With winter temperatures that dip as low as -20 degrees F, zone 5 regions may not be the coldest places in the US, but they are certainly too cold for some popular fruit tree varieties.
Found largely in the northern half of the United States, from the northwest across to the northeast, zone 5 can be a formidable climate for many species.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go without – there are plenty of cold hardy zone 5 fruit trees that can thrive on your property, producing delicious fresh fruits and adding ornamental appeal to its surroundings.
From classic apples to the undervalued quince, here are the best fruit trees to plant in zone 5.
16 Fruit Trees You Can Plant In Zone 5
1. Apple (Malus domestica)
One of the most common commercial and residential fruit trees grown in the US is the apple tree. You will find countless varieties of apple trees all across zone 5, such as the sweet Pink Lady and the bright, popular Red Delicious.
For many zones 5 gardeners it will be one of the first fruit trees they consider growing. In fact it was placed as the number one food producing tree to plant in your home garden in our poll.
Not to mention, its fruits are the main ingredient of an iconic American food – apple pie! These versatile fruits are a must-have in an edible garden, and their white-pink apple blossoms are a lovely ornamental touch in spring.
Most apple tree varieties prefer loamy, fertile, well-draining soil, with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Correct pH levels are very important for successful apple tree growth, so consider getting your soil tested. Apple trees need to be cross-pollinated and should be planted 15 feet apart, in a location with full sun exposure.
Other Common Names: Apple Tree
Growing Zones: 3-8
Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 feet tall, with a similar spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Gala, Melrose, Dayton, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Pristine (regular, dwarf, and semi-dwarf), Ashmead’s Kernel, Jonagold (dwarf and semi-dwarf), William’s Pride, Akane, Belmac, Wolf River
Fruiting Season: Late Summer to Late Fall
2. Pear (Pyrus communis)
Another trendy fruit tree in the US is the pear. Not only are the trees fairly attractive, with their pale white spring blossoms, spreading growth habit, and lovely yellow, red, and orange fall foliage, but their fruits are absolutely delicious and very versatile. Pears picked straight from the tree are juicy and refreshing, and are also excellent when used in cooking, baking, and preserves.
There are a few things you should know before opting for a pear tree. These trees can grow up to 50 feet tall, so depending on the size of your property, you may want to choose a dwarf or semi-dwarf variety, such as Orient and Moonglow (dwarf) or Comice (semi-dwarf). They are not self-pollinating either, so you will need at least two to guarantee fruit production.
Pear trees absolutely need full sun so make sure you have a location that provides full sun throughout the day. Young pear trees should not be fertilized, and mature trees only occasionally as they can stunt fruit production.
Other Common Names: Common Pear, European Pear, Asian Pear
Growing Zones: 4-8
Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 feet tall, 25-40 feet wide
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Baldwin, Barrett, Anjou, Comice (semi-dwarf), Bosc, Summercrisp, Kieffer, Sunrise, Golden Spice, Gourmet, Luscious, Chojuro, Moonglow (dwarf), Orient (standard, dwarf), Shinko, Harrow Delight
Fruiting Season: Mid-Summer to Mid-Fall
3. Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
If you’re looking for a uniquely American fruit tree, you can hardly go wrong with the pawpaw tree, which produces the largest fruits of any native tree in North America! Despite being a small understory tree, its fruits can grow up to 7 inches long.
The flesh of the pawpaw fruit is sweet and custardy, though its pale green skin and large seeds are toxic to humans and can cause “stomach and intestinal pain” according to the NC State University Extension.
The pawpaw tree has glossy, green foliage and unique dark purple and brown flowers, and their textured leaves turn bright yellow in fall. These trees are best used as specimen trees in landscape gardening, and also do well in pollination gardens. However, pawpaw trees are not self-pollinating so you’ll need to plant several trees together to produce fruit.
Pawpaw trees need rich, well-draining soil that has a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Young trees can be sensitive to wind and sun exposure, but mature pawpaws prefer full sunlight.
Other Common Names: American Papaw, Paw Paw, Paw-Paw
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a 15-foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Sunflower, Allegheny, Taylor, Davis, Mitchell, Potomac, Sweet Virginia, Zimmerman, Mary Foos Johnson
Fruiting Season: Fall
4. Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa)
Gardeners familiar with the fuzzy-skinned, tangy kiwifruit will know that kiwi plants tend to thrive in subtropical environments, hence why they are so popular in countries like New Zealand and Australia. Thankfully, US gardeners in zone 5 don’t have to forego their own kiwis – there are a number of cold hardy varieties that can be grown in temperature ranges as low as zone 3.
