[NAFEX] fruit that grows well in shade

Mark & Helen Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Tue Nov 6 11:59:33 EST 2007

Helpful information Alan.  Question: You mention earlier ripening fruit would be more likely to get adequate sun in a shady area.  Why is that?

Also do you know how well D. virginiana tolerates shade?  Will it still produce sweet fruit in shade?

My observations on shade:  I planted many brambles in full sun, but a couple of plants in shade.  The shaded ones have done poorly so far.  Also strawberries beside the house never seem to produce a sweetness up to my standards.  Again I suspect it's shade.  Have two identical pear trees, one in more shade than the other.  Although they haven't fruited, there's a remarkable difference in vigor.  Similar observation with tomatoes.  Makes me think, you can either grow food or shade, but not both.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Alan Haigh 
  To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2007 6:36 AM
  Subject: [NAFEX] fruit that grows well in shade

       Here's a contribution to the question of what fruit does well in the shade.  You probably already know the traditional answer of currants and gooseberries but the following are some of my personal observations.  This is something I've looked at a lot because of all the non-commercial sites (home and estate orchards) I manage.  These sites are often solar challenged because my region in southeastern NY is essentially forest. 
       First of all, the earlier the fruit ripens the more likely it is to get adequate sun- think cherries, mulberries, Japanese plums, apricots, and early peaches.  Also think of the sweetest cultivars or at least those highest in soluable solids.  I was surprised to discover that the Elephantheart plum growing on my property in about 70% shade was capable of fairly reliably producing large harvests of amazingly sweet fruit- the shade probably actually delays flowering a bit.  E.H is one of the latest Japanese plums we grow here.  Earlier ones like Methely and Shiro are at least equally shade tolerant.  Ozark Premier seems not to be.
       Of course many European plums have extremely high levels of soluble solids but in limited experience I have found them not to be shade productive.  It's strange that on wet years with lots of cloud cover the Europeans sweeten up very well so I'm a little confused at how poorly they seem to do in less than about 70% exposure.  Of course their high susceptibilty to brown-rot increases the liability of shade. 
       On apples I have even less conclusive evaluations.  I have seen Baldwin produce a few tastey apples in complete shade and because it continues to ripen after most of our forest trees have defoliated it may pick up some late sugar.  Northern Spy seems to need a lot of sun. Baldwin is a high-brix apple and Spy not so much.  I would suggest that appples that produce adequate sugar throughout the tree, where seconds (the smaller less colored fruit) are of good quality are likely to do well in relatively shady sites.  Fuji is an example of such an apple and it is extremely high in soluble solids. 
        Asian pears seem to do poorly in the shade because they need to obtain very high levels of sugar to have any flavor at all.  Bartlett and Seckel do pretty well while Highland and Aurora do not.
        Most of the smaller non-tree fruits we grow here are fairly shade tolerant- you know, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwis and so on.  If you like paw-paws or autumn olive (I like the first, not the second) they certainly tolerate some shade. 
         That's about the extent of the contribution I can make.  While it's good to know that you don't need absolute sun to produce some quality fruit that doesn't stop me from being a fanatic for full sun.  Those couple of extra hours of sun at the beginning and end of each day can make the differnce between good and exceptional  fruit for many varieties.  I'd certainly appreciate some input on this subject from othere list members. 


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