Fruit trees within the landscape are beneficial for a variety of reasons: they contribute to the local ecology by providing a food source for a variety of species; provide flowering decorative trees which are visually appealing within the landscape; grow edible fruits; and provide focal areas within open spaces where people can work and rest together.
Where fruit trees are specified and planted in the correct conditions and helped to mature, they can be a benefit to the local community for many years with relatively low levels of human input. While specifying fruit trees there are a variety of factors to carefully consider ensuring the correct species are selected.
A variety of types of fruiting trees exist including apples, cherries, pears, and plums. Each can be grown for fruit production or as ornamental varieties. Species benefits vary and can include providing food for humans, insects, and birds, creating a variety of habitats, and providing tranquil and relaxing environments.
If left to grow naturally many fruit trees can reach a size which would be difficult to fit within a small garden or manage within an orchard. Grafting the roots of a tree will help to manage the ultimate size if they are maintained correctly. Different rootstocks are available for fruit trees, for example apple trees which have references from MM106 at a mini orchard size up to M25 for a larger tree. Pears, cherries, and plums also have varying rootstock varieties and terms to suit the size requirement of the ultimate tree.
A diverse number of forms are available and different types of fruit tree are better suited to various forms. Fruit trees are often trained into these shapes to be aesthetically pleasing but also to allow for good fruit production. Apple trees are often trained into cordon or espalier shapes to maximise fruit growth. Cherry trees fruit much better in a fan, bush or standard tree depending on space available.
Fruit trees, both fruiting and non-fruiting varieties, create blossoms of different size and colour, from white to shades of pink. Different fruit trees bloom at different times of the year and a careful selection can help extend a flowering season. Plums and cherries bloom first in March to April time and apples often last into May.