In the last two years, TreeTime.ca has seen significant growth, especially in edible trees and shrubs. We cover everything from berries and fruit trees to nuts. You can incorporate these edible plants into your landscape in different ways, from a simple backyard berry patch to a larger U-Pick or commercial orchard. Many people are even planting them into the first and second row of a shelterbelt. The opportunities are endless. Once you’ve had fresh saskatoon berries, raspberries, and sour cherries, going back to store-bought just doesn’t cut it.
If you have questions about the different offerings available at TreeTime.ca, continue reading and check out the Gardening at USask video where Drew discusses a wide range of edible options. You will be surprised to discover the variety of edible trees and shrubs that can grow on the Canadian prairies.
Nuts on the Prairies:
Nuts are not the first thing that comes to mind when talking about edible trees and shrubs on the prairies. But more people are starting to incorporate nut trees into their landscapes and food gardens.
- If you are looking to plant nut trees, there are a few different cold hardy options to consider. Such as, Butternut (White Walnut), Manchurian Walnut, and Black Walnut which thrive in zones 2b to 3a.
- But if you live in warmer areas, other nut options to consider are Burton Hican, Hardy Pecan, and Shagbark Hickory.
- From time to time we will also carry unique, cultivated hazelnut varieties. Cultivated varieties are known for having larger, tastier nuts.
Cold Hardy Peaches
We are in our second season of selling cold hardy peaches. More people are trying their hand at growing peaches, despite some initial skepticism. Residents in Edmonton are successfully growing peaches, showcasing their adaptability. There are some reports of success in zone 3b, but we believe zone 4a is more realistic.
- If you are interested in trying peaches, check out the cold hardy peach varieties we carry:
Cherries & Chokecherries:
While they differ from sweet cherries, sour cherries still have a great taste and vary in terms of tartness. They are a great option for incorporating cherries on the prairies, with hardiness zones ranging from 2a to 3b.
- We offer a diverse selection of sour cherries, including varieties from the University of Saskatchewan:
- As well as other varieties such as D’Artagnan, Carmine Jewel, Cutie Pie, and Sweet Thing
- Some of our cherry varieties are grown from seed, adding to the assortment. These include:
- Nanking Cherry, which may require additional protection. They are ideal for making jams, jellies, wines, and unique additives like sour cherry whiskey or barbecue sauces.
- We also sell the Sour Cherry and Evans Cherry in this category.
Chokecherries are often overlooked, but produce some of the most talked-about jams, jellies, and wines. They are an underappreciated and underused addition to shelterbelts.
- With both native and cultivated varieties, there are different options to suit your project’s needs.
Plums & Apricots
We have talked about peaches and cherries so we cannot forget to mention plums and apricots.
- Canada Plum & American Plum
- They are considered to be very similar but one noticeable difference is the American Plum tends to bloom a week later than the Canadian Plum.
- If you are looking for a native plum, Canadian Plum’s native range includes Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick.
- They are both great for cross pollinating other varieties with the exception of European Plums (e.g. Mount Royal Plum).
- Patterson Pride Plum
- Is one of the best tasting and more attractive plum varieties we carry. It pairs well with the Pembina Plum, with the Pembina Plum ripening a little earlier than the Patterson.
- Mustang Cherry Plum
- Is a hybrid of a cherry and a plum. Its smaller size makes it Ideal for smaller spaces. It is also suitable as a rootstock for different cherries, plums, and apricots.
- Manchurian Apricot is successfully grown on the prairies with a hardiness zone of 3a, but they may require more winter protection.
- Yields can vary from year to year, and are dependent on the weather.
- Can be considered a multiple purpose tree, as it can also be used as a feature tree. Its striking spring flowers and brilliant fall colours will brighten your landscape.
Apples & Pears
Apples are an orchard classic with a variety of cold hardy options.
- Prairie Sensation originates from the University of Saskatchewan’s fruit program. It is consistently considered one of the best for fresh eating. It is sweet, crisp, and juicy.
- Norkent is tried and true, and widely grown across the prairies. It is great for fresh eating, cooking, juicing, and for making cider. The taste is similar to a Golden Delicious apple.
