When you invite fruit trees into your garden, you don't have to worry about them wearing out their welcome. Think frothy spring blossoms, lush foliage and ripe fruit still warm from the sun. It doesn't take much know-how to start a small home orchard. The best trees for you depend on your preferences and your location. But we've put together a short list of 5 great fruit trees that will add a touch of magic to your backyard. 1. Fig - You don't have to worry about micromanaging a fig tree. This is one fruit tree that pretty much takes care of itself if it gets direct sun and has well-draining soil. Choose trees that stay short naturally, like 'Improved Brown Turkey," to avoid pruning. Figs are self-pollinating so you won't need two to tango. 2. Apple - Apples are an American favorite, delicious right off the tree or cooked up in pies. Planting an apple tree brings these friendly fruits to your backyard. But you'll also enjoy showy, fragrant blossoms in spring and welcome shade mid-summer. Pick a variety that suits your climate and a size that works in your yard. Dwarf trees can produce full-size fruit. 3. Plum - Compact plum trees are perfect for that small, sunny corner of the garden. Plums promise beautiful flowers in spring, followed by a generous load of juicy fruit. If you don't have room to put in two trees, consider the self-fertile 'Opal' cultivar. 4. Meyer Lemon - The 'Improved Meyer" lemon tree produces fruit sweet enough to eat raw. Plus it holds its fruit on branches like yellow ornaments for many months. Meyer lemons are small trees, perfectly happy in containers in regions with cold winters. 5. Persimmon - If you prefer stunning fall display to more spring blossoms, think persimmons. These small trees produce deep orange fruit that ripens on the tree as the leaves turn fiery colors in autumn.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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