Growing fruit trees remains the perfect way to get fresh fruit right at your doorstep. There is nothing that is tastier than a fresh apple or peach picked right off the tree. The best way to get fresh fruit in your yard, even if you live in the city, is to choose the right fruit tree for your USDA zone.
There are many varieties of fruit trees that grow in Zones 5-7. Zone 5 has winter temperatures that can reach as low as -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit, so the fruit tree you choose must be cold hearty. Also, many fruit trees need pollinators to ensure proper blossoms and fruit production. You will need to obtain two or more trees for proper pollination unless the variety specifically states it is self-pollinating.
Which Fruit and Nut Trees Grow Better in Zones 5-9?
One of the best all-around fruit trees in colder climates is the apple tree. If you’d like to store your apples, choose a variety that ripens in midseason or later in the growing season. Later apples store better than do the earlier varieties of apples.
Apples do fairly well in cold temperatures if you select the right varieties of apples. Let’s take a closer look. For instance, the delicious and expensive Honeycrisp apple grows on a tree that is hardy down to Zone 3 and -40 degrees F. Let’s take a closer look.
Pink Lady apples also perform well in spite of the colder winter temperatures in Zone 5.
The Akane apple variety has been around since 1937. It is a smaller apple that blooms late and performs well in cooler climates, making it perfect for Zone 5 or higher growing.
Another hardy apple tree is the vintage Ashmead’s Kernel apple. The fruit is not as pretty as the apple above trees, but the tree’s fruit produces an excellent tasting specimen for eating raw and making apple cider.
One of the most expensive varieties of apples right now is the Honeycrisp apple. The tree is quite sturdy and hardy down to Zone 3 through Zone 8, so many people in cold climates can grow this hardy apple tree and reap the benefits of the lovely fruit with minimal cost. The crunchy apple tastes both sweet and tart.
Some people have compared the flavor to apple and bourbon combined. It tastes like a good apple cider and stores well. Honeycrisp is a favorite choice for those who like to eat fresh apples out of hand. The Honeycrisp apple also stores well and makes lovely applesauce. This apple may not be your best choice if you like to freeze apples, however.
The trees appreciate adding calcium to their soil. The tree is compact and appropriate for growing in an orchard or a backyard. Honeycrisp needs a pollinator, so choose another Zone 4-8 apple such as Golden Delicious, to ensure a good crop.
September Wonder Fuji
This hardy apple tree has the same delicate flavor as the Fuji apple you may purchase in the store. It needs a pollinator and is hardy Zones 4-8. The apples are crispy, juicy, sweet and tart, and excellent for eating out of hand. This apple also bakes and stores well. The September Wonder Fuji can be stored up to six months. Granny Smith (Zones 5-8) is an excellent pollinator for this apple.
Other types of fruit trees that tolerate colder climates are persimmons, apricots, plums, and cherries as well as peaches and pears.
Persimmon Trees (Sharon Fruit) for Zone 5-8
There are two types of persimmon trees, namely the Asian persimmon and the American persimmon. Both trees have some similar characteristics and some significant differences.
The Asian persimmon prefers growing in Zone 6 or 7 or higher. American persimmons do better in growing Zones 4 and 5. So if you need a hardier persimmon, choose an American persimmon tree. Persimmon trees do prefer acid soils rather than alkaline soils with a pH of around 6.0 to 7.0.
American persimmon trees tend to be larger and originated in North America. American persimmon trees are hardier than their Asian counterparts. These fruits are astringent, which means they are not sweet until they are soft and fully ripe.
The Prok American persimmon is a large tree that reaches about 30 feet tall. It is hardy from zone 5-8. It ripens in the late fall and is self-pollinating, so you only need to plant one tree to gain fruit.
One of the hardiest persimmons is the Yates American persimmon. This delightful tree is hardy Zones 4-10. It is cold hardy and heat-tolerant, with a flavor similar to the apricot when it is completely ripe. The tree is self-pollinating, but you’ll get more fruit if you plant two trees. The fruit ripens in early September.
Cherries trees are another type of fruit that grows well in cooler climates. If you’d like to grow a sweet cherry, you’ll need to have room to plant two trees, as sweet cherries are not self-pollinating. Sour or tart cherries may be a better choice for people with smaller gardens, as they are self-pollinating.
One of the most popular varieties of tart cherry is the Montmorency cherry tree. It produces a lovely crop of cherries toward the end of June and can come in either standard sized trees or semi-dwarf trees. Other cherry trees that are tart, hardy, and come in smaller trees are Meteor and North Star.
Of the sweet types of cherries, choose Starcrimson, Compact Stella or Glacier trees. Starcrimson and Compact Stella are self-fertile, so you can plant only one tree and get fruit. Bing cherries are the most well-know of the sweet cherries, but they have growing problems in Zone 5. Royal Rainier is a yellowish red cherry that produces a large crop but needs a pollinizer.
Pears Zones 5-8
Beurre Bosc Pear
This lovely pear has a long neck and round bottom, which is the classic pear shape. The Beurre Bosc pear has yellow skin with reddish accents and smooth, tender flesh. This pear is hardy Zones 5-8 and is a great choice for eating out of hand or for baking purposes. The Beurre Bosc pear needs a pollinator like the Bartlett pear for good pear production.
