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Berry Plants: How Many Years Until Fruit?

by Stark Bro's on 03/07/2013
Pink Lemonade Bluberries

Whether you’re interested in the wide range of health benefits that come from adding something edible to your landscape or garden, or you’re a foodie who loves endless culinary possibilities, growing your own berries is an all-around rewarding endeavor.

After you plant them, berry plants tend to produce their first crops much more quickly than most fruit trees. You could be enjoying fresh berries sooner than you’d think, so it’s important to be prepared by planning ahead. If you’re eager to liven up your summer salads or start sipping on healthy, homemade fruit smoothies, then let’s get started!

Take a look at how many years it takes for berry plants to bear fruit, so that you can plan for your first harvest.

Stark Bro’s Berry Plants: Years Until Fruit*

Berry Plant Type Years Until Fruit
Aronia Berry Plants 2-3 years
Blackberry Plants 1-2 years
Blueberry Plants 2-3 years
Boysenberry Plants 2-3 years
Cranberry Plants 2-3 years
Currant Plants 2-3 years
Elderberry Plants 2-3 years
Goji Berry Plants 2-3 years
Gooseberry Plants 3-4 years
Grape Vines (& Muscadines) 2-4 years
Honeyberry Plants 1-2 years
Kiwi Berry Vines (“Hardy Kiwi”) 2-5 years
Jostaberry Plants 2-3 years
Lingonberry Plants 2-3 years
Loganberry Plants 2-3 years
Marionberry Plants 1-2 years
Raspberry Plants 1-2 years
Seaberry Plants 2-3 years
Strawberry Plants 1-2 years

Blueberry Block

And don’t forget — there’s more to these plants and vines than just fruit. Even while you’re waiting for them to reach fruiting maturity, they still make beautiful outdoor accents that will add interest to your landscape with gorgeous foliage that is lush during the growing season and turns various colors in the fall.Maintenance is also important to getting the most out of your berry plants. Some selections like strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries might try to bloom and set fruit the first year you plant them. You will be doing your plants a favor in the long run if you pinch these flowers off to avoid fruit set in their first year with you. Doing so will allow your new plants to devote their energy to becoming established and growing well so that they can support bigger, better crops of berries for years to come!

*Just like in our article, How many years until your tree bears fruit, these time frames may vary and these are estimates, but all “years to bear” begin counting after your new Stark Bro’s berry plants are transplanted into your growing space!

Topics → Planting & Growing, Tips

50 Comments

  1. Vee permalink

    How long do oak leaves have to compost before using them for acidic mulch?

  2. Kathy permalink

    I’m thinking of planting the low growing blueberry bushes and some honeyberry bushes around a circular driveway. It’s in full sun except real early mornings and is appx. 20′ from several oaks trees. We previously had two pine trees in this area which were cut down about five years ago. The soil is mostly clay. Do you think I could amend the soil enough for blueberries to grow.

    • The fact that pines and oaks grow well for you there is a good sign that blueberries should do well, Kathy! Before trying to amend anything, you should check with your local Extension experts to find out the composition of your soil (with a soil test — for a small fee), how well your soil will currently suit blueberries*, and get advice on how, and with what, to amend your soil if it is necessary.

      You can find your local Extension’s contact information here: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/

      *Note: honeyberries don’t require the low/acidic soil pH that blueberries do
      • Recommended Blueberry Plant pH: 4.5-5.5
      • Recommended Honeyberry Plant pH: 5.5-7.5

      • Oksana permalink

        I heard it many times but in our new house surrounded with hemlocks, pines and oak, the soil is actually alkaline.

  3. Nancy Schultz permalink

    Thank you for the info on the berry timeline. Would it be possible to get the normal fruit bearing timeline on dwarf fruit trees compared to semi-dwarf and standard?

    • You’re welcome, Nancy! Since the fruit-bearing time for trees depends more on their maturity (which can vary by environment, care, etc.) rather than the size, it’s a bit more difficult to break it down that way.