Kiwis do not technically grow on trees, and are not technically a fruit! Instead, they are berries that grow along woody vines. The kiwi vine is a beautiful ornamental with its brown-red stems, vivid green leaves, and pretty, fragrant white flowers that appear in mid-spring.
These self-pollinating vines enjoy moist, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH, in a location with full sun and some partial shade. They need very little pruning or maintenance, but they do need space and should be planted at least 10 feet apart to allow adequate spread.
Other Common Names: Chinese Gooseberry
Growing Zones: 3-10 (ideally grown in 8-9)
Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 feet tall, with a 6-10 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Ananasnaya, Geneva, Pautske, Krupnopladnaya, Arctic Beauty, Dumbarton Oaks
Fruiting Season: Late Summer to Late Fall
Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees
5. Mulberry (Morus)
These deciduous fruit trees can be found growing both wild and cultivated in many parts of North America. Their elongated berries are sweet and delicious and look somewhat similar to blackberries, and their trees are fruitful and fast-growing. In the US the two most prevalent species are the red mulberry, which is native to North America, and the white mulberry, a native to China.
While mulberries are delicious and their trees have some benefits in landscape gardening, they also pose a few issues. For example, these fast-growing trees have a prolific, spreading root system that can disrupt cement, asphalt, buildings, and sewage lines, and their tasty berries can cause a mess in summer.
The white mulberry is also considered invasive in parts of the US. Fruitless cultivars are sometimes preferred, such as the ‘Chapparal’ or ‘Kingan’. Mulberry trees are hardy, adaptable trees, that are suited to varying soil types and pH levels.
Other Common Names: Everbearing Mulberry, Black Mulberry, Red Mulberry, White Mulberry
Growing Zones: 4-10
Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 feet tall, with a 20-40 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: White, Red, Black, Black Beauty, Downing, Riviera, Beautiful Day, Hick’s Everbearing, David Smith Everbearing, River View Russian, Stubbs, Middleton, Northrop, Chaparral, Kingan
Fruiting Season: Summer
6. Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
The apricot tree is one of those excellent species that not only produce delicious stone fruit but also fill your garden with beautiful flowers. These flowering ornamentals bear spectacular white and pink blossoms in spring, which is why some gardeners often choose them for their appearance rather than their fruits.
But as beautiful as they are, apricots are not the easiest fruit trees to grow. They are picky about where they are planted and need fertilizing and consistent watering to retain moisture in the soil, as they are intolerant to drought. Apricot trees need deep, loamy, well-draining soil with a neutral or slightly alkaline pH.
Apricot trees are also very sensitive to frost and fluctuating temperatures. They should be planted on elevated ground with plenty of air circulation to protect them from any unexpected late frosts. Unfortunately, this also means that while an apricot tree can grow on your property, there is no guarantee it will fruit, so a cold hardy variety and adequate frost protection are vital.
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, with a similar spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Goldcot, Tomcot, Harcot, Tilton, Wilson’s Delicious (dwarf), Canadian White Blenheim, Chinese, Puget Gold, Autumn Glo, Blenheim, Goldbar, Flavor Giant, Rival, Moorpark (standard, dwarf)
Fruiting Season: Early to Mid Summer
7. Cherry (Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus)
Beautiful pink cherry blossoms and delicious deep-red fruits are the two main reasons that many gardeners favor growing cherry trees on their property. And in zone 5, there are plenty of cherry varieties to choose from.
If you are considering purchasing cherry trees, keep in mind that not all are grown for their fruits. There are some varieties, such as the Yoshino or Weeping Higan, which are flowering trees only grown for their ornamental appeal. Discerning between the two types is important if you want ripe, delicious fruits each year.
Fruiting cherry trees come in three types: sweet, sour, and dukes (which are a cross between the two). All three can be grown in zone 5. Cherry trees are self-fertile and should be grown in deep, loamy, well-draining soil with a neutral pH in a location with plenty of sun.
