People always ask are there fruit trees for the prairies? We can grow some amazing fruit here, and the varieties of trees that we sell have been grown here successfully for many years.
We have world class apples here on the prairies; full size, keeps a long time in the crisper, and fully hardy. A second and different apple variety needs to be within 1/4 mile for proper pollination to get fruit(A crab apple will also work). Trees reach 18′ tall unless grafted on a dwarfing rootstock which limits the height of the tree to 8′. Fruit ripens sometime in September.
Beautiful and fragrant blooms, amazing fruit, and gorgeous fall colour; apricots are a joy to have in the yard! A second and different apricot is required to have fruit. Apricots bloom very early in the spring which can be damaged by frost. Trees reach 20’+ tall, and fruit ripens end of July/early August. Some varieties have amazing fall colours!
Prairie Cherry Trees
Prairie Cherries were developed at the U of S in Saskatoon, where they are called Dwarf Sour Cherries. We like our name better 😉 While they are tart, the fruit is also sweet and get sweeter the longer the fruit is left on the tree. The cherries are self-fertile so a 2nd tree is not required to get fruit. Trees grow to 6′ – 10′ high and the fruit ripens end of July/early August.
There are only a few varieties of grapes that are fully hardy for Saskatchewan, but if living in the city or a protected area, more tender varieties can be grown. Grapes prefer full sun and protection from the wind, as well as having a trellis, arbor or fence for the vine to climb on. Most varieties of grapes are self-fruitful, so a 2nd vine is not required. The wild grape and a variety called Minnesota 78 need a 2nd and different variety to have fruit. Vines can grow 8’+ and fruit is ready in early/mid September. After the 1st frost all of the leaves and green stems die so it is important to try to get the plant to ripen the fruit as soon as possible so it has a chance to harden off before fall. We cover our grape vines in September, like we do our tomatoes, to protect from frost.
Haskap are a new and exciting fruit being developed by the U of S. A member of the honeysuckle family, these strange looking fruit are both delicious and extremely high in anti-oxidants. They bloom extremely early in the spring, but the blossoms are hardy to -7C. Trees grow as 4′ – 5′ bushes, and the fruit ripens in late June. Extremely hardy.
Pears are extremely ornamental at bloom time with their massive amounts of flowers and pyramidal tree shape. A second and different pear is required to have fruit. Trees grow 20’+ tall, and the fruit ripens in early/mid September.
Plums are beautiful trees at blossom time, with a wonderful fragrance. A second and different plum is required to have fruit, and sand cherries and possibly apricot can pollinate as well. Trees grow 12′ – 15′ high and the fruit ripens in August-September depending on the variety.
Raspberries grow as canes and not trees, where the cane grows in the first year, and produces fruit in the second and then dies. Fruit ripens late July/early August. A second type of raspberry called “Primocanes” has the fruit producing on the 1st year’s growth but the fruit ripens in September and may not be ripe before the 1st frost. Raspberries are quite vigorous, sending out new plants to continually renew the patch.
The native Saskatoon plants are a fruit staple to all prairie people! A member of the apple family, they are extremely hardy, but susceptible to frosts, disease, and insects, and more challenging to grow organically. Trees can grow 15’+ high but annual pruning to renew the tree can keep the height in the 8′ – 10′ range. Fruit is ripen in early/mid July.
There are 3 types of strawberries; June bearing which produce once in late June/early July, Everbearing which produce in late June/early July and then in the fall, and Day Neutral(which we grow) which produce from late June until frost. Plants have difficulty competing with weeds so mulch or landscape fabric is necessary.
The Trees We Sell
We focus on larger, and more mature trees, as we are all so impatient to get fruit! Some trees such as our apples/pears/plums/apricots are 7’+ tall. Plants can be picked up by appointment (Contact Dean 306-530-9133) here at the orchard, typically the 2nd week in May, but it is dependant on the weather. We highly recommend placing your order early in the year as we do not have a lot of stock available, and we sell out quickly. Planting is best done in early spring, but can be done all the way until September. Fertilizing is typically not necessary in the first year of planting, but ensuring the plant has good moisture is essential for good health.
All the trees we grow are hardy for the prairies, but there are rare occasions that trees die. Sometimes it is obvious such as damage done by deer, rabbits, mice, porcupines, lawn mowers ;-). Other times, death can occur due to many factors that impact the overall health of the tree. These factors include too little water, too much water, -42C with no snow cover, disease, etc. Sometimes, death takes a few years, as the tree gets weaker and weaker because of these factors, and finally succumb to an event that they would normally handle without difficulty. Due to all these factors that are completely out of our control, we do not offer a guarantee that the trees we sell will survive. We only guarantee that they are healthy when you pick them up.Retail Plant Pricing 2023