Sunday, May 5, 2013

How Many Fruit and Berry Plants Do You Need?


When I made my orchard plan a few years ago, there is one factor that I didn't take into consideration - how much fruit does each type of tree or berry plant yield? I recently did some research on this topic and  I was astounded by some of my findings. The dwarf prune plum tree we just planted, for example, will only yield between 1/2 and 1 bushel of fruit. When the plums are all dried into prunes, that's really not much. On the other hand, when our apple trees are all in production, we can expect to get between 50-75 bushels of apples each year. That's a lot of applesauce. 

Here are some estimated annual yields for commonly grown fruit and berry plants in the United States. Obviously, your results will vary based on your location, climate, etc., but this is a good place to begin your planning.   

FRUIT TREES:

'Jonafree' apple bud, May 2013

Apples - 
  • Dwarf - 5-6 bushels per tree
  • Semi-Dwarf - 10-15 bushels per tree
  • Standard - 15-20 bushels per tree 

Apricots - 
  • Miniature -1-2 pecks
  • Dwarf - 1-2 bushels per tree
  • Standard - 3-4 bushels per tree 

Cherries, Sweet -
  • Dwarf - 8-10 gallons per tree
  • Semi-Dwarf - 10-15 gallons per tree
  • Standard - 15-20 gallons per tree 

Cherries, Sour - 
  • Dwarf - 3-5 gallons per tree
  • Semi-Dwarf - 12-18 gallons per tree
Nectarine - 
  • Miniature -1-2 pecks
  • Dwarf - 3-4 bushels per tree
  • Standard - 6-10 bushels per tree 

Peach - 
  • Miniature -1-2 pecks
  • Dwarf -3-4 bushels per tree
  • Standard - 6-10 bushels per tree 
Pears - 
  • Dwarf - 6-8 bushels per tree
  • Standard - 12-15 bushels per tree 
Pears, Asian - 
  • Dwarf - 1 bushels per tree
  • Semi-Dwarf - 1-2 bushels per tree
  • Standard - 3-8 bushels per tree 
Plums, European - 
  • Dwarf -1/2-1 bushel per tree
  • Standard - 1-2 bushels per tree 
Plums, Japanese - 
  • Dwarf -3-4 bushels per tree
  • Semi-Dwarf - 4-5 bushels per tree
  • Standard - 5-6 bushels per tree 



BERRIES: 

Blackberries from my garden

Blackberries - 3-4 plants per person. Average yield per plant is 1 quart. (Note: My Triple Crown blackberry vines far outproduce this estimate.) 

Blueberries - 2 plants per person. Average yield per plant (if you have multiple types for cross-pollination) is 3-4 quarts. 

Raspberries - 25 plants per person. Average yield per plant is 1-2 quarts. 

Strawberries - 25 plants per person. June-bearing strawberries (the ones that produce all of their berries at once) yield about 1 pint per plant. Everbearing strawberries (produce small amounts from June through first frost) yield about 1/2-1 lb per plant. 


Most folks run out of room in their yard long before they plant enough trees and berries to produce an entire year's supply for their family. With judicious planting, however, even small yards can produce bountifully. We have an entire acre that we can use for our orchard and berry planting, if we find that we can maintain that much! In five years, it is technically possible that we could grow all the fruit we eat! Of course, that leaves the problem of storing and preserving all that fruit, but that is where a root cellar, canning, freezing, and dehydrating comes into play.   

References: 

I compiled this information from the Plant Manuals at starkbros.com. I highly recommend Stark Bros. We have bought all of our fruit and berry plants from them and are very pleased with their quality and customer service. 

4 comments:

  1. This is excellent! I have a .24 acre lot in the desert, and a lot of people think that I grow the majority of our family's food, but even with 33 fruit trees (both dwarf and semi-dwarf) I am far from being able to do that!

    My yields here are lower (blackberries ripen at half the size of anywhere else, because of the heat, but afternoon shade does help them). I'd love to see my apples produce more.

    I also grow grapes, which is a great help, too, as well as pomegranates and figs.

    My strawberry yield is pretty small, but I know someone else here who is getting more, and she is fertilizing more, so perhaps a lot more fertilizer would help!

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  2. I agree with Brandy, this is excellent. I can see we need to add more trees! I am a new square foot gardner this year, I had a hard time trying to decide how much to plant for the yield I want.

    Also appreciated the article on perennial veggies. Jana

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  3. My hubby thought I was a lunatic for ordering as much as I did last year! However the drought was bad and we did lose most everything even though we watered like crazy! The amounts we had were in line with what you have here so I know I am not crazy! :) Mrs. W BTW I had 3 ground cherries sprout this year with your light rig plan! I can't even tell you how excited i am it has been over 20 years since I have had one!

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  4. Excellent Information - I am going to attempt to grow my families entire food for the year this year so I was searching for exactly this type of information. Thank you for taking the time to put altogether in one spot for me.

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