Fruit Trees and SunlightThere is something very satisfying about going out into your own yard and picking a fresh, ripe piece of fruit right off of the tree, isn’t there? Here at Nature Hills we hear stories all the time from our friends in Florida and California about the pleasure they get from having fresh fruit from their clementines, kumquats, and lemons. Our Georgia friends write in about their peaches and nectarines. And don’t get us started on the apple lovers out there! Fruit trees are a wonderful indulgence and for the most part easy to grow. They can tolerate less than perfect soils. Once they are established, many can weather a short drought or two. Some can even survive a bitter Northern winter without a second thought. One thing they all must have, though, is the right amount of sunlight. You might not have a dead tree if they get too much shade, but you certainly won’t get the fruit you want. Here are some guidelines for you if you plan on planting your own little orchard:
  • Apples and Pears – 8 hours of sun a day. Especially appreciative of morning sun to dry the leaves and reduce the chance for diseases.
  • Figs – 8 hours of sun and a LARGE space to grow. These guys can get so big they cast shade on the whole garden. Interestingly, the trunks are susceptible to sunburn, so a coat of protective white paint might be necessary in the hottest climates.
  • Citrus – Oranges, lemons, limes, kumquats, grapefruits and tangerines all need a full day of sun – 6 hours at least. They don’t like frost and need a year-round warm climate. Some dwarf varieties do well as indoor potted plants given well-drained soil and plenty of winter light from a window
  • Cherry – Beautiful flowers as well as beautiful fruit are the rewards of giving this tree good drainage (they are susceptible to root rot if they sit in water) and 8 hours of sun a day.
  • Banana – these tropical plants need a tropical climate and at least 6 hours of sun a day to give their best fruit. Otherwise, they are just pretty ornamentals. Which isn’t bad, but your pet monkey might be a little upset.
  • Peach and Nectarine – 6 hours of sun and good air circulation around the leaves will give you a bumper crop. In really hot climates, a little afternoon shade will keep the leaves from burning.