Growing Zones: 4-7 (Sweet), 3-9 (Tart/Sour)
Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, with a 15-25 foot spread (Sweet Cherry varieties) 10-20 feet tall, with a similar spread (Tart/Sour Cherry varieties)
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Montmorency, North Star (dwarf), Pink Star, Meteor (semi-dwarf), Royal Rainer, Glacier, Utah Giant, Bing,
Fruiting Season: Early Summer
8. Peaches (Prunus persica)
There’s no denying that peach trees look lovely in any backyard, with pink blossoms, fuzzy fruits, and long, bright green leaves. But peach trees are also the most frost-sensitive stone fruit, and many varieties simply won’t survive the sometimes harsh winters of zone 5. Thankfully, there are a handful of cold hardy peach varieties that will do well in this climate.
If you find peach trees that can grow well in your region, there are a few things you should know before planting. For example, even cold hardy trees will need winter protection. Choose a planting site that limits overexposure to wind, frost, and flooding.
Burlap sacks and polypropylene covers can protect saplings from frost, and a layer of water-based latex paint around the trunk can protect the trees from sunscald. According to the University of Georgia Co-op Extension, peaches are also some of the most difficult fruit crops to grow due to their susceptibility to pests and diseases such as peach tree borer, brown rot, leaf spot, mites, and more.
Plant your peach trees in rich, fertile, well-draining soil, with a slightly acidic pH.
Growing Zones: 5-9
Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a similar spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Contender (standard, dwarf), Reliance (standard, semi-dwarf), Madison, Intrepid (standard, dwarf), Blushingstar, Harrow Diamond, Red Haven (standard, dwarf), Veteran, Frost Peach (standard, semi-dwarf)
Fruiting Season: Mid to Late Summer
9. Plums (Prunus domestica)
Plum trees are some of the most reliable fruiting trees to grow in zone 5, as the climate suits most varieties quite well. These fruit trees fall into three categories: European, Japanese, and American hybrids. European varieties are typically better suited to zone 5, as Japanese trees do better in warmer regions, and both Japanese and American hybrids tend to need cross-pollination whereas most European trees are self-fertile.
Plums are sweet, juicy, and delicious, perfect eaten fresh, baked into desserts, and used in sweet and savory preserves alike. But it is important to remember that plum trees fruit prolifically, leaving you with a yearly bumper crop that can cause a mess if they aren’t harvested in time.
Plant your plum trees in fertile, loamy, well-draining soil in an elevated location, where frosts are less likely to settle and damage early blooms. Soil should be neutral to slightly acidic, in an area that provides 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Growing Zones: 3-10
Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, with an 8-10 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Damson, Shiro, Early Golden, Friar, Elephant Heart, Ruby Queen, Coe’s Golden Drop, French Prune, Stanley, Italian, Mirabelle, Underwood, Alderman
Fruiting Season: Summer
10. Fig (Ficus carica)
Another fruit tree that typically does well in warmer climates, the common fig tree is native to Central and South Asia, and the Mediterranean. While most varieties are best suited to USDA zones 8 to 10, there are cold hardy varieties that allow zone 5 gardeners to plant fig trees both outdoors and in containers.
With their veined, spreading green leaves and soft decadent fruits, fig trees make a very attractive addition to your backyard and kitchen. The most popular cold hardy fig varieties are the Brown Turkey and Hardy Chicago, with the Chicago being the most reliable fruit producer. Most of these cold hardy fig trees can also be grown in pots and containers. They are all self-fertile, so you’ll only need to plant a single tree.
Fig trees should be planted in loamy, fertile, well-draining soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. They need full sunlight and plenty of space.
Other Common Names: Common Fig, Sacred Fig
Growing Zones: 5-11
Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, with a 10-15 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Brown Turkey, Hardy Chicago, Celeste, Violette de Bordeaux, Brunswick
Fruiting Season: Summer through Early Fall
11. Chestnut (Castanea)
While chestnuts may not be the first thing one thinks of when choosing a fruit tree, they are technically fruits! And gardeners who love the smell of roasted chestnuts and their sweet, nutty taste will be pleased to know that several varieties of the this nut tree grow well in the zone 5 climate.
And not only are chestnut trees grown for their versatile fruits but some varieties (such as the horse chestnut) are planted for their stately ornamental appeal and large rounded crowns, while others provide incredible rot-resistant wood used for timber and woodworking. Whatever reason you have for growing a chestnut tree, there is a suitable variety for zone 5.
When growing a chestnut tree, be sure to choose the right soil. Chestnut trees need deep, rich, loamy, well-draining soil with an acidic pH with full sun exposure. Keep moisture levels consistent but don’t overwater your tree, and provide plenty of wind protection while the tree is still young.
