Ranking your fruit by ease or difficulty to grow

Taking into consideration all required effort (pruning, spraying, protection, etc) to get a decent harvest in a few years. I wanted to rank the fruit I grow from easiest to hardest.

Note: Keep in mind this is from the perspective of an eastern US, mid-atlantic, zone 7a grower and that variety selection can make a big difference.

From easiest to hardest to grow:

  1. Pear, Asian - Little to no pest or disease problems, hardest part is pruning and training them to stay short, fruits after 1-2 years
  2. Fig - Little to no pest or disease problems, very forgiving to neglect and hard pruning, can fruit same year as planting, only reason they don’t get the #1 spot is because they require some effort for winter protection
  3. Blueberry - Need to deal with birds, fruits after 1-2 years, pH management isn’t that difficult unless you have calciferous soil. I believe @alan has a theory that you only need a thin layer of low-pH soil for them to do well and I agree
  4. Strawberry - No disease problems, need to deal with birds, can fruit same year as planting for day neutral variety but then you have a slight risk with SWD
  5. Lemon / Lime - Pretty easy to grow if you have an area that gets a lot of sun inside the house during winter, you do need to move them in and out for winter, they can also struggle a bit at acclimating when moved inside
  6. Raspberry / Blackberry - This would be higher because they grow (and spread) like a weed, but in my area SWD decimates fall crops and is difficult to manage, I also haven’t figured out the best way to prune them yet
  7. Peach - If I had to do it again I probably would plant a Nectarine or something. Squirrels get every single fruit unless I bag or trap. The tree itself grows very vigorously but I need to watch out for borers. Also need to spray for disease

Pear - Euro, Blackberry, Plum, Persimmon, Apple, Currant / Gooseberry - Not enough experience to make a call


Autumn olive -could grow on a rock easy
Black raspberry
Carmine jewell cherry
Nanking cherry
Hardest =sweet cherries
Dead - alkaline soil = blueberries


I can tell you that I find currants (red, black, white) to be the easiest fruit to grow. The only issue I’ve ever had was defoliation by the imported currant worm. It happened once and I’ve never had a problem with it since. My reds grow in partial shade and still fruit well.

Gooseberry: Pretty easy, not as tolerant of shade as currants

I had a nectarine and after a decade of babying it I tore it out. I never got a single fruit as it was a magnet for every squirrel, possum, raccoon and bird in the county (well maybe not quite).

Kiwis are pretty easy, but I still suck as pruning well to encourage good fruiting.

Goumi… Almost as easy as currants.

Autumn Olive: hasn’t fruited well for me yet.

European Pear: Another fruit for me that squirrels take out. I netted a couple years ago and had to dispatch a number of squirrels who managed to get themselves hopelessly bound. My Asian Pear is pretty much the same.

Serviceberries.… Pretty carefree. My only complaint is that the birds love them and my trees are taller than me.

Pawpaw: Once they start producing they are pretty bulletproof. I’ve never had a problem with any disease or insects. Possums think I planted the trees for them. I almost wish I had the caterpillars which are supposed to love them.

Mulberry: everyone should grow 1 or 5 of these…

Tart Cherries: Most years excellent. I’ve just started having to spray after almost a decade of getting fruit.



Glad to see persimmon up there, I just hope I’m not disappointed with the fruit drop.

Surprised to see Plums and Nectarines ranked lower than Peaches, what the reason for that? I thought that plums (Japanese plums, specifically) are easy to grow but require spraying.

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Plum curcilio, canker etc make them hard here. Blooms freeze almost every year.

raspberry, currants , elderberry, blueberry, strawberry, aronia, gooseberry, honey berry and goumi are all easy and mostly spray free for me so far. i have others that grow well but i haven’t got a good crop so too early to tell how they produce.

For my location I’d put Aronia at the very top of that list. What problems does it pose for you? In fact, I have it growing near my Autumn Olive. The Autumn olive is solid, but hasn’t set a ton of fruit. The aronia produces well and is super easy to harvest.


