Apples are popular in Minnesota, but it's possible to grow many other kinds of fruit trees. Here are some of my favorites:

Pears: Pear trees are fairly easy to grow and can live for a long time. You do need to plant two kinds of pears for pollination. Summercrisp, a University of Minnesota introduction, is a good cultivar. Other hardy cultivars include Ure, Patten and Parker.

Plums: These attractive ornamental trees flower very early in the spring. Plant a good pollinator (such as Toka) near a fruiting variety, such as Alderman, which produces delicious, medium-sized plums.

Cherries: Sweet cherries are not reliably hardy in Minnesota, but tart cherries Meteor and Mesabi are hardy throughout the state. Both trees usually have to be covered with nets to keep birds from eating the fruit. North Star, another hardy variety, grows only about 10 feet tall and makes a nice ornamental plant.

Peaches and Apricots: Temperatures lower than 20 degrees below zero will kill the flower buds on peach and apricot trees, which is why they're tough to grow in Minnesota. Both require two kinds for pollination and tend to have fruits that are short-lived. Moongold and Sungold, both university introductions, can bear fruit if the early flowers survive our late spring weather.

For more info: Go to www. extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo and click on Fruit.