6 USDA Zone 4 Cherry Trees (Best Cold Hardy Varieties)

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Written By Elaina Garcia

Green Thumb & Homesteader

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Home » USDA Zone 4 » 6 USDA Zone 4 Cherry Trees (Best Cold Hardy Varieties)

If you’re searching for the best cold-hardy cherry tree varieties that grow well in zone 4, you’ve come to the right place.

Living in zone four means, you likely live somewhere quite north. USDA Zone 4 experiences long, warm summer days with highs in the 70s and a lot of snow, with average cold temperatures ranging from -10 to -20℉ during the winter.

Because zone 4 experiences such cold and snowy winters, one might think there aren’t many fruit tree options.

I’m here to share six cherry varieties that are perfect for this region.

6 Best Cold-Hardy Cherry Trees For Zone 4

1. Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa)

Nanking Cherry
Image by Matt Lavin via Flickr

For those of you in cold winter zones, Nanking cherry trees are an excellent, easy-to-care-for option to add to any landscape. The cherries have a tangy, sweet-tart taste, perfect for eating fresh, baked goods and canning.

The spring flowers are beautiful; the rosy pink flower buds begin to show in the early spring and bloom into showy white blossoms. Nanking cherry blossoms are a reliable early bloomer that’s welcoming after a long cold winter.

The flowers are fragrant and frost tolerant, making the tree a harbinger of spring. Many are pleased to see their tree attracting pollinators like butterflies and honey bees.

One of the things I appreciate about the Nanking cherry tree is that they can be planted in a row to provide an elegant privacy hedge. Speaking of privacy, there are various privacy trees for zone 4.

This cherry variety is not self-fertile, so you’ll need to plant two or more close to one another to ensure efficient cross-pollination.

Other Common Names: Downy Cherry, Mountain Cherry, Manchu Cherry, Hedge Cherry, Chinese Bush Cherry, Mongolian Cherry

Growing Zones: 2 – 6

Average Size At Maturity: 6 – 8 ft tall with a 5 – 6 ft spread

Fruiting Season: Late Season

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Chelan Cherry (Prunus avium ‘Chelan’)

Chelan cherries are well-known for their deep red color and rich, juicy flavor that can be compared to Bing cherries. However, compared to Bing cherries, Chelan trees fruit earlier and are more likely to avoid split or fused (buttoning) cherries.

Chelan cherry trees tend to grow taller than other fruit trees. That said, the Chelan variety can reach 15 to 30 feet tall at maturity.

The medium-to-large tree offers a brilliant display of pink and white flowers in the spring. Later in the season, the abundant flowers transform into deliciously sweet, heart-shaped cherries. This tree produces so many cherries sometimes growers have to help keep them from overproducing.

If you’re looking for a cherry that looks and tastes like a Bing, try the Chelan as an alternative. Bing cherry trees only grow in zones 5 through 8. This fast-growing tree is an excellent choice.

The fruits of the Chelan cherry tree can be eaten straight from the tree. However, many people enjoy using their sweet richness in desserts and pies. You can also dry, can, or turn them into jams and preserves. With the number of cherries that grow on a tree, you’ll have more than enough for everything.

Other Common Names: Black Cherry

Growing Zones: 3 – 8

Average Size At Maturity: 15 – 30 ft tall with a 15 – 30 ft spread

Fruiting Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

3. Juliet Dwarf Cherry (Prunus fruticosa x Prunus cerasus ‘Juliet’)

Juliet Dwarf Cherry
Image via Nature Hills

If you long to have your own cherry tree but are limited on space for a full-size tree, the Juliet Cherry is an excellent choice. While this cultivar is small, they’re highly prolific, with the potential to produce up to 25 pounds of delicious fruit by its fifth year.

Being a dwarf variety, it grows well in a pot and is also considered a shrub. The cherries produced by the Juliet Dwarf are very sweet, and the trees only need a small space to thrive. They tuck nicely into an existing orchard or small garden. It makes a beautiful choice for a flowering tree for zone 4.

While Juliet’s cherries are sweet, they’re actually a sour or tart pie cherries. They’re known as the sweetest sour cherry. These mid-sized fruits have a rich, complex flavor. The deep red, almost purple color of the fruits set against the glossy green foliage is picturesque.

