Backyard Fruit

MSU extension provides an educational opportunity for you to gain knowledge and experience incorporating various types of fruit into your diet.

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Growing fruit near your home is a fun way to put more fresh produce into your diet. Fruit trees require much care for proper growth and to avoid damage from pathogens and pests. Check out the resources on this page for strategies that will make you successful at growing berries and other fruit.

Preparing the site for fruit production


Knowing what is responsible for leaf or fruit damage is critical to properly diagnose ailing backyard fruits. The following guide illustrates the terms used to diagnose plant damage A Guide to Identifying Plant Disease Symptoms (E1592). Other common diseases in Michigan fruits include:

Insect and related pests

Two invasive species, spotted wing Drosophila and brown marmorated stink bug, pose a serious risk to fruit crops and are especially difficult to control.

Birds will sometimes feed on mature fruit. Several options can protect fruit from bird-feeding.

Soil nutrition

Unexplained changes in leaf color or plant vigor could be caused by nutrient deficiencies, since fruits have unique micronutrient requirements. Getting the soil tested every few years can determine if poor growth is caused by nutrient deficiencies.


General requirements and care

Thinning tree fruits can improve fruit quality and help produce flower buds for next year’s crop. This video, Summer thinning apple trees, demonstrates the right way to thin fruits in spring and summer. For further reading on thinning:

When fruit trees or bushes are blooming, temperatures below freezing can cause severe damage. It is necessary to irrigate plants to protect a crop from spring freezes.

Preserving fruit

Commercial fruit production

MSU Extension websites designed for farmers, but loaded with information gardeners can use: ApplesBlueberriesCherriesChestnutsHops and Grapes.