Larger fruit trees, like apples, pears, plums and peaches require years of growing before they begin to bear fruit. Even some smaller fruit plants like blueberries and strawberries can take several years to get fully established. If you want fast results, go for fast-growing fruit plants that bear profusely. Like most fruit plants, the fast growing varieties should be planted where they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, and in well-drained soil.
Plant elderberry trees (Sambucus sp.) for their fantastic clusters of tiny purple-black berries. Elderberries can be used to make pies, jams and wine, and are a big attractor for deer and birds, too. These plants can be pruned into small trees, or allowed to branch freely into a fast-growing hedge if you plant them 1.8 to 3 m (6 to 10 feet) apart. Hardy throught the UK, elderberries need well-drained soil for their shallow root systems.
Allow pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba) to grow naturally and they'll quickly form a dense thicket. Prune suckers away from the trunk, and they'll eventually reach heights of up to 12 m (40 feet), with a pleasant, pyramidal shape. Pawpaws are native to North America, but will grow in the UK's climate. They produce clusters of 10 cm (4 inch), greenish-white, banana-shaped fruits in early September. Plant pawpaws in full sun.
Blackberries and raspberries
Plant blackberries (Rubus occidentalis) and raspberries (Rubus idaeus) in full sun for a fast-growing tangle of fruit-bearing canes. In fact, prepare to do battle to control them within a few years. Blackberries and raspberries have extensive, perennial root systems that spread horizontally underground, and once established, are extremely difficult to dig out. Raspberries tend to be more cold-hardy than blackberries, which can be killed by cold snaps of freezing weather.
Try highbush cranberries (Viburnum opulus) for its attractive fall foliage and small, red berries. You'll note that the berry clusters look very much like those of elderberry, and the two plants are in the same family. Highbush cranberries quickly establish themselves as a 4.5 m (15 foot), dense hedge or privacy screen when planted in groups, and the berries can be harvested in early fall for preserves, garnishes and sauces.
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