We Should All Plant Fruit Trees

Fruit trees feed our stomachs and our souls

Melinda "Millie" K. Dooley
4 min readMay 4, 2022


Shot of apple tree branch from below
Photo by Nathan Hulsey on Unsplash

I recently published a short form piece on this, but I have so many strong feelings that I’m afraid I must say more.

Lawns, in general, are massive wastes of resources, from time to fertilizer to water. If you can’t justify tearing the whole thing out and replacing it (mulch is an option, garden beds would be ideal), consider adding a tree or two or twelve.

I read an article several years ago, I can’t remember where or when. The proposal was fruit trees in every park. The rebuttal was: what if someone steals an apple?

This is so clearly off the mark it’s almost laughable — if it weren’t so tragic. This is genuinely how some people think — if I pay to plant a fruit tree, 100% of the fruit produced can and does belong to me. No sharing!

That’s silly! Planting a tree is an investment in the community. The apples are communal property. Everyone can grab an apple as they stroll past, until the apples are gone. In fact, any human invested in the war against squirrels is a good human — go forth, and collect as many apples as you can.

Now that I think about this, how is the random passerby to know if I fall in the sharing camp? I ought to put a sign out by the sidewalk, inviting strangers to grab an apple as they pass by. Or I could set up a basket with apples in it, with a sign saying free! Somehow, we’ve got to practice what we preach.

I use apples as the model fruit because I recently learned they can survive in my USDA Zone (5, if you’re curious). Pears, too, can be an excellent option here. Go for a fruit that requires chill hours. Sadly, that often means a fruit that requires a second member of its species nearby, as a pollinator. Go for it, anyways. Planting two trees is little more work than planting one.



Melinda "Millie" K. Dooley

Ms. Melinda Dooley is a lifelong educator and enthusiastic biologist, and has earned her expertise the hard way.