      For estimation’s sake, it would be possible to predict that, if you know the range for apple trees is 2-5 years, dwarf-sized apple trees should mature sooner and production would occur closer to 2 years, while standard-sized apple trees may take longer to mature, and would bear closer to 5 years after planting. Semi-dwarf apple trees would fit somewhere in the middle. Does that make sense? :)

  4. Diane permalink

    What about Columnar Apple Trees ? I can’t find alot of info. about them yet. Someone told my husband they live only 1/2 as long as a regular apple tree – is that true? What about their production time? etc.

    • This article talks about the production time for berry plants and vines, but columnar apple trees take the same amount of time to bear as other apple trees (mentioned in this article) — about 2-5 years.

      If the “regular apple tree” that your husband heard about was a standard-sized tree, which tends to take the longest to bear but has a longer overall life, then there may be some truth to what he heard — but even a dwarf or columnar apple tree, with the proper planting site and care, lives/bears for over 20 years.

  5. mike saxton permalink

    when grafting apple trees , can you graft reg. size trees to crabapple trees , also can you graft semi-dworth trees to reg. size trees , thanks , mike

    • Interesting questions for a berry post, Mike! ;) When fruit trees are grafted, an ideal limb of a variety* is selected, called “scion wood”, and it is grafted to a rootstock, which determines the mature size of the tree.

      *Examples of apple varieties are: Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, etc.

      If you’re asking about taking a scion from a standard-sized apple tree and grafting it onto a crabapple tree or an existing semi-dwarf sized apple tree, that would work. The rootstock is what determines the size of the tree first, followed by the natural vigor of the variety you’re grafting onto it.

      You might want to check to see if the master gardeners, or county extension, or even local garden centers, host any grafting classes where you are. You might really enjoy the hands-on experience! :)

  6. Susan Rogers permalink

    I have two blueberry plants in pots. I live in AZ (at 5000 ft. in an area of vineyards and fruit production) where the soil pH is mostly alkaline. The potting soil in which these plants live is more neutral and less harmful than our native soil would be. My question regards pruning. These blueberries have many small branches. I can’t seem to find any good instructions about how to prune blueberries, so I am guessing that the best advice would be to thin the branches. Can you help with additional advice?

    • Good question, Susan! Blueberries tend to send up many shoots in their bush-growing nature. The best method to pruning blueberries is to remove and damaged, dead, or diseased wood first. You will also want to prune to keep the bushes open to light, so if you have any older shoots in those pots (ones that are unproductive), take those out as close to the base as possible.

      As for the stems with many small branches: select the ones with the smallest twiggy branches and prune those back. Since blueberries develop fruit at the tips, this allows the longer growth and fruiting wood to have the energy to grow and develop into fruit for you in the future. I hope this helps! :)

  7. Patrick permalink

    Sarah, I live in zone 6, and have purchased blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. I’m sure they were raised in a grennhouse and I’m going to plant them outside but there is a frost danger here for more than a month. So my questioin is should I plant and cover to protect them from frosty nights and uncover when above freezing during the day or just plant and leave them uncovered?

    Thanks

    • Your blackberries were definitely greenhouse-grown, Patrick. You can tell that products were from our greenhouse if they arrive in pots — our bare-root plants, like the strawberries and most raspberries, will arrive dormant. If you have bare-root berries (no pots, no soil), then they can be planted when they arrive, as long as your soil is workable, since there will be no tender new growth for the frost to zap.

      For your berry plants that are in their shipping pots with some soil, once the threat of frost has passed, you should acclimatize them before moving them outdoors. This involves keeping them in their pots and slowly introducing them to the cooler outdoor temperatures, but bringing them back indoors each day.

      To start off, place them outside, during the day (not over night), for a couple of hours and then bring them back inside. Increase their time outdoors each day for about a week or so, and then you should be able to plant them in an environment they’ve grown accustomed to. In the meantime, you can leave them in pots and just treat them as potted house plants: giving them light and watering them only when the soil is no longer damp to the touch.

      We have more tips on what to do if you need to delay planting in our blog article here: http://209.184.23.10/blog/how-to-delay-planting/

  8. Lori permalink

    Hi,

    I recently ordered 5 blueberry plants from your nursery (pinklemonade, patriot, elliot, northcountry, and northblue) in the 1 gallon pots (2 year olds). I would like to grow these in smart pot containers on our cedar wood deck. What gallon size smart pot should I purchase for transplantation once they arrive? Would a 15 gallon be too large?

