If you think fruit trees are only for folks living in warmer climates … read on and discover hardy fruit-bearing trees that thrive in our cold winters. There are a variety of zone 5 fruit trees to choose from. Actually, quite a few fruit trees need a certain number of cold days in order to produce fruit.
First of all, know exactly what gardening zone you live in. Use this handy link provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to look up by your zip code.
Once you know your zone, analyze your yard considering the factors listed below. A little research goes a long way to your success rate with fruit trees. Definitely worth it to pick delicious and nutritious fruits fresh from your garden!
Fruit Tree Site Selection
Most zone 5 fruit trees need 8 hours of sun each day, so a planting site that receives full sun should be a priority. Early morning sun dries dew off the foliage quickly and minimizes diseases; midday and early afternoon sun improves fruit flavor. Plant fruit trees far enough from shade trees to provide adequate light and to minimize root competition.
Another consideration is the size of the tree. Most fruit trees come in varieties that are dwarf, semi-dwarf, and standard. Dwarf trees stay about 8 to 10 feet tall and are perfect for small yards. Semi-dwarf trees grow about 10 to 15 feet tall and are more productive than dwarfs. Standard-sized trees grow 20 feet or more and are most productive.
Fruit trees need well-drained soil. Avoid low areas where water puddles during rains. If you don’t have any well-drained sites, you can install drainage tiles or build raised mounds or beds where you’ll plant the trees.
Best Zone 5 Fruit Trees:
There are many apple varieties to choose from that do well in Zone 5. Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith are some of the apple trees that are most widely planted in northern climates. They are some of the easiest and most dependable apple trees to grow.
In the spring, apple trees will burst into bloom. Beautiful clusters of pink buds open to reveal snowy white flowers.
From September to October, the apples will turn from a pale green to their familiar red or golden green color (depending on the type), signaling that they are ripe.
Allowed to ripen on the tree, you will notice a vast difference in flavor when compared to the apples purchased at the supermarket. Home grown apples seem to taste better and deliver a satisying crunch when you bite into them. Eat them fresh off your tree or use for baking in your favorire recipes.
Most apple trees are self fruiting, and do not need a another tree as a pollinator. However, planting it with a pollinator will produce more fruit. You don’t need to plant two of the same variety … you can mix and match.
Grow your own cherry tree! The cherry is high in anti-oxidants and delicious for a healthy snack. One of our favorites is the Bing Cherry … one of the finest and most famous of the sweet Cherry varieties.
In early spring, Zone 5 cherry trees will be covered in dazzling white flowers. Later in the spring and during the summer, the trees will have bright green leaves, a wonderful contrast to the deep garnet, shiny fruit. In fall, the leaves take on a pretty yellow hue.
The cherries are firm, extremely juicy, and have that classic, rich, sweet cherry flavor. Bing yields an abundant crop perfect for eating alone, or for use in baking, preserves, or even wine.
The Bing Cherry does require cross-pollination, so another Cherry tree is needed to produce fruit. Many cherry varieties will act as pollinators for the Bing, a few recommended varieties are the Lapins, Black Tartarian, Van, and Rainier.
The Desert King Fig is a good choice for cooler climates. It is a large, deep green fig with strawberry red flesh. Fruit ripens in July and is very sweet, delicious, good sized, firm and meaty.
This fig tree is a heavy producer of excellent quality, sweet figs. The tree sets a large early crop from June to August, then sets a secondary crop later in the season.
Figs are excellent for jams, canning, drying, or eating fresh. Plants often bear fruit the first year after planting. Makes a shapely, smallish tree growing 10′ – 15′ tall at maturity. Fragrant rosy pink flowers in the spring and lovely yellow leaves in autumn.
Fun Fig Fact: Fig fruit is unique … unlike most fruit in which the edible structure is matured ovary tissue, the fig’s edible structure is actually stem tissue. The fig fruit is an inverted flower with both the male and female flower parts enclosed in stem tissue.
Paw Paw Trees
The Paw Paw Tree is an ornamental tree that produces sweet, banana-flavored fruit. It grows to 20 – 30 feet high, has fragrant dark purple blooms and large, drooping leaves.
These fleshy, oblong-shaped fruits are custardy in texture and make unique-flavored pastries and breads. Paw Paw Tree fruit grows 3-5” long and weighs up to 8 oz. with 3-7 in a cluster. People describe it as a banana flavor with papaya, mango, melon, vanilla or even pineapple accents.
