When looking into possible options for a landscaping project, keep in mind the use of a fruit bush. Besides the beauty that they can add to a yard, they can also be an ideal option for added privacy, if you grow them as either a hedgerow along the side of a building or along a walkway or fence.
They also have other benefit as well, producing edible fruit, with some plants providing its fruit in less than a year. Keep in mind that different plants bear fruit at different times throughout the year.
When planting always consider a plants hardiness zone. This is a guide that growers can use to tell which plants can thrive at certain locations. It is based on temperature exposure — the lower the zone, the colder the temperature. Also planting requirements are all relatively the same. They mostly will require full sun, good soil, and frequent watering.
Fruit Bearing Bushes
The blueberry bush (Vaccinium spp.) requires a U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zone of 6-10. These plants will grow up to about 4 feet and need highly acidic soil (pH around 4.5) to thrive.
Due to blueberries having shallow roots, it is essential to add peat moss and sulfur when planting to ensure the topsoil is at an acceptable pH level. Blueberries will bear fruit in the summer. Be aware that a netting may be needed to protect the fruit from birds. Make sure to plant additional blueberry shrubs to ensure a successful harvest and plenty of berries.
Raspberry bushes (Rubus spp.) require a hardiness zone of 3 -10, and it is all dependent on the species of raspberry. There are multiple species to choose from ranging from red and black species to go along with a dwarf and thorn-less species. It is important to be aware of what time of the year each species ripens.
Red varieties will be ripe in the fall which is quite the opposite of black raspberries which ripen in the early summer. These shrubs prefer slightly acidic (pH of 6.0), reasonably dry soil that also contains plenty of organic matter. With canes that can reach up to 6 feet in high, remember to keep in mind the need to install a trellis to help keep the canes from falling over.
A blackberry bush (Rubus spp) requires a USDA zone that ranges from 4 through 8. The habitat that a blackberry bush requires is very similar to that of a raspberry bush. They both prefer well-draining soil that is also slightly acidic.
They also come in different cultivars ranging from both thorn-less and thorny options. Be aware that blackberries tend to spread quickly and very easily. Make sure to plant barriers around the roots (up to 12 inches deep) of the bush to keep them contained. They also grow on cranes that can reach up to 5 foot and depending on type blackberries will ripen from summer up until the temperatures start to drop.
There is one other difference between a raspberry and the blackberry besides the color. The difference is with the torus or the stem. The torus is removed along with the blackberry when the blackberry is picked off the bush, unlike that of a raspberry where the torus is left behind. That is why a raspberry has a void or hole at the top of it. But other than that, they are both very similar.
Currants (Ribes spp) thrive best in USDA zones that range from 3-8. Currants can be found in several different varieties but are all found on bushes that can grow up to an average of 5 feet. The varietals can range from red, black, white, and pink.
These fruit-bearing plants are a little different in the sense that they require morning sunshine and shade in the afternoon, not the full sun that most fruit-bearing plants require. Currants need soil that’s both slightly acidic and high in organic matter. Currants will be ready to eat during summer, and they fare better in cool to moderate climates.
In Canada, especially in Alberta where they are prevalent, Gooseberries and other currants bearing bushes are popular for both their fruit and their aesthetic features. They are ideal for small yards. These berries can be used fresh or preserved and are an excellent source for Vitamin C.
The Highbush cranberry, native to Alberta, is mostly used as an ornamental plant instead of its fruit-producing capabilities. The fruit it produces does make for an excellent jelly; it can be far too seedy for jams. The Highbush can grow up to 3m tall and prefers wooded and secluded areas that are moist and have little to no sun.
But this does not mean that they will not do well in open spaces. It’s quite the contrary; they do very well. Most nurseries here in Alberta are very well stocked with Highbush Cranberry because they are a great landscaping option. When planting a highbush, make sure that they are at least 3 m apart and watered frequently. They do require to be cut back to 1/3 of its height to help establish a dense, bushy plant.
When it comes to ease the Goji, the plant is probably the easiest to maintain. It is a large shrub that can reach heights of 2-3 meters. It can grow in any soil but would fare much better in soil good, quality soil. The addition of good compost at planting will ensure your Goji plant will grow and produce quality fruit.
Make sure that the area used to plant is not overly soggy. It needs an area where water flows away from them and not leave the soil excessively wet. Goji plants have roots that can be quite aggressive when it comes to spreading and once established in the ground can be quite tolerant of drought.
Pruning is essential. It will keep the plant shorter and thicker, which will help with more flowering and fruit production. Known for its small trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in early summer. These flowers turn to fruit in late summer continuing to flower and fruit until the first heavy frost.
Unfortunately, it does take some time for the Goji plant to become a fruit-bearing bush. On average it the Goji plant will begin flowering in its second year with maximum fruit production starting in its fourth or fifth year.