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Extension > Local Extension Offices > Meeker > County Agriculture Educator > Articles > Selecting Fruit and Nut Producing Plants for Your Landscape

Selecting Fruit and Nut Producing Plants for Your Landscape

Source: Gary Wyatt, Extension Educator, Natural Resource Management & Utilization

There are many benefits to planting trees and shrubs in your landscape.  Trees take in carbon dioxide and expel oxygen in a harmonious relationship with breathing animals and humans.  “One acre of forest absorbs 6 tons of carbon dioxide and produces 4 tons of oxygen.  Enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.” (USDA)  Trees improve soil and water quality, and energy conservation by providing summer shade and winter wind protection, wildlife habitat, sources for food, and increased aesthetic and economic value to home properties.  There are trees and shrubs in Minnesota that produce edible fruits and nuts that people can harvest and use from the wild and in their backyard.

Many Minnesotans hike forests and woodlands for wild edible fruits and nuts.  An excellent wild gatherers resource is the Minnesota Harvester Handbook which addresses sustainable natural resource harvest practices and uses.  This resource was developed by the University of Minnesota Extension with many contributors.  It demonstrates the breadth and diversity of natural resources found in and around the state's woodlands.  Copies can be purchased at the Minnesota Bookstore: http://z.umn.edu/mhh

Homeowners who would like to plant trees and/or shrubs that produce edible fruits and nuts from their backyard have many plant options to choose from.  The University of Minnesota Extension has an excellent web site that reviews many possible plants that can produce delicious nutritious foods.  Categories on this web site include: apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, melons and other fruits.  Under the “Other Fruits” section click on “Gathering and Growing Edible Fruits and Nuts”.  This publication lists many fruit and nut plants that can be grown in home landscapes.  http://z.umn.edu/umfruit

Resources to select landscape trees include:
Recommended trees for specific regions of Minnesota:  http://z.umn.edu/rectrees
UM Arboretum publication “The Value of Trees”:  www.arboretum.umn.edu/valueoftrees.aspx
Mn/DOT Plant Selection program:  http://www.dot.state.mn.us/roadsides/plantselector/
North Dakota Tree Book:  www.ag.ndsu.edu/trees/handbook.htm
Crabapples – Select Apple Scab resistant varieties.  http://z.umn.edu/asrcrabapples

If you have disease or insect problems this summer look at the UM Extension diagnostic web site:
http://z.umn.edu/diagnose

Remember, landscape diversity!  Plant several different species of trees, shrubs and plants in your landscape.  No one species should represent more than 15% of your landscape.

Contacts

Gary Wyatt
Extension Educator, Forestry
(507) 389-6748
wyatt@umn.edu
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