    Thanks in advance for your reply,
    Lori

    • Hi Lori! Northcountry and Northblue are naturally smaller varieties that won’t grow quite as large as the rest. These can be kept in smaller Smart Pots, or in the same size as the rest if you want a more uniform look — it’s up to you!

      In my research, I have found that growers opt for either the 15-gallon or the 20-gallon Smart Pots in which to grow their blueberry plants. The 15-gallon Smart Pots aren’t too big for the plants as they mature, but they may seem roomy at first. As long as you ensure the soil used has the proper pH for blueberries (4.5-5.5), they will grow to fill the containers you use just fine.

      • Lori permalink

        Thank you Sarah!

        I will purchase the 15 gallon smart pots then, and see how they do for the next year or two.

        I do have a pH meter, and have ordered the netting, fertilizer, pine bark, peat moss and acid based potting soil, so I’m hoping my “old” green thumb won’t kill them. LOL

        This will be my first experience in growing blueberries.

        Lori

  9. Barry Potter permalink

    Do yall sell strawberry plants were the strawberrys are large and grow in texas my zipcode is77320 and can you recomend the types of strawberry plants

    • We do! If you ever wonder if something is recommended for your zone, you can enter your zip code on our website where it asks for one and a check mark will appear on the varieties that should grow well there.

      For example, if you go to the Strawberry Plants page, enter 77320, it says you’re in a zone 8B. Now, that’s borderline zone 9, and all of our strawberries are only recommended for zones up to 8. Technically, you can still give these a try, but your summer heat might be a little too intense for these strawberries. If you can construct a shade cloth covering for the plants, this might give them more of a chance to survive and produce for you there.

      These are the big, productive, strawberry plants I’d recommend if you are willing to give these a try:

      Allstar Strawberry
      Surecrop Strawberry

      There are more heat-tolerant varieties of strawberries out there. I remember there being U-pick strawberry fields when I lived in South Florida, but I can’t name any varieties off-hand. In this case, you might have luck asking local growers to see if anyone can recommend varieties that have worked well for them!

  10. george quire permalink

    dear sara, and everyone else a starkbros, I have been growing stark trees all my life as my parents and grandparents also did, they are the best trees in the world, anyone can ask and will get that answer, now that I have grown older and grow my own little nurserie on my own little DREAM FARM, guess what? it has a lot of stark trees and are just flat gettin’ with it as we say out here in ky… my grown son is growing stark at his farm just down the lane from me, he got a couple trees from lowes and they aren’t worth a crap ,I told him if you order a stark you’ll get fruit,,, well he did and they are great! he said wow they are better…TOLD YOU SO…George in ky.

    • Congratulations to the generations of your family who have had success growing your own fruit trees, George! We’re delighted to have been, and to continue to be, a part of that. It’s great that your son will carry on the tradition as well. :)

  11. Ann permalink

    How old are the shipped grape vines? 1,2,3 years?
    Thank you

    • The grape vines we ship are typically 1-year plants, and the “years to bear” starts counting from the time you plant them. :)

  12. Marci permalink

    We have switched over to your Nursery from another. We used the other one for years and loved them. We had lots of problem with their stock the last 3 years. I have a couple of questions I would love to get some help with. I have 2 plum trees (one Big Plum and the other a Stanley) that should have given us fruit 3 years ago at least. Two years ago, we got on bloom, but no plums. This year there were tons of blooms on both, but no plums. The trees appear healthy, but no fruit? What do we need to do? The other question is in regards to our peach tree. It had quite a few peaches on one of them this year. I was surprised we got peaches this year. All of a sudden, the leaves are turning yellow, the fruit dropped off and now the leaves are dropping. It looks like the tree is dying? Any clues as to why?

    • I’m not sure about the variety plum “Big Plum” but Stanley is a self-pollinating European variety. European plum trees, whose oblong fruit is often used for making prunes and other culinary delights, won’t pollinate Japanese plum trees, though. If Big Plum is a Japanese variety (smaller, more round fruit, ideal for fresh eating and salads), and isn’t self-pollinating, it may require a pollinator.

