple tree’s life short.
Lifespan of Citrus Trees (oranges, lemons, limes, etc.): 40 to 80 years
Citrus plants are susceptible to cold weather, but as long as they remain in warmer climates, or are protected from the cold. If they are kept warm and healthy, you can expect delicious home-grown citrus fruits for up to 80 years.
Lifespan of Olive Trees: 100+ years
There is a reason why olive trees are so widely renowned, they can bear fruit almost indefinitely with the right care. Make sure the roots of the tree can dry before watering, which you can do by mixing sand into the soil around the tree and sculpting a slight mold around the trunk.
Lifespan of Avocado Trees: 100+ years
For avocado trees, the patience you need to have to grow the tree pays off in the long run. Avocado trees can easily live for more than 100 years in the right conditions. They are sensitive to cold, however, and may die if they are exposed to freezing temperatures.
Lifespan of Almond Tree: around 25 years
Almond trees usually live between 20-25 years in the right conditions. It’s crucial to avoid harsh and long frost periods as well as waterlogged soil to keep your trees healthy.
Lifespan of Mango Tree: 100-200+ years
Mango trees can almost feel immortal in their lifespan. It’s not uncommon for some of them to reach 300years and more. All they need is a constant warm climate together with well-drained soil to keep them happy, and it’ll bear fruits for centuries to come.
Lifespan of Peach Tree: 12 years
Peach trees have a quite short lifespan of about 12 years. If you want to have a constant supply of peaches around the years to come, it’s best to grow a total of 4 trees in 3-year intervals. This way, you’ll always have at least 2 trees around!
Lifespan of Apricot Tree: 50-150 years
A well-maintained Apricot tree can reach quite an astonishing age. Ensuring the tree has all the nutrients and sun it needs is vital to keep it healthy and thriving – even in old age.
Lifespan of Pear Tree: 50 years
If you keep your pear tree in good health, it will continue to bear fruit for up to 50 years. They are susceptible to fire blight and usually are replaced after 10-15 years of production, as their yield starts to drop drastically.
Lifespan of Plum Tree: 20 years
Plum trees don’t age that well and lose production after 10-15 years of production. Nonetheless, their delicious fruits are worth the effort! Give them a nice sunny & well-drained spot to keep them around for the next 20 years.
Lifespan of Chestnut Tree: 200-800 years
Chestnut Trees can get very old, with peak nut production in their mid-40s to 50s. Isn’t that great? Not only can you save lots of time when you don’t have to look for new Chestnut trees in the forest. You also only have to grow 2 Trees, and your set for life!
Lifespan of Fig Tree: 200 years
For fig trees, the patience you need to grow the tree pays off in the long run. Fig trees can easily live for more than 200 years in the right conditions. Give them ample water and keep them shelter from the harsh cold to enjoy their fruits for the next century!
Lifespan of Cherry Tree: up to 200 years
The Life-expectancy of cherry trees greatly depends on their species. Black cherry trees are known to live longer – up to 250 years. Usually, Cherry trees reach an age of 30 years for the sweet and 20 years for the sour version.
Why might fruit trees not fruit after maturity
Fruit trees are finicky, and sometimes they just don’t grow fruit, or they only grow fruit every other year. There are several reasons why this could be happening, but it often comes down to the plant’s environment or care.
Over vigorous trees
When trees expend more energy growing wood and not producing flower buds, they also won’t produce fruit. This typically happens because of over-fertilization or over-pruning. The solution to this is to avoid putting extra fertilizer within 5 feet of the spread of your tree’s branches. You should also learn the proper way to prune each tree because trees like apple and pear trees require different pruning techniques to other types of trees.
Flowers of fruit trees are sensitive to frost, and if temperatures dip below around 29°F, the fruit may not form. Some types of plants are more sensitive to weather than others. Choose fruit trees that fit your climate, or alternatively, spend the extra time to prevent frost.
Flowers must be pollinated to bear fruit, which requires several things to go correctly. Flowers must bloom at the right time, and bees must be abundant in your area. There is another layer of complexity because some fruit trees, like apple and pear trees, must cross-pollinate. You, therefore, need to plant two varieties of these trees. Research the type of fruit you’re growing, and get in touch with your local county extension if you would like a comprehensive list of compatible fruits for pollination.
There are endless varieties of fruit trees out there, and they all require unique conditions and care to grow and yield fruit. If you do your research for each plant and know that you are not likely to see fruit for the next few years after planting your fruit tree, you will be a successful grower.