Many of us have heard of apple trees that have lived to be over a hundred years old. However, the lifespans of most fruit trees are far shorter.
The following is a list of common orchard plants and the lifespans you can expect from them:
- Apples (standard). 35 to 100 years.
- Apples (semi-dwarf). 20 to 25 years.
- Apples (dwarf). 15 to 20 years.
- Apricot. 20 to 30 years.
- Blackberries. 15 to 20 years.
- Blueberries. 30 to 50 years.
- Cherry (sour). 15 to 20 years.
- Cherry (sweet). 20 to 30 years.
- Fig. 50 to 75 years.
- Gooseberries. 10 to 20 years.
- Grapes. 50 to 100 years.
- Peaches. 15 to 20 years.
- Pear (standard). 35 to 45 years.
- Pear (semi-dwarf). 20 to 25 years.
- Pear (dwarf). 15 to 20 years.
- Plums. 15 to 25 years.
- Raspberries. 8 to 10 years.
- Rhubarb. 10 to 15 years.
- Strawberries. 5 to 6 years.
What to do with this information will depend in part on whether you are growing fruit for sale or for home use. Generally, commercial fruits must be replaced as soon as they show signs of old age, as keeping costs low is of prime importance and the extra care the plants will require at this point is not likely to be offset by a significant increase in production.
In the home orchard, there is a little more room for other options. For instance, in the case of strawberries, sacrificing some production can allow the grower to take the more natural approach of letting the plants reproduce themselves via runners. This prolongs the life of the strawberry bed and saves the trouble of pruning runners, renovating thin patches, and frequently replacing the plants.
However, keep in mind that no plant can live forever. If a general decline is overtaking an established orchard, it may be worthwhile to check the age of your trees or brambles and see if it is time to purchase replacements.