What are the best fruit trees to grow in Portland?

By Tree Expert Codey Stout
Published On

Want to know the best trees to grow in Portland, Oregon. We’ve got all the facts. In this TreeTriage.com article, we cover:

  • The best fruit trees to grow in Portland, Oregon
  • Tree care facts and other tips for growing flourishing fruit trees in your home orchard
  • Other tree tips for successful growing in the PNW (Pacific Northwest)
Best Fruit Trees To Grow In Portland, OR

So, before you plant trees in the Portland area, check this quick guide to ensure you get the most out of your trees.

Fruit Trees That Flourish In Portland, Oregon

The Pacific Northwest is a flourishing place for growing fruit trees because of constant precipitation and coastal climate. 

For a complete list of technical information including spacing, recommended species, area specifications, pollination/pollinators, and approximate years to bear, consult with an expert arborist from Tree Triage and use resources like Oregon State University’s catalog for Growing Tree Fruits and Nuts In The Home Orchard.

Hardy varieties of every species are what to aim for in Oregon. Here are some fruit trees you should consider growing in the Portland area.

Apple Trees

The saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” could never be more true,

There are many benefits to eating apples, including longer life, lower risk of cancer, better memory, lower risk of having a heart attack, etc., so we recommend planting at least one apple tree on your property for future enjoyment.

Apple trees take anywhere from 2-8 years to start bearing fruit, but old apple trees that have been taken good care of are notorious for producing seemingly unlimited amounts of fruit for everyone to enjoy. 

Try planting a fuji or gala apple tree in your next yard set up as they are two species known to flourish in the Portland area.

Apricot Trees

Apricots are a stone fruit-bearing tree grown in Oregon, but Portland growers must be cautious about caring for apricot trees in the colder winter months.

Some recommended species of apricots recommended for the Portland area include the Chinese Sweet Pit, Moongold, Sungold, and Scout. 

Nectarine Trees 

Enjoy fragrant and beautiful blossoms by planting a nectarine tree. These peaches without the fuzz are bound to taste delectable when planted in Oregon’s humid climate.

Nectarine trees can grow up to 25-feet tall, but they can also be kept to short lengths of just 10 to 15 feet while still bearing a decent amount of fruit with careful pruning. 

Peach Trees

You’ve gotta appreciate that peach leaf curl. Although peaches are more commonly seen in places like Georgia, they still flourish in Oregon, and you could even try planting a dwarf peach tree that’s genetically designed to reach smaller heights of only 5 or 6 feet, according to the Portland Nursery.

Cherry Trees

Try a Rainier cherry tree because they thrive in plant hardy zones 5 to 8, and they produce a delicious and unique cherry that has a white, fleshy inside when you bite into it. Sour cherries typically come into season March/April, and sweet cherries typically come soon after they ripen.

Pear Trees 

There is arguably no fruit as sweet and juicy as an Asian pear, and Asian pear trees are another fantastic choice for planting in Oregon. Bartlett pears are another great option for Oregon, and one advantageous attribute of some pear trees is their dwarfing rootstock(root system) causing them to stay small but still bear plentiful fruit.

Hazelnut Trees

Are hazelnuts fruits? Yes. According to the U.S. Forest Service, hazelnuts and other true nuts are defined as single-seeded fruits with high oil content. Hazelnuts became the official state nut of Oregon in 1989, so don’t forget that nut trees are also technically fruit trees.

Protein, Vitamin E, and other antioxidants are some of the great benefits growers can reap from hazelnut trees in the Oregon area. Hazelnuts thrive between the plant hardiness zones of 4 through 8 according to Gardening Know How. Another lesser-known name for Hazelnut trees is the Filbert tree. 

When planting a Filbert tree, fall is the best time for growth. You want to dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball and mix in compost just like you would any other tree. 

Because the soil in Oregon can sometimes be heavy and clay-filled, adding organic material/mulch to the mix is a great way to help allow water to filter well through the soil. If you want a large tree that produces nuts, you might try a walnut or oak tree.

Fig Trees

If you live east of the Cascades, you might have a difficult time growing fig trees in Oregon. However, certain types of figs, like the ‘White Kadota’, ‘Lattarula’, and the ‘Desert King’ are all great choices for growing in eastern Oregon according to Steve Renquist at Oregon State University (OSU).

Oak Trees 

Oak trees thrive in certain areas of the Pacific Northwest, and the U.S. Forest Service notes that Oak trees require a lot of direct sunlight, a trait that has made their population decline in the Pacific Northwest due to competition from taller Douglas-fir trees. 

In fact, the forest service doesn’t recommend growing oak trees anywhere west of the Cascades due to taller, faster-growing conifer trees of all species.

Fun fact: Acorns (the nuts from oak trees) were a valuable food source for the indigenous peoples of America because of their ability to be stored for several years. Native Americans used fire to promote the production of acorns in oak groves, and they also burned fires to kill the larvae of acorn moths.

Persimmon tree

Although the persimmon tree is more widely grown in south-eastern states like Florida and Texas, it can technically be grown anywhere plant hardiness ranges between 4 and 9 on the USDA scale.