      Another reason you may see blooms on a tree but not see fruit, aside from lack of adequate pollination, is that the tree may not be mature enough to bear fruit. The “years to bear” dates for berry plants here, as well as for fruit/nut trees, give a good estimate on when to expect fruit, but it really comes down to the maturity of your plants and trees. This can be affected both positively and negatively by the environment in any given year, care, and the weather. If your trees’ blossoms weren’t zapped by a late freeze and your trees weren’t sprayed with pesticide while they had flowers on (which would eliminate bees and other insects that help with pollination), then your trees may simply be coming into maturity and no action is needed.

      As for your peach tree… if it’s just a leaf issue and the trunk isn’t showing signs of borers (holes, gooey sap-like substance oozing out, etc.) and there aren’t any issues with moles around the root system, then the yellowing/dropping leaves occurrence is incredibly common. This may be caused by stress or fungus, especially in areas that have received a lot of rain or moisture. Some varieties of peach are susceptible to a fungus that causes “leaf spot”, which causes discoloration and defoliation of the tree, and this can be treated with a timely application of a fungicide or preventative dormant sprays like lime sulfur.

      The fruit dropping is most likely attributed to your tree overbearing. Peach trees are notorious for this, and they will require hand-thinning when the fruit is still small as it forms in the spring and early summer. Be sure to remove any clusters of fruit and leave about 4-6 inches (at least) between the remaining fruit to help avoid fruit drop, to help the remaining fruit grow to a fuller size, and to avoid the tree’s limbs breaking under the weight of what fruit it does hold onto. We have an article available for you to learn more about overbearing and fruit drop.

      • Marci permalink

        Thank you so much. I will look closer for the things you said. I really appreciate the help!

  13. Kjell Lie permalink

    Thanks for all the good advise as always! All my plants are doing well.

    • Thanks very much! “How many years until I see fruit?” is one of the most frequently asked questions we get. I’m glad this has been useful to you. :)

  14. Pam Murphy permalink

    Stark Bros.
    Goji berry plants. I raised mine from seed and it is still their first year. Growth has been vigorous. I have been pinching them down to create multiple branches. What is the best way to grow goji plants and from seed, when should I think about seeing flowers? Thanks much.
    Pam

    • Unless the seeds came from a packet that has all of the growing and expectations information on it, there is very little certainty when it comes to things grown from seed. The goji berry plants we offer are produced by rooted cuttings, so they are sure to display bloom and fruit characteristics from the mother plant.

      My goji berry plants, which were not grown from seed but from cuttings, began flowering the past two weeks or so, but I don’t know if you can expect the same from your seed-grown plants, you know? I am intrigued by your success so far, so I hope you keep track of the growth and bloom time, as well as fruit time and quality, of your plants and keep us posted! :)

  15. Steve La duke permalink

    Sara:
    So far I have 4 peach trees from Stark’s and I’m happy with them. I have noticed on two of the older trees, about 9 years old, they are dying off sections of the tree. There is also a gooey, golden sap oozing from sections of a tree that is only 3 years old. What is that and how do I prevent this? It seems to be everywhere on my 2 older trees.
    The first two trees I bought from Stark’s were a Contender and the other was a Reliance. I get the best tasting peaches from both trees and they come both at different times. Two years ago I put in an “Intreped” and last year I put in a new one I can’t think of right now but it did survive the winter here in Wisconsin near Green Bay. I will be planting a new peach tree every 3 years just to make sure I have them until I’m gone. I just can’t say enough for the pleasure I have of eating fresh peaches and using them for jam and preserves. And I never though peaches would survive this far North.

    Right now I spray the peaches with the same spray I use on my apples. A combination of Imidan and Captan. I don’t know if this is right but it seems to work for insects and the captan, I don’t know. It’s the oozing of the golden sap for parts of the tress that bothers me.
    Steve

    • Let me start off by saying what a great idea it is to constantly be adding different varieties of peach tree to prolong your harvest and enjoyment! I am a little envious, since I have already managed to fill my tiny yard with potted fruit trees, two of them being peaches (a third is planted in the ground but it’s not doing so well).

      My peach tree that isn’t doing well sounds a lot like yours. Its trunk is oozing the amber sap-like substance and I just know it has a borer issue. Borers are grubs that love stone fruits like peaches.

