what fruit trees can be grown in Michigan?

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)April 4, 2013

Eventually when I have a decent piece of land, I'd like to grow fruit trees.

I'd be growing the fruit trees in southern MI not where I'm at now. I am wondering which fruit trees can be grown successfully in Michigan.

This is what I have in mind (no I don't plan to grow them all at once)

pear (bosc, bartlett, Asian)
paw paw (this is NOT papaya)

My concerns are regarding the fig and persimmon.
I know that both prefer warmer and milder climates. I also realize that traditionally the majority of Asian persimmons (which are the variety I'd like to grow) prefer zone 7 or above. I also realize figs prefer zone 7 or above.

However I've found varieties of persimmon that can be grown in zone 6; will they be hardy enough?

With figs I've also found some hardy varieties that be grown in zone 6. Will they be able to withstand the winter clmates?

Are there any precautions I should take with persimmon and fig in regarding to protecting them?

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Everything does, of course, depend on location. You've stated that you'll be growing in 'Southern Michigan', but where would that be, exactly? Many places in Michigan enjoy a quasi-maritime climate due to the moderating influence of the Great Lakes, and it's possible even in northern Michigan (ie. Traverse City) to grow tender fruits in temperate microclimates.

Many people grow figs outdoors in Chicago and Toronto, and there's no reason to think that you couldn't try to grow them in a protected location at your future home. I'd contact one of the local horticultural research centres for further info on this (ie. overwintering procedures).

The American persimmon is native as far north as Central Illinois, so I'd think you'd not have a problem growing it in your area. It's not Asian, but it does produce highly edible fruit (when fully ripe), and is a lovely tree.

There are a number of people who grow sub-tropical trees in the detroit area (ie. Royal Paulownia), so you shouldn't think that you're moving to the arctic. I'm sure you won't have any problems growing any other of your listed fruit trees, and pawpaw is, of course, native to Michigan.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 11:30PM
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By southern Michigan I mean either Holland or Ann Arbor.

I was also wondering if the winter climate here is mild enough to grow peaches.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:53PM
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You should be able to grow peaches in a good location in either city. There's a member on these forums who grows peaches in North Dakota (zone 4, at best), so you should no problem with a suitable variety in zones 5/6.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:45PM
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Thank you for your input and suggestions, as well as taking time to post on my thread; I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately in the initial list posted, I forgot to add some other fruit trees I'd like to try growing.

I'm wondering if it's possible grow these in zone 6... (same areas as mentioned before)

Pomegranate (yes I know it prefers warmer climates than where I'd be but I found some Russian varieties which are supposedly hardier)


jujubes (it's an Asian fruit; again it prefers warmer climates than the zone I'd be in, but I found varieties for zone 6)


would the jujubes and/or pomegranates need any special protection for the winter?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:34PM
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You're probably going to have to adopt some pretty robust overwintering procedures if you want to really push your zones with pomegranate and jujube. There are cultivars of pomegranate which are hardy to zone 7, and jujube can tolerate some frost, but it's going to be touch-and-go for you. I suggest that you renew your post in the far north forum, and ask for tips from members who specialize in growing sub-tropical plants in northern locales. There's a member (lurking around somewhere) who grows palms outdoors (much protection required) in Ottawa, Ontario, so he'll likely have some good info for you. You're probably looking at (a minimum) of growing your plants in depressions, weighing down the limbs in the fall, covering the plants with leaves and snow, and building shelters around them.

My grandparents had a bunch of apricots in their yard in southern Alberta (zone 3a), and we had a Japanese quince in our yard at our house north of Toronto (zone 5a), so you should be good with both of these in Michigan. Nectarines are, again, grown in southern Ontario, so you'll be able to find suitable cultivars for southern Michigan.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:33PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

" I was also wondering if the winter climate here is mild enough to grow peaches"

Yes, we are the 6th largest producer of peaches in the USA! Nectarines are peaches, so yes on that too. Are they easy to grow? Hell no, not without spraying.

You can grow jujube trees here. You have to have the right cultivars, some are hardy to zone 5 Raintree carries them.
Sherwood, Sugar Cane, and Contorted will grow here if you're in Zone 6 like me in South East MI.

Some persimmons are hardy in zone 6 too, again Raintree nursery has them.

I myself grow cherry, peach, nectarine, juneberry, and pluots. I also have a nectaplum tree. Except for the cherry trees, all are very young trees. I have not had fruit on them yet. I recently expanded to other stone fruits besides cherries. I have experience more with berries. Raspberry, currants, blueberries, honeyberries and the like.

On Zones, the garden club rates me at 5b, but what is important is the plant's rating. So a plant rated at zone 6 means if it get's colder than -10 degrees, you need to protect it. In my 56 years here, I never seen it that cold, ever! So do you need to protect plants rated to zone 6? Most likely you never will. We are expecting 11 years of colder weather, so it is possible, but unlikely. Some ways to protect them are watering them continually during the cold spell. Building a huge fire near them, putting the old fashioned large bulb Christmas lights on them and leaving on all night. Spray them with a freeze protectant. Cover with mulch or bubble insulation (for berry plants).

This post was edited by Drew51 on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 0:32

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:05PM
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