I’d pretty much mirror this exact list.
And add goumi up near the top.
Medlar has been easy for me as well.
I haven’t even tried blueberries, apricots, nectarines. Don’t really have any plans to either.

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Birds eat our Goumi before their as ripe as I’d like for harvest.

In my small yard, east coast zone 6a. I don’t plant brambles or blueberries (too much work to deal with acidity. That’s work).

Easiest to most difficult
A and E Pears
E Plums
J plums

Hazel (plant only)
Goumi (Has potential to move high on my list but I’m just getting started
with them)

and here they don’t touch them. chickens though…

I sent someone cuttings from my autumn olives…hope they grew.
I find they stand drought about as well a anything I can think of. … so planting on a rock would make sense!

  1. Strawberry
  2. Raspberry
  3. Peach
  4. Apple - fireblight
  5. Sweet Cherry - easy to grow and fruit. Will have Western Cherry fruit fly maggots in every cherry if unsprayed, or if a spray is missed.

Black Walnuts
American Cranberry bush viburnum
sour cherries

Figs (winter protection, and my potted ones are unhappy & I don’t know why. But the in-ground fig does great)
Plums (I have no idea why the plum curculio eat my apples instead)
Blackberries & Red Raspberries (brambles, birds. enough said)
Apricots (no care needed so far, but early frosts or lack of pollinators can eat all the blooms)
Cherries & Pluots (cherries are harder to care for, but both bloom well and neither sets worth a damn)
Blueberries (potted, but the local catbirds eat every single one without extreme measures)
Yellow & Black Raspberries (too hot)
Apples (CAR, sooty blotch, & the favorite food of the local curculio)
Gooseberries & currants (too hot, too humid. I can barely keep in-ground ones alive, and the potted ones don’t do much better)
Mulberry (I’ve got a Black Beauty in a pot and It’s not happy either. doesn’t want to leaf out or grow)

My pot problems might be a lack of watering. I’ll try to do better and take another try at automated watering.

Unknown: jujube

I started to make a list, but realized it depended on where I had planted the various items and if I sprayed them. For no-spray: honeyberries, currants, kiwis, raspberries, aronia, blueberries, rhubarb, strawberries. For volume of fruit: apples, pears. Stone fruits have been difficult, but maybe I need to spray for brown rot. I also have had poor pollination with stone fruits. My lingonberry foliage does very well, but I don’t get fruit. Have lost several peach, mulberry, apricot, pecan trees, so they don’t do well near Minneapolis/St. Paul. Tree fruits require less tedious weeding than the smaller items. Birds and critters are a constant problem with nearly all fruit. I would say plant what tastes best to you, as nothing is totally carefree.

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We lack water and aronias love water so i grow it on a wet part of my land between several hills. The dry aronia bushes dont fair to well. This is what aronia looked like during the last major drought of 2018 on my wet property. They lived but not by much. This year results may be better. Here are some pictures of my aronia field Aronia Harvest

Impressive. I just have a few.

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Easy to hard (for 4B/5A Maine)…you may be surprised.

  1. Pears…by far the “easiest”. A bit of a pain to get lateral branching but otherwise just watch them grow and produce.

  2. Blueberries - Weeding is the top issue with these guys. Annual pruning has been hard to keep up because our early spring weather has sucked in recent years…but blueberries are very productive provided you have the proper soil to grow them in.

  3. Peaches - Contender, Red Haven & Reliance peaches have done very well for us. Very little pest pressure in this climate. Worst problem has been peach leaf curl.

  4. Raspberries - We’ve given up on them due to poor planting area (too wet) and poor planning on our part (eliminating weed pressure before planting).

  5. Apples - Apples are a terrific crop in Maine, but the pest and disease (scab!) pressure are almost unbearable. A consistent spray schedule throughout the spring and summer are a must! We struggle with that aspect.

  6. Plums - Pulled them due to PC destruction of fruit every season. Hard to spray because of other blooms & bee activity during early fruit development.

  7. Apricots - Ugh.