There is nothing quite like walking out into your backyard and picking fruit that adds to the healthy nutrition of your meal. These top five delicious designer trees are not only beautiful additions to your backyard, each of them bears luscious fruit that can be a tasty addition to your daily diet. If you live in a moderately warm climate, these trees can be grown right in your backyard. These five trees are avocado, Australian finger lime, mango, olive, and Tahitian Lime. Not only are they delicious individually, they can often be combined to create unique flavors that can combine with other home-grown fruits and vegetables to create foods that are both nutritious and tasty.
- Avocado Trees (Persea Americana)– An avocado tree is a beautiful addition to your backyard. Sometimes called ‘Alligator Pears’, this tropical or subtropical tree produces dense shade, making it a good choice for screening out midday sun from your favorite lounging area.
Avocado trees are evergreens that have lance shaped leaves that grow densely along each branch. When flowering, they produce lovely, star-shaped blossoms that grow in panicles. At the height of blooming season, they make a beautiful showing. They are also attractive to bees, so if you or a neighbor have beehives, it is an ideal tree to have available, especially since it will bloom in late winter and well through spring.
The fruits are pear shaped, and are green and bumpy in the early stages of growth. This bumpy green hide is, perhaps, the inspiration for one of its names: alligator pear. Although edible in the latter stages of growth, avocados really come into their full flavor when the skin begins to turn black.
- Finger Lime (Citrus Australasica) – these unique fruits are native to Australia. Sometimes referred to as ‘bush fruit’ they were part of early settlers diet. The tiny, finger sized fruits, when cut, reveal pearl-like clusters of tart goodness. This has earned the fruit the nickname ‘citrus caviar.’
As you might guess, finger limes are easy to grow, especially in Australia where they are native. They are an understory tree that creates a dense, thorny growth that requires little pruning. Even so, avoid planting them too close to each other or to other trees, as this will make them grow tall and spindly.
They flower in late summer to early autumn, which makes them a good choice to follow avocado blooms, if you are planning for bees. The fruit ripens in winter through spring, and has a relatively short harvest season of about seven weeks. This short season is one reason finger limes are so highly prized.
- Mango Tree (Mangifera Indica) Here we have another evergreen tree. Be sure to give your standard mango tree plenty of room to grow, as they can become quite large. Their blooming season will vary with location and variety, but as a rule they will begin blooming in late winter and continue blooming throughout spring.
They are not, however, a prime bee plant. They rely on other types of insects and birds for pollination. They are self-pollinating, which means that you will not need more than one mango tree to promote fruiting. From flowering to fruit, the growing season is about 170 days.
Although some varieties have been bred specifically for their ability to travel, mango fruit have a relatively short shelf life. Therefore, being able to walk into your backyard and pick a fresh mango is a truly delicious experience.
- Olive Tree (Olea europaea) – Originating in the Mediterranean area, olive trees are now grown in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. In Australia, they have gone native, in a few areas even becoming an invasive growth. With that said, they are a beautiful tree that is incredibly easy to grow, creating welcome shade, lovely blooms and fruit that has become a staple in many regional diets.
Olive trees bloom in spring. They are not a rich source of nectar, but produce a great deal of pollen which is good food for bees. These trees are generally considered to be wind pollinated, and a single tree will self-pollinate, but recent information suggests that fruit setting might be increased by the presence of bees.
You won’t be able to walk into your back yard, pick an olive and eat it immediately. Olives require processing before they are edible, but that doesn’t lessen the value of having one in your backyard. Olives can be eaten pickled, brine processed or pressed into an extremely healthful vegetable oil.
- Tahitian Lime (citrus x latifolia) – As you might guess from the name, this tree originated on a tropical island, but it is now cultivated around the world. It is often used as a substitute for the more strongly flavored key lime, but has excellent flavor on its own merit.
The Tahitian lime is more tolerant of cold than similar species of lime, and is relatively easy to grow either in the backyard or in containers. It blooms and bears fruit most of the year, especially when it has good growing conditions, which include rich, well-drained soil, and plenty of sunshine.
Lime trees are susceptible to Xylella, and trees grown in Europe are currently being closely monitored. Therefore, all our trees are grown on our own acres where we can be sure that they are free from disease.
With the year-round blossoms, Tahitian limes are favorites for bees, and do require their help for pollination.
These five trees will give any homeowner shade, beautiful blooms, food source for bees and other pollinators, and luscious fruit for your table. Just be sure that you have a really big backyard, as they do need room to stretch their limbs and breathe. With that said, these trees could be a part of your self-sustaining backyard garden.