Published on June 6, 2021 | Last Updated April 12, 2022
Growing Fruit Trees in Tennessee
Ready to try your hand at growing fruit trees in Tennessee? You may have a couple of questions before you begin, such as, what fruit trees grow best in Tennessee? Or.. what are the growing zones of Tennessee? It is important to start off with trees that can grow well in the state, otherwise it will be extra work to keep the plant alive and/or may not be a thriving plant. Some fruit trees can be expensive so it is important to keep our trees healthy so they can last many seasons and produce plenty of fruit!
Planning and Planting Fruit Trees in Tennessee
Fruit trees are a wonderful plant to grow in Tennessee. Gardeners have been making space for fruit trees and fruit bushes in their gardens and yards for a long time. Some fruit trees need a lot of growth space so it’s important to leave sufficient space between trees, about 20 feet for standard sized trees. Standard Cherry and Apple trees can require up to 35 feet spacing. If you are limited by space take a look at dwarf fruit trees, they are easier to move around and don’t require as much spacing as their standard-sized counterparts.
The Best Fruit Trees to Plant in Tennessee
Tennessee’s growing hardiness zones range from 5a – 8a. Northern spots in Tennessee can experience temperatures as low as -15°F, so growing cold hearty plants that that region is critical. With a somewhat mild climate, Tennessee allows for a large variety of plants grow well in it, but some trees are even better suited than others. If you are new to growing fruit trees here are some that should do very well in your area.
- Pears – With the other fruit trees for the area, pear trees make an a-plus addition to your homestead. When planting, you will want to make sure the area is elevated and sloped if possible. This assists the tree in growing especially with the frosts as air circulation as well as soil saturation is key with them.
- Apples – Available to harvest midway through August to late October, apples are the way to go for a variety of fruit trees! Varietals that do well in Tennessee are romes, winesaps, and all the delicious types such as golden. While apple trees can thrive in most types of soil, you will want to make sure that there is good drainage to avoid standing water and a lot of sun available.
- Peaches – In Tennessee, peaches are plentiful! Peaches also kick off the summer in Tennessee with their harvest starting in early June that lasts into August. You will want to probably buy a tree from a nursery if possible as they do take some time to grow until bearing fruit. After receiving your tree, you will want to plant them in full sun.
More Fruit that Grows Well in Tennessee
We know apple, pear and peach trees are excellent fruit trees for Tennessee’s weather and climate. However, there are a few other less common kinds you can try your hand at growing too.
- Cherry – Black cherry trees are native to Tennessee. For sweeter fruit, you’ll need to have another tree with which you’ll cross-pollinate. However, if you just want one tree, sour cherries self-pollinate.
- Plum – Another native tree to Tennessee, the American Red Plum will give you fruit in late summer to early fall. These trees like part to full sun and moderately dry moisture. They do grow quickly and get between 15-25 feet high. They are also a good ornamental tree as they produce white flowers in mid-spring before their leaves appear.
- Grapes – From table grapes to wine grapes, Tennessee can grow it all. Most of the grapes best suited to Tennessee growing conditions are the French-American hybrid and American varieties. Most important when considering growing grapes in Tennessee is buying quality root cuttings, as this can make or break your production.
- Persimmon – Fairly common in the wild, Persimmon trees are popular with both humans as well as small animals. This means if you want to grow these in any quantity, you’ll want to make sure you have them safe! With Persimmons, you will also want to make sure you have a female tree and a male tree as they are dioecious and the male trees will never produce fruit. The fruit is harvested in the fall, but may stick around until winter, and can be made into pies, syrup, and jelly.