Virginia Fruit Trees, Nut Trees, Berry Bushes and Grape Vines
The serious fruit tree growing in Virginia began with General George Washington, when he purchased fruit trees and nut trees from a tree nursery in Flushing, NY., and Washington had the fruit trees and nut trees transplanted to his estate at Mount Vernon, VA., that contained 8000 acres. After President Washington retired his last time, he was content to grow fruit, berry and nut products at his Virginia plantation. President Thomas Jefferson was a very skilled fruit tree grower who surveyed French fruit trees and imported them to Monticello, Va. In exchange for the French fruit trees that the King of France had shipped to him, he exported American native fruit trees, black raspberries and red raspberries, muscadine grapevines, nuts from pecan trees, black walnut trees and citrus trees to France. Based on Thomas Jefferson's experience in successfully growing fruit trees at his Monticello, Virginia, estate, he imported many European fruit trees for American colonists to promote and to advance agriculture development in America.
Growing fruits, nuts and berries in Virginia successfully very much depends on planting the proper tree at the proper USDA climatic zone, mainly because Virginia farms and gardens range from the very cold winters of zone 5a in the Virginia mountains to zone 8 in the coastal areas. Both sweet and sour cherry trees (pie cherries) will grow well in Virginia backyard gardens. The Bing cherry tree and the Black Tartarian Cherry tree along with the North Star cherries are excellent sour (pie cherry) cherries to grow. Hundreds of apple tree cultivars are well adapted for growing inVirginia gardens, including the Red Delicious apple tree that originated in Iowa, and the Gold Delicious apple trees that were discovered growing in West Virginia. The Red Rome apple tree and the Arkansas Black apple tree are very flavorful and useful in making apple cider. The Elberta peach tree and the white, Belle of Georgia peach trees are productive summer peaches and red nectarines (fuzzless peach) produce very tasty and sweetly acidic fruit.
Yellow gold plum trees are very fast growing, and the yellow plum when tree ripened is one of the juiciest, sweetest tasting plums one can grow. The purplish -blue Stanley plum tree is very cold hardy and productive in Virginia's cold mountain areas. Several Auburn, Alabama plums that were developed at the University at Auburn, grow on very fast growing plum trees that are loaded with sweet red plums. The Kieffer pear tree is very cold hardy and grows a green -yellow pear that has a long shelf life. The Florida Home pear tree grows a yellow pear fruit that is best adapted for coastal cities like Virginia Beach, Virginia. The taste of a pear is optimized when pears are pre-picked off the trees to soften and ripen inside the house.
Fig trees have been a favorite fruit tree for Virginia gardeners, since early American colonists introduced figs from Europe. The Tennessee Mountain fig is the most cold hardy fig tree and can be grown in all areas of Virginia, especially the Virginia mountains. Generally the Black Mission fig is not very cold hardy and growing this fig is restricted for growing in coastal VA.
Many rare fruit trees such as the Jujube, Medlar tree, Paw Paw and Quince trees will grow throughout Virginia. Pomegranate fruit trees can be grown in some gardens along the coast and Japanese Persimmon trees, Mulberry trees, Olive, Guava and Banana trees have been grown successfully in warmer Virginia locations.
Cherry Flowering trees are very popular Spring flowering choices throughout Virginia and the Kwanzan and Yoshino cherry trees were introduced into American gardens by First Lady, Helen Taft, near the Potomac River on Potomac park in Washington DC in the year 1912. Since that initial flowering tree planting the Japanese flowering cherry trees have become the most important of the Flowering trees in Virginia, and America, Redbud trees and White Dogwood flowering trees are also very popular in the Virginia landscape.
Virginia Tech University describes the American Chestnut, Castanea dentata as formerly being the most important nut in Virginia, until it was almost wiped out by the American chestnut blight, however, blight resistant American chestnut trees are now available for planting and several hybrid crosses of the Chinese chestnut tree, Castanea mollissima, and the American chestnuts are being tested for Virginia backyard garden nut production.
Papershell pecan trees, Carya illinoiensis, will grow in Virginia, and the Northern Pecan tree James pecan tree is very cold resistant for growing in Virginia mountains.
American Black walnut trees, Juglans nigra, are native trees in Virginia, and the North Carolina Cannonball walnut tree is famous for the huge half pound walnuts. The American filbert tree is also native to Virginia and the small filbert nut, Corylus americana, is sweet and the small filbert nut is sweet and delicious.
The Shagbark hickory nut tree (Carya ovata) grows hardshell nuts with a sweet tasty kernel that has that unmistakable hickory flavor, much stronger than the pecan nut.
Grapes of many colors and kinds can be grown in Virginia. Scuppernong grape vines and the muscadine grape vine are both native Virginia grapevines. Seedless grape vines of many colors, such as the Thompson's white seedless grape, Red Flame grapes and Blue Concord grapevines grow delicious sweet clusters of grapes. Wine grapes grow well in Virginia vineyards, and abundant sugar means the wine will easily form alcohol with exotic aromas.
Red Raspberry plants and black raspberry plants are native raspberries in VA and the red Heritage raspberry plant sometimes produces two raspberry crops. The black Cumberland raspberry is delicious, but not as cold hardy as the Latham red raspberries and the Boyne red raspberry. Blueberries are native bushes to Virginia and the Rabbiteye blueberry plants produce large sweet blueberries in early summer in coastal Virginia blueberry orchards.
Both thorny blackberry plants and commercial thornless blackberries are being planted in extensive organic pick-you-own blackberry orchards in coastal and central Virginia. The sale of blackberries rivals the sale and production of raspberries.
Palm trees are located throughout Virginia, and cold hardy Windmill palm trees can be planted even in Virginia mountains. Needle palm trees are native to the United States and Needle palms are also cold tolerant in all USDA climate map zones.