Fruit Production

Missouri Master Gardener Core Manual

GrapesMichele Warmund
Division of Plant Sciences

Missouri is home to almost all temperate zone fruit plants, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, currants, blueberries, grapes, apricots, cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches, apples and pears. They can be harvested from mid-May through the end of October (Figure 1). However, because of differences in their requirements of weather and soil and in their susceptibility to pests, some fruit plants grow better than others. Raspberry plants favor cool summer and fall temperatures, so plants grown in Missouri are often stunted and produce small fruit. Raspberries also require a well-drained soil to prevent root diseases and therefore do not grow well in clay soils. Blackberries, grapes and many of the tree fruits are susceptible to spring frosts. Blueberries require a low soil pH (4.8 to 5.2) and high organic matter, so soil amendments are often added before planting. Because of these special requirements, a soil test is always recommended before planting, and care should be taken to place all fruit plants in sites with full sun. Low-lying areas should be avoided because cold air accumulates there, increasing the likelihood of spring frost damage and subsequent fruit loss. In spite of these challenges, harvesting fruit from your own property can be fun and rewarding. Table 1 shows how much fruit can be harvested per plant under typical Missouri conditions.
 

Table 1. Bearing age, planting longevity and estimated annual yield of fruit crops in Missouri.

 

Fruit cropInterval from planting to fruiting (years)Life of plants (years)Estimated annual yield per plant or row
Apple (standard)5 to 735 to 4510 to 15 bu/tree
Apple (semidwarf)520 to 306 to 10 bu/tree
Apple (dwarf)315 to 203 to 6 bu/tree
Pear5 to 835 to 453 to 5 bu/tree
Peach2 to 410 to 153 to 6 bu/tree
Plum4 to 615 to 203 to 5 bu/tree
Tart cherry3 to 515 to 2060 to 80 qt/tree
Grape320 to 3050 to 100 qt/100 ft row
Strawberry (June-bearing)14 to 550 to 100 qt/100 ft row
Strawberry (everbearing)3 to 4 months250 qt/100 plants
Strawberry (day-neutral)2 to 3 months245 to 90 qt/100 plants
Raspberry (fall-bearing red)5 to 6 months5 to 12100 to 150 pt/100 ft row
Raspberry (summer red)15 to 12150 pt/100 ft row
Raspberry (black)15 to 121 qt
Raspberry (purple)15 to 121-1/2 qt
Blackberry (erect)15 to 1240 qt/100 ft row
Blackberry (semierect)18 to 104 to 10 qt/100 ft row
Blueberry2 to 320 to 304 to 8 qt/plant

 

 MayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober
Black raspberry XXX        
Fall-bearing red raspberry     XXXXXXX
Blackberry XXXXXXXXXXX
Grape       XXX  
Strawberry (June-bearing, day-neutral, everbearing)XXXXXXXXXX  
Blueberry  XXX       
Plum       XX   
Red raspberry XXX        
Peach    XXXXX   
Tart cherry  XX        
Pear   XXXXXXX  
Apple     XXXXXXX

Figure 1. Ripening season for fruit crops in Missouri.

Culture

Pollination
Most fruit plants require pollination (the transfer of pollen from a male flower to a female flower) and fertilization for fruit production. Peaches,