Best fruit trees for shade?

Hi all,

I know that this topic has been visited many times before but I would like to update information on here or have a more current list of what fruit trees potentially work with minimal sunlight. I know that this can vary widely based on climate and zone but I would love to hear what trees you guys have that are successfully fruiting with not a lot of direct sun. I know that crop load can be diminished in the shade, but as long as you get some fruit that tastes good, I am happy with that.

My situation…

I currently have a 20ft. fence line that is ~8ft tall and faces North. I need to plant some trees along the fence that will be aesthetically please as well as provide something fun to snack on. I know that shaded trees dont typically produce a lot of fruit. What I want is to have trees that produce SOME fruit but fruit that tastes good (and mature). I want something that will succesfully ripen in the shade.

I know we have debated on here different fruits but a lot of what I see is that many people discuss brambles and the like. My problem is that I want something maintained around the height of the fence and my wife really wants some citrus. I have read that sour citrus can tolerate some shade. Also, I only get around 150 OR LESS chill hours…so that definitely is a factor.

I am going to be really crowding these trees to keep the size down so I was thinking probably 6-7 trees for this space. Espalier is an option. Please PLEASE give your feedback. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Possible choices:
-Apple - Dorsett Golden/Einshemer/Anna/Sundowner – not sure on the variety because of the varying tales of CH accumulation
-Fig - VdB, Panache
-Pear - Hood, Kieffer?
-Plum - Beauty (pollinator),
-Pluot - Splash
-Apricot - Tropic Gold
-Citrus - Lemon/Lime (going to graft on other varieties)

I may fill in the the fenceline with some of my kiwi berries or other thornless brambles. The area between my lawn and fence is about 3-4ft wide. Cant wait to here all of your experiences and thoughts.




I have a plum tree ~2’ from a 7’ privacy fence, with the same orientation. I put it in a 10" raised bed, and only the lower trunk of the tree is ever in the shade.

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You could choose all those fruits and maybe add more depending on the size of the area if you go with a backyard orchard culture style! Perfect for ares like that.

@nil thank you so much, are you getting any fruit off of those plum trees? how do they taste?

I would love to go backyard orchard style HOWEVER I just put in brand new turf/sod so I can cut into that yet. That being said, I am going all organic with the turf and added in compost and biochar to the soil so when I do pull out the sod years down the road, the soil will be good to go!

I have Panache and VdB figs growing in the shade. Both have grown slowly, and took a couple of years before making a reasonable amount of fruit. Eventually the VdB got so tall it found the light, and is pumping out fruit (but now I can hardly reach them). Growing these in shade does work and they look good and make good fruit, but be patient.

Ok that is good to know. I want to ideally keep them below the 8’ fenceline because I dont want them casting any shade onto my lawn. I want to keep the lawn nice and green!

I will try to upload a photo of the area that I want to plant in.

The plums tasted good. Only the bottom 2.5 feet are shaded. You are probably in a good climate for persimmons. Avocados may be an option. I have read they do not like a lot of light when young. Anything over 5’ tall should get good sun on the canopy.

Here is the fence line…for reference the photo was taken facing South. The dirt patch faces north…it is probably 20-30ft long. Thanks everyone!

Here’s a quote from another forum about figs that do well in partial shade:

Most in the day in shade from a very large tree about 15’ away. A few hours in direct sun split between early morning and late afternoon. And much worse in the crowded interior of the tree. Off hand, here are some that have tolerated that alright (i.e., all fruited fairly productively, though slower than in more sun):

Socorro Black
Bourjasotte Grise
Violette de Bordeaux
Golden Rainbow / Yellow Long Neck
Dr. Gowaty
Unk. Pastiliere
Brooklyn White
Improved Celeste
4343 Narragansett
Figo Preto
German Giant

Post #21: lessons you learned about figs this year; and ones you knew but failed to implement -

Thanks @JCT I appreciate it VdB is one of the best things ive ever eaten.

So do you all think I’m good with what I’ve listed above? Im nervous about the citrus but I heard the sours should be ok…

Hope you all are having a nice week.