Several kinds of fruit trees can grow in Pennsylvania, from sweet cherries to many kinds of apples. The soil, rainfall and climate of Pennsylvania accommodates home orchards and industrial fruit production. Not only people, but also birds and bears benefit from the summer-long harvest of cherries, pears, apples, chokecherries and other tree fruits.
Pome Fruit Trees
Pome fruit trees are apple (Malus genus) and pear (Pyrus genus) trees, and they grow quite well in Pennsylvania. Apple varieties that can be grown in Pennsylvania include the Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Jonagold and Braeburn apples. Pear varieties include Anjou, Bartlett, Keiffer, Magness and Moonglow.
While the Pennsylvanian climate accommodates healthy pome fruit tree growth, apple and pear trees require a disciplined pesticide regime in order to produce a healthy crop.
Stone Fruit Trees
Some stone fruit trees, like peach (Prunus persica), apricot (Prunus armeniaca), plum Prunus Americana) and sweet cherry (Prunus avium) grow well in Pennsylvania. This genus of deciduous or evergreen trees produces beautiful blossoms and fruits with soft flesh that surround a hard pit. These trees produce from June through September and are sensitive to extremely cold winters and late springs. Seven species of the Prunus genus—including the Porter's plum, Appalachian cherry and the sand cherry—are native to Pennsylvania.
The chokecherry tree (Prunus virginiana) grows in Pennsylvania. This small tree has smooth bark that turns from light brown to gray over time and can grow up to 25 feet tall. People tend to steer away from the fruit because of the name, but chokecherries are edible and can be made into many food items. Chokecherry trees grow in clusters and bloom in the spring. Black bears love to eat chokecherries, as well.
The hardy orange (Poncirus trifoliata) is a close cousin of the citrus family. According to the USDA, this fruit tree lives in Pennsylvania. The fruit grows on small, deciduous plants and is winter hardy. While the fruit itself does not contain much flesh and tastes quite sour, it makes excellent marmalade and candied rinds.
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: Hardy Orange
- Wildfoods.info: Chokecherry
- Cornell University: Stone Fruit Resources
- Pennsylvania trees: By Joseph Simon Illick
- Cookforest.com: Common Trees of Pennsylvania
- United States Department of Agriculture: Pennsylvania Plants
- Penn State Department of Agriculture: Fruit Production for the Home Gardener
Hayley Smith is a freelance documentary filmmaker and writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern studies. She has contributed written work to various websites, specializing in topics on the outdoors and Utah skiing.