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11 Best USDA Zone 4 Fruit Trees To Plant Today


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Home gardeners living in the far northern region of the US know what a struggle it can be to find fruit-bearing trees that will grow well in the area.

USDA Hardiness Zone 4 comprises some of the coldest areas in the United States. This growing region creates a crescent shape from Northern Idaho to New England and northern New York and from the border of Canada into portions of the Colorado Rockies.

This northern region experiences long, warm summer days, with the average temperatures ranging from the 70s to the mid-80s. Winter tends to bring below-freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall.

That being said, let’s look at some of the best cold-hardy zone 4 fruit trees you can plant in your garden.

11 Hardy Fruit Trees For USDA Zone 4

1. Honeygold Apples (Malus pumila)

Regardless of the variety, they are among the best food-producing trees favored by preppers and homesteaders. The honeygold type is often confused with golden delicious. While the apples may look very similar, the honeygold variety is sweeter and blander than its look-a-like.

Honeygold apple trees are excellent producers, growing sweet, crisp apples in abundance. This incredible dessert apple can withstand below-freezing temperatures and tolerate high winds; it is no surprise that this apple originated from the University of Minnesota.

Honeygold apple trees are relatively adaptable to most soil types. However, they need well-drained soil. These trees are excellent for home gardeners, but you must choose the location wisely if you live in a wet area.

Remember that this apple variety requires other apple trees for pollination, but the more, the merrier. This apple variety is drought-tolerant and well anchored. The beautiful pinkish-white blossoms are a stunning sight every spring.

Since there are many cold-hardy apple trees perfect for zone 4, here are several alternative options: Lodi, Northern Spy, Zestar, Cortland, Empire, Gold Delicious, Red Delicious, Red Rome, and Spartan. Gravenstein and Yellow Transparent are fantastic choices for those who prefer heirloom cultivars.

Other Common Names: N/A

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size At Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, 8-10 feet in width

Fruiting Season: September through November

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

2. Waneta Plums (Prunus Waneta)

Waneta Plum
Glacika56 via Pixabay (not exact cultivar)

Waneta plums are firm, sweet, and juicy. The beautiful white flowers are incredibly aromatic and make excellent accents to any property.

The large oval fruits have beautiful red skin and yellow flesh. Your plums will be ready to harvest somewhere around late summer.

Home gardeners love the beautiful edible landscape plum orchards provide and the accent. However, the fruits can be messy if dropped onto the lawn or sidewalk.

Many fruit trees need plenty of time to grow before they produce fruit. However, for those who prefer fast-growing fruit, the Waneta plum tree is for you (if you enjoy plums, of course.) Within a few years, these trees will start producing!

Waneta plum trees need full sun, as well as well-drained loamy soil. Don’t forget to plant partner trees for pollination. Cross-pollination is possible and can even improve the trees growing and bearing success.

Other Common Names: European Plums

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size At Maturity: 15 feet tall with a 15-foot spread

Fruiting Season: Late August through September

3. Meteor Sour Cherry (Prunus Cerasus ‘Meteor’)

Sour Cherries
Image by Audrey via Flickr

Sadly, you will not find any sweet cherry varieties that grow in zone 4. However, tart and sour cherries seem to do really well.

It seems to be that numerous cold-hardy fruits were developed and introduced by the University of Minnesota; the meteor cherry isn’t excluded. In 1952 the University introduced this tart delectable.

Meteor cherry trees are incredibly cold-hardy and produce a heavy crop of beautiful bright red cherries. Home growers can use these sour cherries for preserves, jams, juices, and pies.

The meteor cherry tree was genetically dwarfed, which is why it only grows to be about 10 feet tall. Meteor cherries are a hybrid of the Montmorency cherry.

These beautiful trees prefer full sun and moist, well-drained soil that’s relatively fertile. Chalk, loam, and sandy soil types are the tree’s favorites.

If you love wildlife, this tree might draw some attention from various birds, bees, and even deer. That said, you may have to beat them to the ripe fruit as it can disappear as quickly as it grew.