      Amber ooze can be a sign of simple trunk damage that may not be problematic, but more often than not, this is a sign of a borer issue. The problem with borers is that, once they’re in the trunk, they slowly drain the life from your tree.

      Many people find success in manually removing borers. If you notice any holes behind the ooze or around it on the trunk, you can knock away the amber substance and try sticking something in the holes to dig the grubby borer out. We offer a borer-miner killer spray, but it really should be used as a preventative spray (perhaps protecting your remaining, younger, peach trees) as it is difficult to effectively control the borer once it is already inside the trunk.

      You might also want to consider contacting your local experts, either pest-control or the horticultural experts with your local county Extension, to see if they have any other advice on what to do about your peach trees’ issue.

  16. Brenda Robertson permalink

    I have two of your blueberry bushes in pots for the last two years and they have produced a few blueberries. My question to you is do they need a cold period? I carry them into the green house in the Fall and don’t let them stay out in the winter. The leaves still mostly fall off though and I was wondering if I should let them stay out in the winter to cold set them?
    Thank you.

    • Great question, Brenda! Many blueberry plants are accustomed to going dormant and surviving winter temperatures — but, in general, this can depend on the varieties being grown and the growing location. For example, I wouldn’t recommend leaving a truly heat-tolerant southern highbush variety out to overwinter if you live in the far north.

      It’s good to note that your blueberry plants are still losing their leaves seasonally, because they are responding to the seasonal changes in their environment, which is triggering their “hibernation mode”. I’m not sure how heated you keep your greenhouse in the wintertime, but temperatures between 32 and 45 (ºF) will satisfy any chilling requirements for a blueberry plant while it’s dormant until warmer temperatures come again in spring.

      Your blueberry plants should be able to survive cooler temperatures in the winter, even if they are in containers, but keep in mind it is easier for winter injury to occur in a dry container than a moist container. If a hard freeze is in the forecast, and any time the soil becomes very dry, be sure to protect your blueberry plants’ roots by watering just enough to keep things moist (not soaked). Also consider applying mulch over the surface of the container’s soil if you haven’t already. This will retain moisture and also help insulate the roots.

      • Brenda Robertson permalink

        Thank you for your answer. I keep my greenhouse at the temps you recommended so I will continue to bring them in in the winter months as we do get some hard freezes sometimes.

  17. Homer Barnhardt Sr. permalink

    I have purchased many items from you and generally have had good results.
    The most disappointing results have been my peach trees. The trees have hugh crops, and I do my best to thine them. I use the all seasons spray every year, however the fruit rots 100% after it is about half size. What would you recommend. Fertilizer? Spray and time of year to spray?

    Also two of the five apple ttrees purchased from you some 8-10 yeas ago have died. (Not complaining) I have been very happy with your service and products.
    Homer Barnhardt
    Saluda, Va.

    • Thank you for sharing your positive and negative growing experience here, Homer! I hear you on the peaches and their rot issue, however All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil is really a pest control, so it won’t help much if your issue is with a disease.

      Brown rot is a common fungal disease that affects stone fruits like peach trees — especially in springs and summers when it has been raining. A dormant control like Lime Sulfur Spray will help to prevent diseases like Brown Rot while the trees are sleeping through the winter. A Multi-Purpose Fungicide can be used during the growing season (rather than just using a dormant spray while the trees are dormant) if Brown rot and other fungal diseases are really problematic in your area.

      It also greatly helps to keep the growing site clean of any potentially-diseased debris. Remove all infected fruit and destroy it, along with any pruning cuttings, to avoid re-contamination.

  18. V Rodgers permalink

    Can I plant seedless grapes vines beside concord grapes, or seedless beside white grape plants? Will they cross-breed??

    • While cross-pollination between different varieties will occur if they’re planted near one another, you don’t have to worry about this altering the fruit that is produced. The DNA from the different varieties won’t be present in the fruit itself, since fruit is merely a casing for seeds and any seeds would contain the naturally-crossed genetic material. The fruit will be true to the variety you planted, so you won’t have to worry about things like your white grapes becoming Concords or any of that. :)

  19. Homer Barnhardt Sr. permalink

    Thanks Sarah. I might add one other note about my apple trees. This year the leaves , at least 50% of them had yellow leaves with black spots. I have many red cedar trees close by. Is it possible I am getting contamination from the cedars?

