Growers should consider region as many fruit trees are susceptible to cold. Blossoms are affected by the late frost in colder areas like Wisconsin and other states in the upper Midwest and the trees do not produce as abundantly as in other areas. These include the cherry tree which is not highly recommended for growing in Wisconsin. Fruit trees need a lot of care in order to grow and produce well; if the weather does not cooperate, this task can prove impossible. In Wisconsin the optimal fruit tree growing zone is along the southern tier of the counties, going up along the shore of Lake Michigan, and then up along Door Country. The optimal zone is also the one which stretches along the southeastern shore of Lake Superior. In all these areas the lake alleviates the worst effects of the hard winter temperature. Some good fruit choices for growing in Wisconsin include blueberries, apples, grapes, pears and plums.
The most popular apple variety for growing in Wisconsin is the McIntosh. McIntosh is the result of a chance seedling of unknown parents in Canada in about 1870. The apple is medium sized with an almost completely solid, bright red skin. McIntosh is not only excellent for eating fresh but is also very tender upon cooking. However the trees drop their fruit prematurely and are susceptible to apple scab. Apple trees are best planted in full sun for optimal growth and production of fruit. It is important for the trees to get the early morning sun as this helps to dry to early morning dew and lowers chances for diseases. The planting site should be well-ventilated and free from spring frosts.
Only the European plums are considered good for planting in Wisconsin. Plums are a stone fruit and belong to the genus Prunus, which is characterized with a hard inner seed or a pit covered with a fleshy outer fruit layer. The best site to plant plums, or any stone fruit, is on a gentle slope which will allow the cold air to sink into the adjacent lower areas around the trees. Hilltops are not a good site as they could prove to be very windy and exposed. Plant the tree in a fertile, slightly acidic, sandy loam soil. There should be good drainage in the ground since the tree will not grow well if its roots are wet. Choose a location that receives ample sunlight.
Pears are considered the easiest fruit to cultivate. The best pears for Wisconsin are the European pears and the Asian pears. Both types have a typical pear shape with a rounded base, and elongated neck. Comparatively the European pears are hardier than the Asia variety. The best site for planting is a gentle slope and hilltops are not recommended. Pear trees will grow in all soil types except the rocky and heavy clay soils. There should be good water drainage. The trees prefer a slightly neutral to acidic soil and full sun for at least ¾ of the time during the day. In a heavy alkaline soil, add sulfur and in the over acidic one, add lime. It is also recommended to add organic matter like leaves, manure, or compost as this improves aeration, tilth and water-holding capacity in the soil.
Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.