Home gardeners love that meteor cherry trees are resilient, adaptable, and disease resistant. Another excellent feature is that they’re self-pollinating, and it only takes a few years after planting to bear fruit.

Other Common Names: Tart Cherry. Sour Cherry, Dwarf Cherry

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size At Maturity: 10-14 feet tall and 8-12 feet wide

Fruiting Season: Mid-July

Available at: Nature Hills

4. Flemish Beauty Pears (Pyrus communis)

Flemish Beauty Pears
Image via Nature Hills

In regards to cold-hardy pears, European varieties are where it’s at. Flemish Beauty pears originate from Belgium. This mid-season pear is a nice balance of sweet to sour, with a rich flavor and texture.

These hardy Belgian pears grow medium to large in size. They’re excellent for eating raw and dried.

European pear varieties prefer full to half a day’s sun and well-drained soil. Flemish beauties require another variety close by for cross-pollination.

Growers are happy with the fact that their trees will bear fruit within a few years after planting. European varieties are generally disease-resistant and can produce over 50 pounds of fruit in their prime.

If there are codling moths in your area, you might expect occasional issues with them pestering around your trees.

Other Common Names: Sweetmeat of The Woods, Fondante de Boise, Barnard

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size At Maturity: 10-12 feet tall

Fruiting Season: September

Available at: Nature Hills

5. Trader Mulberry (Morus nigra)

Trader Mulberries
Image by Mark Belokopytov via Flickr

It’s been said that Bill Trader brought the ‘Trader’ Mulberry tree from Germany to North Dakota. Something Germany and North Dakota have in common is how frigidly cold it gets.

Planting a two-year-old specimen will bear fruit in a matter of a few years. This is why it’s considered a fast-growing tree.

Not only do Trader mulberry trees provide delicious fruit, but they also make excellent shade trees. Because of their sheer size (25 to 40 feet), home gardeners will need to ensure they have sufficient space and no power lines to get in this beast’s way.

Mulberries are excellent fruits, but they are versatile, too, with jellies, pies, jams, juices, and baked goods being excellent options.

Other Common Names: Black Mulberries

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size At Maturity: 25-40 tall and can reach 25-30 feet wide

Fruiting Season: Late July

6. American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

American Persimmon
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

American persimmons are actually native to Eastern North America. They might not be as widely cultivated as the Japanese or Asian varieties that grow in warmer climates.

The American persimmon variety is much more cold-hardy. They are ideal for amateur gardeners because they’re easy to grow and can be planted in the early spring once the frost has passed.

This deciduous tree is slow-growing, taking anywhere from seven to 10 years to become fruit-bearing. The fruit has a sweet flavor with a custard-like texture when they’re ripe. Unripe persimmons aren’t quite palatable as they are sour.

American persimmon trees appreciate full sun with afternoon shade. They tolerate almost all soils, aside from salt, but prefer loam.

Other Common Names: Persimmons

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size At Maturity: 35-50 feet

Fruiting Season: September through Late November

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

7. Blushingstar Peaches (Prunus persica)

Blushingstar Peach
Image by Peter Stenzel via Flickr

Blushingstar peaches come from a line of Stellar peaches. You’ll notice that all Stellar varieties have the name star in them. Peaches usually prefer warmer weather, but lucky for us, there are several cold-hardy varieties to choose from.

Blushingstars are a late-season and easy-to-care-for peach. The harvests will be prolific, providing beautiful fruit that keeps pretty well. Something growers love is that, unlike some peach varieties, the fruit resists browning when sliced.

You can expect these peaches to have firm white flesh with a unique sweet flavor. It’s a heavy-bearing tree, so be ready for jams and pies.

This peach variety is disease-resistant to bacterial spots and is only about 26 years old. The blushingstar type is freestone, meaning the stone or pit is easily removed.

The beautiful pink flowers and large red fruits make an excellent addition to any landscape. Within two to four years of planting, you can expect tasty fruit.

Did we mention that this variety is self-pollinating? However, most people prefer having more than one of these beauties.