    I am very happy with your services and will continue my hobby growing with your company.
    Now if you can just do something with all the wild turkeys, squirrels, and deer, plus of course the groundhogs, I could enjoy some of the fruits of your products. LOL

    • It certainly sounds like a fungus affecting your apple trees. I have 4 apple trees, 2 of which are noticeably more susceptible to cedar apple rust than the others. Typically, with cedar-apple rust, the spots are what’s yellow and there can be dark or black growth within that spot.

      If the leaves are all yellow, it may be that the trees have gotten too much water. This can happen in a really rainy season or in poorly-drained soils. Seasons with a lot of rain also create an ideal environment for fungal diseases that affect your apple trees — it could be both issues present simultaneously. Be sure to keep a clean growing site (rake up fallen leaves, and dispose of them along with any pruning clippings, etc.) and consider a routine application of a multi-purpose fungicide.

  20. Diana permalink

    I bought blackberries last year and they were very vigorus. My question is: What year canes bear the fruit? I dont want to prune out the fruit bearing canes. My blackberries are the thornless trailing kind and I have wires around the patch to keep them out of the dirt. I have never grown blackberries and want to give them the best chance of fruiting.

    • All blackberries should flower and fruit on the second-year floricanes, but “primocane blackberry” varieties have a tendency to flower and fruit on the first-year canes as well. First-year canes are called “primocanes” (these are typically vegetative canes that become fruiting canes in their second year) while second-year canes are called “floricanes”.

      When pruning, it helps to keep all long, vigorous growth within a 4-5 foot range — anything longer than this can just be pruned back to 4-5 feet to keep things manageable. You can do this at any time of the year. This will help keep the plant open to sunlight and air circulation, which improves the fruit quality and reduces the chances of fungal diseases.

      When you prune in the late fall/winter/early spring, only *completely* remove:
      1. canes that have flowered and set fruit (these will not fruit again)
      2. damaged, diseased, dead canes (these are dead weight and can be sites for disease)
      3. small weak canes, allowing the stronger, healthy canes to remain for future seasons

      I hope this helps! :)

  21. Rachael permalink

    What kind of tree/bush is pictured next to the text on this page?
    It looks like a bush, but I have a tree in my yard and it has the same berries on it, but it being fall, they’re more of a brown color on the outside. I’m curious as to what it is!
    Thanks for the help!

    • The photo pictured above is of a Pink Lemonade Blueberry plant – the blueberries are actually pink! It’s a bush/shrub that gets to be about 4-5 feet tall/wide. I’m not sure what would be growing in your yard, though. :)

  22. irene permalink

    Hi, I live in Houston,Tx and my zip code is 77061, i ordered a goji berry plant and a blackberry plant. I have a mound of bank sand. if i amend the sand with coconut fiber and garden soil, do you think you think the goji and blackberry will grow there

    • Good question, Irene. We usually deal with amending heavy clay soils, but sand is the other end of the spectrum. You may not have to worry about the planting site retaining water like you would with clay, but you may find that you have to water more frequently to avoid drought-like conditions instead. It depends on how fine the bank sand is and how well it drains.

      If you’re planning on using raised beds for your berry plants and amending the soil over the bank sand, it will probably be best. If you amend with coco-fiber medium, it will help to hold and evenly distribute water along with garden top soil you may amend with.

  23. Tina permalink

    Hi Sarah, we planted our first Gooseberry bush this spring. It looks very healthy and it grows a lot. Now my question is, do we have to cover it during the winter? We live in the Yukon and our temperature drop sometomes down to minus 40. Thank you very much. Tina

    • Hi Tina — Gooseberry plants tend to be incredibly cold hardy, but it never hurts to try to protect them from the winter elements.

      I would at least recommend mulching around the plant’s root system starting in the fall to keep it insulated from those low temperature drops. Any additional protection, like putting a tomato cage or fence around the plant and then stuffing it with straw, will help to insulate the plant as well.

      I’m glad to hear your gooseberry plant is growing well for you — the health of the plant will have a lot to do with its ability to thrive even after a harsh winter. :)

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