How would you rank these from greatest to least when it comes to sun requirements: apples, pears, peaches, sweet cherries, plums?
i think it depends on the variety aswel.
For me, at 51 latitude. some things are shaded in spring and fall while they get full sun mid summer. I try to plant it out so the tree’s get sun when ripening. So stuff that ripens mid/end of summer like plums and earlier apples etc get a spot that’s shady in fall. But still gets full sun when ripening.
Do keep in mind though that an early variety that’s shaded while ripening ripens slower. So if you have the early variety to extend the season. plant it sunny. And thin enough fruits.
I give the full sun spot to varieties that need warmth / ripen slowly or want a longer growing season.
if not taking variety into account I’d probably rank them as
peaches, pears, cherries, apples, plum. But that’s more based on feeling and fruit preference than actual argument.
you can also try tools like
to map out shadows during different times of day and year for your location. (don’t mind the eu in webadres, it also works in america)
if you don’t know how the website works. If posted an short explainer in this topic. (scroll down til you see it)
For citrus tree The Meyer lemon needs a LOT of full day sun and A Meiwa kumquat, Fukushu kumquat will do well with half the sun. Tree Fruits - Edible Landscaping give shade tolerance on their plants when you click on detailed information.
I don’t have an answer for the ranking you requested. But apples will tolerate some shade. Tart cherries (not on your ranking list) will tolerate quite a bit of shade and I have harvested tart cherries from a tree that was located under shade trees and that received little light.
The peaches, plums, and sweet cherries are going to have problems in shade even if the leaves will tolerate the shade. Shade will mean the fruit is slow to dry after a rain and that is going to encourage brown rot. In general, all fruit trees are going to have more disease issues in shade but brown rot is hard to control in full sun. Apples and pears don’t commonly get brown rot and tart cherries have some resistance to it.
You might get a better answer to your question if you explained your situation a bit. How many hours of sun your planting locations get , what is blocking the sun trees, buildings, etc.
I’ve used this free phone app and the virtual reality option to roughly map out the hours of sunlight in my whole yard. Basically you use the camera and a superimposed sun path with times and a specific date to see how many hours of sun any one spot has on any date you choose - I just pick like June 15 and August 15 and interpret from there.
Sun position and path on the App Store
The “Fig Boss” has a publicly available spreadsheet (mostly for figs), but it also has a tab that lists these more shade tolerant fruit varieties with these notes FWIW:
Plums, Asian & European
Sweet & Sour Cherries
“Not everything can produce well in only 4 hours of light, but all listed will in 6 hours.”
“Pretty much any berry can be grown in shadier areas.”