Fruit tree life expectancy

Written by andrea m. zander
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Fruit tree life expectancy
(Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Each variety of fruit tree has a range of years, and trees will not bear fruit for their entire lives. Lifespan depends on growing conditions, region, pests, diseases and overall care. Most common types of fruit trees have both fast-growing and slow-growing cultivars.

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Apple trees

Apple trees are among the long-lived trees, with most standard varieties living 35 to 45 years and producing fruit for 30 to 40 years. Some may produce for twice that long. Dwarf trees tend to live for 20 years, while semi-dwarf varieties may live 20 to 30 years.

Fruit tree life expectancy
Apple trees are among the long-lived trees. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of tanakawho)

Pear trees

Like apples, pear trees can have longer lives than most fruit trees. A pear tree can bear fruit four to six years after it is planted from seed and then have a productive life of about 30 to 40 years. While trees may live longer, they may not produce fruit. Bacterial canker, root rot, or blight can all adversely affect a pear tree's lifespan.

Fruit tree life expectancy
A pear tree can bear fruit four to six years after it is planted from seed. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Shirl)

Peach trees

The lifespan of peach trees has dropped considerably in the past two decades. Most live from eight to 15 years, although they once lived to 20 years. The change stems from loss of tree health due to environmental stressors, especially cold temperatures and bacterial cankers.

Cherry Trees

Cherry trees--both tart and sweet--live 15 to 20 years. They are particularly prone to damage from disease and insects, so taking appropriate precautions can prolong their lifespan.

Plum Trees and Apricot Trees

Plums, apricots, cherries and peaches are all in the Prunus family of fruit trees. Plums and apricots are closely related and may be crossbred. Both average 15 to 20 years of life, with rare exceptions lasting to 30 years. Proper care at planting and subsequent maintenance are critical to getting the most out of their short lifespan.

Citrus Trees

Citrus trees--lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, tangelos and so on--may live and produce fruit for 50 years, often even more. However, several viruses have been attacking these fruit trees, particularly in tropical regions, and reducing their life expectancy to 15 years.

Fruit tree life expectancy
Citrus trees--lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, tangelos and so on--may live and produce fruit for 50 years, often even more. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Ken Bosma)

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