How Long Do Fruit Trees Live?

Cox's Orange Pippin apple

The life expectancy of fruit trees varies with the type of fruit tree, and the rootstock that they’re grafted onto (if they’re not growing on their own roots).

Trees on dwarf rootstock tend to have a shorter life span than their larger counterparts because the way that the dwarfing effect is achieved is due to the root system being smaller and less vigorous.

Fruit Tree Life Expectancy List

The list below includes many common fruit tree varieties, and their average lifespan in years. Note that the lifespan may be longer in ideal conditions.

  • Almond* – 40-­‐50
  • Apple (full size) – 35+ years
  • Apple (semi-dwarf) – 20-25 years
  • Apple (dwarf) – 15-20 years
  • Apricot – 20-30 years
  • Cherry (sour) – 15-20 years
  • Cherry (sweet) – 20-30 years
  • Citrus – 30 to 35 years
  • Fig – 50–75 years
  • Guava – 30‐40+
  • Jujube – 100+
  • Loquat – 100+
  • Mango – 200+
  • Mulberry (black) – 100+ years
  • Mulberry (red) – 75 years
  • Mulberry (white) – 100+ years
  • Olive – 500+ years
  • Pear (full size) – 35-45 years
  • Pear (semi-dwarf) – 20-25 years
  • Pear – (dwarf) 15-20 years
  • Peach – 15-20 years
  • Persimmon – 50-­‐75
  • Plum – 15-20 years
  • Pomegranate – 200 years
  • Quince 30-40 years
  • Sapote (white, yellow) – 100+

Almonds are included in this list because they’re related to peaches and nectarines, and are actually just fleshless peaches, not true nuts.

Apples range in their longevity, but some can be exceedingly long-lived. Some espaliered apple trees have remained productive after 150 years, because they are less susceptible to breaking branches. For this reason, espaliered trees can have an incredibly long life span!

The fruit of olives are botanically classed as a drupe, like the fruit of a peach or plum, and therefore appear in the list. They’re also one of the longest-lived trees, that can live well over 1,000 years. The ancient olive tree of Vouves, located in the village of Ano Vouves on the island of Crete, is believed to be the oldest olive tree in the world. It is estimated to be over 2,000 years old, and up to 4,000 years old. and even more incredibly, still produces olives.

Apricots can live quite a long time, but plum-apricot hybrids (plumcots and apriums) tend to have a short life span in very cold regions.

References

2 thoughts on “How Long Do Fruit Trees Live?

  1. Hi,
    l live in South Eastern Massachusetts. My Dwarf Stark Brothers fruit trees are all over 35 years old and produce fine. My Moonglow Pear and Macintosh Apple are close to forty and had their Best crop ever this cool cloudy rainy summer! There’s a couple 400 year old pear trees still alive in Mass. planted by the Endicott. Sadly l lost an Antique Spitzenburg and an Early Blaze, Winesap and a Blushing Golden to new Construction. When you search for the Life span of a Pear Tree, you get the life span of a Bradford pear Ornamental 15-20yrs not an actual Producing tree. Internet can have misleading information without the ability for corrections.

    1. Hi Tom, thanks for your comment. Just a few months ago I was pruning some apple trees that were planted around the time of the Second World War, parts of their trunks were hollowed and some lower branches were draped against the ground. I pruned them the year before also for the owner and they were really productive, lot of fruit!

      These are exceptions, and not general average lifespans that the article details, but it’s a testimony to the amazing resilience of many trees.

      Just a note about ornamental pear trees, I was under the impression that 15-20 years was how long it took for them to reach their full size, but their lifespan was way longer than that.

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