Other Common Names: Stellar Peaches

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size At Maturity: 12-15 feet tall with a 15-foot spread

Fruiting Season: August

8. Intrepid Peaches (Prunus persica ‘Intrepid’)

Intrepid Peach
Image by Couleur via Pixabay (not exact cultivar)

The Intrepid peach variety was developed at the Sandhills Research Station in North Carolina. In 1987 it was crossed, and by 1990 it was selected with a patent soon to follow.

The intrepid variety is an excellent choice if you love peach cobbler or any peach dessert. Honestly, this variety is perfect for fresh eating, baking, freezing, and canning.

Intrepid peaches are an incredibly cold-hardy tree that blooms late, avoiding most frosts. Another plus is that the flower buds can survive freezing temperatures, even when they are in full or half bloom.

Please remember that fruit-bearing trees require a certain amount of chill hours to produce appropriately. The intrepid requires about 1,050 chill hours.

This is another self-pollinating peach tree, but there’s no harm in growing more than one. Especially if you love peaches.

Other Common Names: Cobbler Peaches

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size At Maturity: 12-15 feet tall and 12-15 feet wide

Fruiting Season: July

9. Autumn Brilliance Service Berry (Amelanchier x Grandiflora)

This beautiful tree provides four seasons of beauty, from the showy flowers and edible fruits to the Autumn colors and bark. It’s an excellent choice for smaller spaces requiring a smaller tree.

This serviceberry tree requires full sun to partial shade. It’s adaptable to most growing sites. However, it can’t handle consistently dry soil.

Imagine, if you will, beautiful autumn hues with small white flowers blooming in April. The foliage emerges as a bronze-purple and becomes a blue-green as the season progresses.

Top that off with the small purple berries; you have an edible sight to behold. You won’t need a huge yard, as this tree is urban approved, making it an excellent choice for urban areas.

Other Common Names: Serviceberries

Growing Zones: 3 and up

Average Size At Maturity: 20-25 feet tall with the same size spread

Fruiting Season: June to July

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

10. American Sweet Crab Apple (Malus coronaria)

American Sweet Crab Apple
Image by Debbie via Pixabay

Crab apples are known to be sour; the American sweet variety has a bit more sweetness than other types. Believe it or not, it is a small tree in the rose family.

These trees prefer a sunny spot with moist loamy soil. However, it will tolerate partial shade.

During the spring, this beautiful tree is covered in fragrant pink flowers. Flowering trees with edible fruit are attractive choices for any yard.

While the fruit is bitter, they’re excellent for preserves and apple cider.

Sweet crab apple trees are loved by wildlife as a food source, cover, and nesting site. Unfortunately, it is susceptible to insects and diseases, especially rust. That said, this crab apple tree must be planted at least 500 feet away from cedar trees.

Other Common Names: Sweet Crab Apple, Crab Apple, Crabapple

Growing Zones: 4a to 8a

Average Size At Maturity: 15-30 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide

Fruiting Season: Autumn

11. Gravenstein Apples (Malus Domestica ‘Gravenstein’)

Gravenstein Apple
Image via Nature Hills

Gravenstein apples are an excellent-quality dessert apple. This vigorous tree yields bountiful crops of medium-sized fruits with red-over-green skin.

The flavor is incredible when eaten fresh and even more delicious in a cake or pie. They hold their shape when they’re baked, making them a prime choice for bakers.

Gravenstein apples are considered an antique variety and originate from Denmark circa 1797. The beautiful white flowers bloom early to mid-spring.

Gravenstein prefers loamy, well-drained soil with full sun. Within two to five years, growers will be harvesting their bounty-a-plenty. These apples make the perfect end-of-summer fruit.

Other Common Names:

Growing Zones: 2-9

Average Size At Maturity: 12-15 feet tall and 12-15 feet wide

Fruiting Season: July and August

Available at: Nature Hills

Tough Fruit Trees For Chilly Conditions

Zone 4 experiences rather cold winters and cool summer weather. Apples, several peach varieties, and sour cherries are a few excellent choices growers in that zone have.

Knowing your USDA planting zone is a great start finding out which trees will grow in your backyard.

Finding fruit trees that grow well in colder climates can seem like a daunting task. After all, the options are a bit more limited, which is why we wanted to share a few of the incredible opportunities available.

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