We moved this summer to a new property in northern Maine. It is a long narrow half acre lot oriented with one corner of the backyard towards the south. In addition to a cold climate (zone 3) we have quite a bit of shade on our property due to a line of mature spruce trees along the SW edge of the property and a mature red pine and paper birch in the east corner. We have a little bit of full sun near the house and a lot of area that gets about 5 hours of sunlight. We also have areas that range down to full, deep shade.
There is a lot competing for the limited area with full sun including annual gardens and flowers (to brighten our patio area) so I'm trying to optimize my use of the available sunlight. I'm aware of a number of bushes that will thrive and fruit in partial shade. However, I'm working on where to put the more typical fruit trees that want full sun. Does anyone know if some will tolerate shading better than others?
Fruits I need to find places for:
*marginally hardy, experimental
For reference, (in case anyone else is looking for cold and shade tolerant plants) the shrubs I am planning on including are:
-Blueberry (low-high hybrid)
-Serviceberry (can be tree or shrub, depending on species)
-Red Osier Dogwood (Nitrogen fixer, ornamental and wildlife value)
I’m not sure how your fruit trees will do in less than full sun. But, considering your in zone 3 and you plan to try apricot trees I would plant those wherever you are likely to lose your snow last on your property, which will be a partial shade area. My reason for doing this is to hopefully delay the bloom of the tree. Apricot like to bloom early and the blossoms can be killed off by a freeze.
I have no first hand experience with apricot as I planted my first trees this past spring, so time will tell...
As for the other fruit trees, I think that anything other than full sun will probably affect the quality and size of the fruit. Possibly make them more prone to disease. I’m interested in hearing what others with more experience have to say as well.
To free up some of that full sun space consider planting your raspberries in a partial shade spot. I put mine where they would not receive much direct sun after 1-2:00 to reduce the sun scalding on the berries. Doing this yielded some very nice berries this year.
I have an apple tree that is north of a forest of deciduous trees. Somehow it still produces apples. It may get a little bit of filtered light in the afternoons. It came with the property and only produces little 2 inch green apples so I will be grafting more productive varieties in the hopes for tasty apples in the future.