Other Common Names: Sour Pie Cherry, Tart Pie Cherry

Growing Zones: 2 – 7

Average Size At Maturity: 6 – 8 ft tall with a 5 – 6 ft spread

Fruiting Season: Late Season

Available at: Nature Hills

4. Carmine Jewel Dwarf (Prunus fruticosa x cerasus)

Carmine Jewel Dwarf Cherry
Image via Nature Hills

Carmine Jewel cherry trees are self-pollinating dwarf or bush cherries. The fruit is small with a tart flavor, perfect for jellies, jams, desserts, and pies. These cherries are renowned for their deep, dark red color, and growers can expect a heavy yield that’s resistant to frost.

The Carmine Jewel is a cross between the European dwarf cherry (Prunus fruticosa) and Sour cherry (Prunus cerasus). It’s the perfect size tree for urban lots, courtyards, and indoor-outdoor containers. One of these dwarf cherry trees can provide a sufficient amount of fresh fruit for the average size household. Not to mention, they take up much less space than alternative cultivars.

The pink blossoms that bloom during the spring are beautiful. It’s exciting to watch the lovely flowers transform into delicious fruit. Carmine Jewel cherries are renowned for their appearance and flavor. The local pollinators will love them just as much as you, if not more.

Growing Zones: 3 – 8

Average Size At Maturity: 6 – 7 ft tall with a 4 – 8 ft spread

Fruiting Season: Early Season

Available at: Nature Hills

5. Montmorency Cherry (Prunus cerasus ‘Montmorency’)

You’ve likely stumbled upon a cherry tree in full bloom, only to be stopped in your tracks to admire it. The vivid and delicate flowers cover the Montmorency cherry tree in the late spring. Not only do these stunning trees add a beautiful flare of white to any yard, but they provide growers with a large yield of tart cherries during mid-summer.

The large, bright red Montmorency cherry tree is among the most popular cherry trees in the United States. Growers are pleased with the buckets of juicy cherries their trees produce. They have a unique tart flavor making them excellent for baking and preserving.

While Montmorency cherry trees are self-fertile, you’ll only need one. However, having more trees means you’ll receive even more cherries. This cherry cultivar is low-maintenance, hardy down to -20 degrees, and it thrives in a variety of soil conditions.

Other Common Names: Sour Cherry, Tart Cherry

Growing Zones: 4 – 8

Average Size At Maturity: 12 – 15 ft tall with a 12 – 15 ft spread

Fruiting Season: July

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. North Star Cherry (Prunus cerasus ‘North Star’)

North Star cherry trees aren’t your average everyday fruit tree. This cultivar was created by combining a bit of modern science and traditional horticulture. The North Star cherry tree was developed by researchers to create a cold-hardy tree that was disease resistant that also produced delicious fruit. I’d say it has stood the test of time, as it has been around for over 50 years.

The North Star cherry tree is a dwarf variety that actually makes the cut for being a micro tree. Don’t let the size of this tree deceive you, as it was intentionally bred for its incredible hardy qualities and fruit yield.

Because the North Star cherry only reaches heights of 6 to 10 feet tall with a maximum 12-foot spread, it is the perfect choice for small yards and gardens. The beautiful white flowers retain the iconic cherry tree blossom. During the fall, the tree transforms into a majestic shade of purple.

Other Common Names: North Star Sour Cherry, Tart Cherry, Sour Cherry

Growing Zones: 4 – 8

Average Size At Maturity: 6 – 10 ft tall with an 8 – 12 ft spread

Fruiting Season: July

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

USDA Zone 4 Cherry Trees Perfect For Cold Climates

Cherry trees are beautiful, bountiful, and fragrant. They have the ability to add beauty to any landscape, not to mention the juicy fruits they bear.

While this list might be on the small side, there are various flavor profiles and sizes to choose from.

Before choosing a tree, you should take a look at the USDA Growing Zone map to ensure it’s suitable for your location.

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Elaina Garcia

Green Thumb & Homesteader

Elaina has had her hands on the Earth since she was little. For over a decade, she’s been tending gardens and learning about plants and trees. A seasoned writer with a green thumb, Elaina loves to write about everything from gardening and homesteading to health and wellness. When she’s not in the garden, you can find her in the chicken coop, with her rabbits, or somewhere in the woods with her cats and dog.

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