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
- Considerations for growing backyard small fruit
- Considerations for growing backyard tree fruit
- Blueberries require unique care as they prefer acidic soils with a pH between 4.5 – 5.2. Here is a comprehensive guide to growing blueberries.
- Video on vineyard site selection and guide to growing table grapes
- Raspberry variety choices for Michigan
- Several less common fruits are also suitable for growing in Michigan.
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:
- Apple scab
- Bacterial spot in nectarines. Note: This resource is offered for understanding the disease. Pesticides in this article may no longer be registered for use.
- An illustrative guide to different rots in blueberries
- Managing grape diseases in the spring
- Peach leaf curl
- Raspberry Diseases in Michigan
- Strawberry Diseases in Michigan
- Virus and Virus-like Diseases of Blueberries
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.
- Spotted wing Drosophila: A serious pest for the home gardener can rapidly destroy fruits. Monitoring for this pest is essential so treatment can be made before populations increase.
- Recommendations for spotted wing drosophilla management (Updated 2020)
- Brown marmorated stink bug is of greater concern from July – September in tree fruits and can be controlled through several ways.
- Raspberry cane borers can cause stem wilting.
- Pest management in stone fruit
- Video on controlling pests in grapes
Birds will sometimes feed on mature fruit. Several options can protect fruit from bird-feeding.
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.
- Nutrient deficiencies in apples
- Nutrient deficiencies in blueberries
- Nutrient management in chestnuts
- Soil nutrients in grapes
- Smart Gardening: Pollination in vegetable gardens and backyard fruit
- Gardening for pollinators: Smart plants to support pollinators
- Invite pollinators to your garden by creating a smart habitat
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.
- USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2015 revision
- MSU Extension’s Michigan Fresh