- Treasured Red Columnar Apple has a narrow compact form. Making it the perfect fit for those tight spaces and smaller yards.
Pears are not as common as apples, but more people are starting to plant them. If you are looking for something new to try, consider a couple different pear varieties.
- Ussurian Pear is well suited as a pollinator for other varieties or as a rootstock. But there are better fruiting and tastier varieties available. Such as the Krazulya Pear, Loving Pear, or Golden Spice Pear. Pears do require another variety for cross pollination, so remember to plant more than one.
Berry Patch Staples
If you don’t have room to plant fruit trees, there are still many fruiting shrubs to choose from. These berry patch staples have many different varieties to choose from, making them suitable for projects of all sizes.
- Raspberries are a popular option as they are easy to grow, have a fast growth rate, and will often produce berries in their first year.
- Each year we carry a few different raspberry options. This can include some tried and true varieties such as the Boyne Raspberry and Souris Raspberry
- We also carry some University of Saskatchewan varieties such as the Red Bounty Raspberry and the Red Mammoth Raspberry
- If you are looking for something more unique, you can consider white raspberries such as the Honey Queen Raspberry or black raspberries like the Jewel Raspberry
- Some other popular raspberry options include:
- Another similar option to raspberries are blackberries:
- Blueberries are considered harder to grow as they need specific soil requirements. They require acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 5.0. If you are a beginner, they might not be the right fit.
- Saskatoons (Serviceberries) are not a mainstream berry, but are considered a Canadian prairie berry staple. They are a favorite across the Canadian prairies for fresh eating, preserves, and baking.
- Northline Saskatoon
- Is the top selling, go-to variety. Known for having large, firm berries with a full, sweet flavour.
- It is very high yielding, with consistent yields from year to year. This makes it a great option for commercial production and U-Picks. It even works well with over row mechanical harvesters.
- Thiessen Saskatoon
- Ripens early and has one of the largest berries, and best for juicing. It produces reliably with high yields and is well suited for U-Picks.
- Martin Saskatoon
- Also features large, juicy berries with an excellent flavour. It is an offspring of the Thiessen Saskatoon and is becoming more popular.
- Other options to consider are the Smoky Saskatoon and the Honeywood Saskatoon
Unique Berry Options
Adding edible varieties to your landscape does not have to include typical fruits that you would find at a local store or market. There are many unique options out there to set your food forest apart.
- Mulberries are a rare find and have the appearance of an elongated blackberry. One example is the Trader Mulberry
- The sweet, black fruit is almost seedless. Perfect for fresh eating, preserves, and making wine.
- It was created by the Trader family and brought to the United States from Germany.
- Another notable mulberry is the Russian White Mulberry, which has white and pink berries instead of black
- If you are interested in adding more native species to your landscape, consider Bog Cranberry (Lingonberry). It is native throughout all of Canada
- Bog cranberry (Lingonberry) can also serve as a multipurpose plant. It can provide ground cover, in and around other plants while also producing fruit. It is not as tart as commercial cranberries, and still has a great flavor.
- Sea Buckthorn is another unique option and is suited for a wide range of projects.
- What makes the berries so unique is their acidic, mango-banana flavor. Fruit is well suited for juice, preserves, baking or even used in creams or lotions
- It is important to note that Sea Buckthorn has separate male and female plants, and both are required for pollination and fruit production.
- They have thorns, which can be advantageous when using it as part of a shelterbelt or windbreak.
- New cultivars are starting to emerge with a focus on taste and fewer thorns.
- Goji Berries are not for everyone and not recommended for beginners. They can be finicky and harder to grow when young. We suggest doing some research before planting.
Project Planning Assistance
Whether you are setting up an orchard, U-Pick, commercial fruit farm, or a small food forest TreeTime.ca is here to help. Taking on a new project can require careful planning. This includes logistics, irrigation, weeding, and understanding the time it takes for trees to bear fruit. If you have questions and want to discuss project considerations contact our order desk staff at 1-844-873-3700 or send an email to [email protected]