The Kieffer pear remains hardy through Zones 4-8. Pick these hardy pears when they are still firm, then store them in a cool place (60-70 degrees F.) until the pears finish ripening. This pear tree is self-pollinating and a good tree choice for canning and baking pears.
Pawpaws are a native fruit that tastes a bit like bananas. Pawpaws are native to the Midwestern part of the US and in the Eastern US. The foliage is the favorite and only food of the Zebra Swallowtail caterpillar and butterflies. Deer don’t like the tree, which is a bonus for those fighting with deer for fruit and fruit trees. The tree is a bit difficult to transplant, but most pawpaw sellers have some great tips for getting into growing in your neighborhood.
The Wells pawpaw is hardy from Zone 4-8 and is reported to be cold hardy. The fruit is high in vitamins, protein, and minerals. The Wells pawpaw has green skin, an orange flesh with a creamy texture. The tree is shaped like a pyramid and is an excellent choice for an ornamental tree, too. The pawpaw produces purple flowers in the spring and has leaves that look tropical, too. You should plant two different pawpaw trees for proper pollination. The fruit of the pawpaw ripens in September.
The Mango Pawpaw is another tasty variety of this tropical tasting tree. It is hardy Zones 4-8. The fruit tastes like mango and vanilla custard. Like most pawpaw trees, the Mango pawpaw prefers light shade to full sun to grow properly, as well as a pollinator to produce properly. This variety ripens in October.
Wilson Delicious Apricot
Wilson Delicious Apricot is one of the best apricots for all-purpose use. The beautiful peach and golden colored fruit have orange flesh that is tasty whether eating it fresh or preserving it by canning, freezing, and drying. It was originally introduced in 1940. It ripens in July, is extremely sweet, and the tree is self-pollinating. Planting two hardy apricot trees will increase the amount of fruit you gain, however.
The Harglow Apricot is disease resistant to brown rot and bacterial canker. It blooms late and therefore misses late spring frosts. The fruit is freestone and produces medium sized orange fruit in a small space. The Harglow Apricot has an enjoyable flavor and texture for any and all purposes. The tree is small enough bot be able to grow in yards or other small spaces. The Harglow apricot is hardy from planting Zone 5-8 and is self-pollinating.
Native plum trees grow in many cold climates. One of the more popular cultivated plum trees that thrive in Zone 5-8 is the Stanley prune/plum. This tree grows to about 15 feet tall and produces a plethora of large, sweet black plums. Many plum varieties are best when harvested after the first frost when they are sweetest.
Best Tasting Peaches Zone 5-8
While Georgia and the Southern states are famous for growing peaches, the juicy sweet fruit can also be grown in Zones 5-8. Here are a few varieties of peaches that grow in these zones and a brief description of each.
This peach has received high ratings and is strongly resistant to peach leaf curl. The tree needs a pollinizer, and it isn’t a pretty peach, but the taste more than makes up for its looks. Indian Free loves the hot late summer weather, so don’t plant this variety in places that get cool quickly after August.
June Pride can stay on the tree for up to four weeks and is recommended for zones 6-9. This peach becomes ripe early in the season and has a lovely rich flavor. It hasn’t been grown much in Zone 5, but you could try it.
O’Henry reliably produces firm fruit almost every year in Zones 5-9. It is a large, late-season peach.
Snow Beauty is the largest of the peaches that thrive in Zones 5-6. It also excels in taste and ripens in the mid-season.
White Lady peach is one of the tastiest white peaches for colder climates. This peach has high sugar and low acid and does well in Zone 5b.
Nut Trees for Colder Zones
Lots of nut trees get zapped by that last spring frost and don’t produce, so it is important to get the right varieties of nut trees that aren’t bothered by that last frost. Here are some descriptions of nut trees that may work for your garden and yard at Zone 5-8.
If you need shade, the black walnut grows to about 100 feet tall and is an excellent shade and nut producer. The drawback to growing the black walnut tree is that most other plants can’t grow around the base of the tree because of a chemical that the roots exude. Also, it takes about ten years of growth to get a good black walnut crop. A better choice might be the English walnut. English walnuts aren’t as toxic to the ground around them and produce nuts in about four years.
Hickory and Hican Nuts
Hickory nuts are tough to shell, so you might consider growing the hican tree instead. Hican nuts are better tasting and easier to shell than hickory nuts.
Hazelnuts grow on 10-foot shrubs, not trees. The leaves have a beautiful orange-red in the fall, and the branches of the contorted hazelnut are interesting to look at during the winter.
The American chestnut doesn’t exist anymore, but the Chinese chestnut grows quickly to about 50 feet tall and produces nuts faster than many of the varieties of nut trees you can grow in Zone 5.
Many people want to know whether almond trees can be grown in Zone 5. There aren’t many hardy almond trees, but you might like to try Hall’s Hardy Almond tree. It is reputed to be hardy Zones 5-8. They are productive as well as being attractive landscaping trees that grow to be between 15-20 feet tall and are self-pollinating.
These are a few of the the best fruit and nut trees available for growing successfully in Zone 5 and warmer. Stay tuned for more detailed guides and showcases of the best plants and trees for your garden and be sure to comment what trees or flowers you are planning to grow next!