A favorite of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the Paw Paw is an incredible native fruit that brings the taste of the tropics home. The trees grow in the Southeast and Midwest of the United States as an understory tree in the woods. These interesting trees are sub-zero hardy and insect free. Plant two trees for cross pollination.
In my book, not much beats a warm piece of peach pie with a scoop of vanilla icecream! Grow your own sweet peaches … the Elberta Peach is the original, classic American yellow peach. Since its introduction in 1889, the Elberta has a long history of being one of the finest peaches grown. Over the years, it’s become the most planted peach variety in the United States.
This is one of the finest fresh eating peaches. Firm flesh, and incredible flavor are the hallmarks of the Elberta peach. As well, the enormous production of this wonderful peach makes it a highly valuable tree for your backyard.
The Elberta is a wonderful choice for cooking and baking. A cobbler or pie never tastes any better than when made with fresh Elberta peaches. Also a great canning variety, because the freestone makes prepping go faster, and the fruit is nice and firm and easy to work with.
The Elberta Peach can be easily maintained at any height with pruning. Plan on keeping it below 8 feet so you can easily maintain the tree while enjoying a “ladder-free” harvest of your crop.
You’ll likely harvest in September, although some areas come on a little earlier in August. Self-fruitful this peach does not need a pollinator companion, however it will do even better if two are planted … plus it will extend your harvest period.
Other peach varieties that do well in zone 5 include the Golden Jubilee, Red Haven, Reliance, and Hale Haven.
Enjoy pears starting in summer with the charming and prolific Summer Crisp Pear. The great-tasting fruit has a crisp, juicy texture and mildly sweet flavor that is prized for a variety of uses.
These rugged trees were developed at the University of Minnesota, so are quite cold hardy. Summer Crisp Pear trees enjoy a well-deserved reputation for reliable annual production. It’s rare to have any issues with late winter frosts with this variety.
You can use it as an “edible ornamental” tree … this pear requires less space due to its slightly smaller stature. Live in the city and crave fresh fruit from your own tree? Summercrisp Pear is the answer.
Even the branch structure is superior. Vertical branches rarely need pruning, and that’s a huge benefit for beginning gardeners. Flowers with white blossoms in the spring, this is one good-looking tree! The Kieffer, Bartlett, or Comice are other good choices for Northern gardeners.
Stanley Standard Plums make excellent plums for jam, jelly and preserves! The tree grows to 18′ tall, flowers white in spring and is the most widely planted European plum in the East, Midwest, and South.
This tree has large, dark blue fruit with firm, richly flavored yellow flesh.ear and is hardy into central Iowa making it a superb choice for the north. Fruit ripens in late September … it’s a freestone fruit so pits are easy to remove.
Prune plums contain enough natural sugar to dry in the sun without fermenting. The firm, golden flesh is also great for fresh eating and keeps well. Try dehydrating them for a healthy snack on the go. They can be used in preserves, sauces , and baked puddings among other tasty uses.
These fabulous plum trees do not need a pollinator, but you can generally get more fruit if you have other plum trees nearby for more pollen availability. It is also serves as a great pollinator for other plum trees. Other good plum trees for zone 5 include the Santa Rosa and Methley.
To Sum Up … Zone 5 Fruit Trees
When considering a fruit tree for your yard, remember that most fruit bearing trees need 8 hours of sun each day, so a planting site that receives full sun should be a priority.
Another consideration is the size of the tree when mature. Most fruit trees come in varieties that are dwarf, semi-dwarf, and standard so there’s a size for most any yard suburban, rural, or urban.
Fruit trees need well-drained soil. Avoid low areas where water puddles during rains. Also note whether the tree you like is self-polinating or needs a companion to produce fruit.
Give one or more of these zone 5 fruit trees a well-deserved spot in your home garden orchard. There’s nothing like growing your own, healthy, delicious, and super fresh fruit!
Looking to bring a little sunshine indoors? Don’t have a spot in your yard for a outdoor fruit tree? Well, I have great news for you … try an indoor, dwarf-sized fruit trees!
These little dynamos are perfect for small spaces, easy care, and prolific with fruit. You can grow lemons, limes, oranges, figs, pomegranantes, bananas, olives and more inside your home …