What is the best tree to grow in your backyard? An apple tree or a peach tree, or something thing different? Here we explore the pros and cons to the question – are apple trees better to plant, or peach trees? It’s nearly every gardener’s dream to be growing fruit trees in your backyard, allowing you to be self-sufficient and have an abundance of fruit whenever you need it. While evergreen trees are great, it’s always nice to have a tree which gives you a nice supply of fruit!
Although fruit trees are great to have in your garden, some are easier to grow than others, offering different benefits which are worth considering before you make a decision on which fruit tree you want to plant.
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For example, apple and peach trees are both very popular, but some argue peach trees are easier to grow than apple trees due to the fact they are self-fertile, apple trees on the other hand usually need a pollinizer of a different variety to fruit well, however it is possible to buy double grafted trees, they cost more, but they have both varieties combined in the same tree.
We have gone into some further detail below to help you decide whether a peach tree or apple tree is right for your garden.
Planting Apple Trees
Apple trees are actually one of the easiest and tastiest fruit trees to grow, but they do need some particular considerations, unlike peach trees as they are self-sterile and will need a pollinizer fruit tree planted opposite them.
This great chart helps you match your variety with the right pollinizers.
Flowering crabapples have become popular pollen donors because they generally have longer bloom times than apples and are easily cared for.
Pros & Cons Of Apple Trees
Apple trees are very popular to grow, and they are easy to care for, but they do come with their downfalls which are worth noting before you kit out your apple tree nursery in your garden.
We have listed some pros and cons to planting apple trees below.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Planting Apple Trees
Apple trees are easy to plant and care for, and they need watering and fertilizing just like any other fruit tree for the first couple of months. Once they have flowered they are easy to maintain with simple pruning. You can create a productive apple nursery in your yard if you invest in a range of other varieties for pollination too.
You rarely ever get bad fruit from an apple tree if cared for correctly and pruned at the right time.
However, because they do need pollination from another tree (usually), they are best suited for larger gardens, or next door to someone that has a compatible variety.
The best way of making sure you have two varieties that will work well together is to ensure that you buy your apple trees from a reputable nursery.
- Easy to grow.
- Produces tasty fruit.
- Does well in a variety of climates.
- Huge range to choose from.
- Can be stored long term, eaten fresh or preserved.
- Beautiful blossoms.
- Quick growing tree once established.
- Can come in dual or triple grafted trees.
- Most varieties are available in dwarf, semi dwarf, small or standard sizing.
- Can be espaliered along a wall or fence.
- Full sized trees need a lot of space.
- You may need more than one apple tree for pollination.
- Can have issues with pests or fungal infections.
- Do not grow true to seed so must be replicated by grafting on to rootstock or by rooting cuttings.
- Needs annual pruning to keep up production and keep the tree healthy
Planting Peach Trees
Peach trees unlike apple trees are self-fertile so can be planted by themselves, and they don’t need a huge space to grow in either, especially a dwarf variety.
They do prefer to grow in warmer climates however, and have a shorter lifespan than apple trees do.
Pros & Cons Of Peach Trees
Even though peach trees might take up less space than apple trees do, they do still have some cons to consider before you decide on whether or not to plant this fruit tree in your yard.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Planting Peach Trees
If you have a small garden and live in a warm climate, peach trees could be a better choice for you than apple trees, they are simple to grow and care for, and don’t need the pollination of other fruit trees for growing or producing fruit.
Peach trees have beautiful pink blossoms that come out before their leaves in early spring, they put on quite a display.
Drawbacks of peach trees have to be that they die very easily when exposed to cold temperatures or high winds. For better growth, it is also said having another species of peach tree grown alongside can help boost pollination, which may mean you still need a room for two for the best growth possible.
- Great for small spaces.
- Easy to grow.
- Do well in the heat.
- Come in dwarf, semi dwarf and standard in most varieties.
- Even full sized trees can be pruned to keep small
- Grow true to seed – so you can grow your own from fruit pits.
- Grows quickly once established
- Attractive plant with lovely autumn leaf display.
- Don’t do great in colder climates.
- Can tolerate (and requires some) frost, but needs the heat to ripen the fruit
- Might need another species for more prolific fruit production.
- Doesn’t tolerate soggy soil
- Needs annual pruning to keep in good productive shape
Other fruit tree options
While you are trying to decide between peach and apple trees, don’t look past their equally delicious cousins.
Pear trees grow in a similar way to apple trees, and need a similar climate. While they are cousins (as are quince and roses) they cannot be grafted on to apple trees, so you will need a separate tree in your yard if you want to include a pear tree.
An Asian pear is a very crisp, soft fleshed, very juicy pear that has a unique but delicious gentle flavor.
Most stone fruit like plum, cherry, apricot, nectarine and peach can all be cross grafted on to each other (only some types of plums) so you can buy some trees that have all these fruit, one on each branch.
If you want to try this yourself, you can buy or grow seedling rootstock (usually grown on mass from stones (pits) from canning facilities) to graft your chosen cultivars on to.
Cherry tree varieties come in sweet cherry, bitter cherry and flowering cherry (cherry blossom) so be sure you are getting what you think you are when you are buying one.
Citrus fruit are another option if you do not get hard frosts, once established they will tolerate a light frost.
Planting fruit trees in your backyard is a great way to improve your surroundings, while also getting a bonus fruit crop from them once a year.
What size fruit tree to choose
Most fruit tree varieties come in several size options these days. If you have your heart set on a particular cultivar at a certain size, it is best that you order well ahead from the nursery, as the popular ones sell out quickly. It is best to order in early Autumn/Fall for planting in early Spring.
The height of your fruit tree is determined by a combination of the smallness of the rootstock, combined with the normal growth size of the variety of graft tree you put on top.
Dwarf trees (aka dwarf cultivars)are made up of a rootstock that will limit how large the tree can grow, and a piece of scion wood from the variety that you want to fruit.
The rootstock determines the size of the tree, vigor and the type of soil conditions it can handle. You can choose to get a larger rootstock, and simply prune the trees regularly to keep them to your desired size.
For more information about choosing your rootstock read here.
Conclusion – Which Is Better: Apple Or Peach Trees?
Overall, if you are stuck deciding between growing an apple tree nursery or a peach tree nursery in your garden, we would recommend sticking with apples if you have a cooler climate, large space and don’t mind growing two varieties at once for pollination.
If you live in a warmer climate however and have a small space, peach trees might be more suitable for you.
Enjoy the fruits of your tree whatever you may decide!