There are plenty of web resources on when and how to plant persimmon trees in Portland, so use all information to your advantage to get the best fruiting results. Another fruit tree similar to the persimmons is the quince.

Don’t Forget Berries

Oregon is home to one of the largest native blackberry populations in the United States. We highly recommend embellishing your trees with Oregon-native berry bushes.

Espalier Trees are Popular in Portland

Espalier is a technique used to train trees to grow against a wall or structure. The French word ‘espalier’ derives from the Italian ‘spalliera’, and it means “something to rest the shoulder against”. 

The espalier style is popular in any kind of urban setting because it creates space while still allowing fruit trees to grow. The espalier practice dates back to the ancient Egyptians.

What Are The Key Factors For Successful Fruit Tree Growing In Portland?

There are several other elements that you should consider if you hope to grow a thriving fruit tree. If you don’t take these things into account, it can lead to tree disease and even death. If you notice signs that your tree is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Portland tree specialists so they can give your tree a fighting chance.

However, if you haven’t planted your tree yet, be sure to consider the factors below to ensure it has the optimal conditions for growth. 

Climate and plant hardiness

You should always verify that the tree you’re growing will survive in your area by using the USDA plant hardiness zone map.

Oregon has a diverse climate that ranges from tropical-style coastlines to arid deserts, so it’s important to know where you can plant what.

Oregon goes from 4b to 9b on the plant hardiness scale, so some areas are drastically different from other areas. An example of the difference in Oregon plant hardiness is that palm trees will survive in some areas but not others.

Direct sunlight 

Fruit trees thrive when they have the proper amount of water and direct sunlight. Avoid planting trees in areas where they won’t get the vitamin D they deserve. The Arbor Day blog suggests that trees should get somewhere in between four and six hours of sunlight to thrive in their environment

One potential problem to look out for is cold temperatures during blooming in early spring that can cause frost damage to your tree. 

Correct soil prep 

The soil in Oregon is typically a hard clay in a lot of areas due to constant rainfall and cold winter temperatures. 

You might try having an agricultural soil assessment performed by a professional in the Portland area to help get a better feel or what fruit trees you should or shouldn’t put. You can also get help from an experienced tree professional here at Tree Triage.

Why Should You Grow Native Fruit Trees In Portland?

Do your research, and always grow native plants when possible. Here are some advantageous reasons why:

Native trees promote biodiversity

The Audubon Society points out that the United States has lost over 150 million acres of habitat to urban sprawl. It’s important to note that native tree species support the life of other animals, plants, insects, etc. of the surrounding ecosystem. 

Having said that, adding native trees to your landscape is a good way to attract beautiful native birds and other animals that have been occupying the area for hundreds or even thousands of years. Moreover, invasive species are a leading contributor to the decline of native populations of fish and other wildlife in Oregon.

Invasive trees destroy the native population

Always consider the local government resources for advice when it comes to planting trees. For example, Portland.gov has a list of both native and nuisance species to keep an eye out for in the Portland area. Below are a few reasons why invasive trees in Oregon are a problem and should be avoided.

Invasive/Non-native Plants Create Wildfire Risk

Invasive species create fuel for wildfires because they grow excessively. For example, in Oregon, Ivy/clematis vines climb trees, creating a conduit for the fire to reach the canopy of the tree.

The High Cost of Removing Invasive Species

Because aggressive-growing invasive species grow out of control quickly, it creates a high cost for the government and homeowners to remove them from certain areas.

The Office of Technology Assessment estimates that one dollar spent on early weed control prevents $17 in future removal efforts.

How Can A Tree Growing Expert Help?

Call the professional arborists in your area if you need help planting or caring for a tree. Remember, planting a new tree is a big decision because trees have the potential to live for hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of years. 

If you own property large or small in Oregon, we highly recommend that you consult a professional to help give you advice and care for the trees on your property. 

Planting

Tree-growing experts know how to properly plant trees, and they also know how many trees to plant in a certain area.

Pruning

There are both proper and improper ways to prune a tree. For example, cutting a tree’s branch all the way down to the trunk opens it up for potential infections/bugs to damage the base of the tree.

Transplanting

Do you need help moving trees? Hire a tree service to help you correctly move trees from place to place.

FertilizinG

Trees are living beings, so that means they can thrive better with the help of certain nutrients that may not naturally be in their surrounding soil.

Monitoring

You should closely monitor the health of your trees whenever possible. You never know when a group of invasive bugs will show up to eat holes in all of its leaves, and some tree diseases are difficult for amateurs to even identify.

Hiring someone to monitor your yard is a great idea, especially if you aren’t there 100 percent of the time. For example, certain fruit trees like apple, pears, and plums sometimes experience a fungal disease called brown rot that causes the fruit to rot and requires treatment with a fungicide.

Obtaining a tree removal/pruning permit

Another smart move is to hire a tree removal service such as Tree Triage if you need help removing a tree from your property.

Cities like Portland have quite a few laws in place when it comes to removing trees from both private and public properties, and oftentimes you need a permit to prune or remove trees.

Meet Your Tree Expert

Codey Stout

Codey has years of experience removing trees in residential and commercial environment. The only thing Codey likes doing more than removing intrusive trees, is removing unsightly stumps.
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