Growing Zones: 4-9
Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 feet tall, with a 20-50 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Chinese Chestnut, Colossal Chestnut, Horse Chestnut, European Chestnut, Large-Leaf Chestnut
Fruiting Season: Early to Late Fall
Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees
12. Crabapple (Malus sylvestris)
Unlike some of the fruit trees on this list, the crabapple is more often chosen for its ornamental appeal than it is for its fruits. These well-formed trees provide year-round interest, beautiful spring blossoms, and brilliant fall color in reds, oranges, and pinks. It looks lovely in any landscape, and most varieties will suit the zone 5 climate well.
Its edible fruits, on the other hand, are mostly only used in cooking and preserves, as they are quite tart and unpalatable in their raw form. However, the tiny red and pink apples also add to the visual appeal of the crabapple tree.
Hardy and adaptable, most crabapple trees are not fussy about what they are planted in. They can tolerate a range of different soil types, though they prefer moist, well-draining soil with a neutral to acidic pH. Full or partial sun is fine, and they also tolerate urban conditions fairly well.
Other Common Names: Crab, Crab Apple
Growing Zones: 4-8
Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, with a similar spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Callaway, Adirondack, Snowdrift, Sugar Tyme, Cinderella (dwarf), Adams, Profusion, Prairie Fire, Red Jewel, Guinevere (dwarf), Robinson, Louisa, Harvest Gold, Royal Raindrops, Sargent (dwarf)
Fruiting Season: Fall
13. Serviceberry (Amelanchier)
Grown either as large shrubs or small trees, the serviceberry is a deciduous fruit-bearing beauty that produces clusters of deep red and purple berries that are often likened to blueberries. They can be eaten fresh or used in cooking. These trees also yield beautiful white, pink, and yellow blossoms in spring.
Serviceberry trees can be used in landscape gardening in a number of ways, outside of their fruit production, as specimen plants, and in border, backdrop, and screen planting. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, they do very well in attracting pollinators, such as birds, bees, and butterflies, to your garden.
If you are considering planting serviceberry trees on your property, you’ll be pleased to know that they are fairly low-maintenance. All they need is moist, loamy, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH, in an area with plenty of sunlight.
Once you’ve found the ideal spot all you’ll need is a layer of mulch for soil retention, occasional pruning, and an annual round of spring fertilizer.
Other Common Names: Juneberry, Sugar Plum, Saskatoon, Sarvisberry, Wild-plum, Shadblow, Shadwood, Shadbudh, Chuckley Pear
Growing Zones: 2-8
Average Size at Maturity: 5-25 feet tall, with a 4-15 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Allegheny, Snowy Mespilus (dwarf), Canadian, Common Serviceberry, Saskatoon, Juneberry, Apple
Fruiting Season: Summer
Available at: Nature Hills
14. Quince (Cydonia oblonga)
The quince is another fruit tree that, while useful, is not widely cultivated in North America. Instead, it is more common in Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. This is a shame, as the quince tree is a lovely and productive deciduous tree that produces pink and white spring blossoms and large yellow fruits.
Like the crabapple, the quince is not often eaten raw due to its tough flesh. It is more often cooked into jams, jellies, and desserts.
As mentioned above, the quince can make an appealing addition to the zone 5 landscape. But there are a number of things you need to know before you consider this fruiting tree.
Quinces are susceptible to leaf blight, brown rot, and codling moths, so will need added protection, and while they are technically self-fertile they still need to be cross-pollinated to produce a worthwhile harvest. Quince trees should be grown in moist, acidic, well-draining soil in a location with full sun.
Other Common Names: Quince Bush
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 12-15 feet tall, with a 9-12 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: Le Bourgeaut, Meech’s Prolific, Vranja (semi-dwarf), Smyrna, Orange, Pineapple, Champion, Aromatnya, Kyucu Red, Rea’s Mammoth, Cooke’s Jumbo, Van Deman, Rich’s Dwarf (dwarf), Lusitanica, Serbian Gold, Bereczki
Fruiting Season: Mid to Late Fall
15. Persimmon (Diospyros)
With delectably sweet, low-acidity fruits and relatively straightforward growing requirements, persimmon trees are an unsung hero of North American fruit tree cultivation.
Persimmon trees are split into two varieties: the Japanese or Asian persimmon, which is the most popular and commercially produced, and the American persimmon, which is native to North America.
Unfortunately, many of the popular Asian varieties such as Fuyu, Maru, and Hachiya persimmons grow best in warm climates and are unlikely to thrive in zone 5. The best option for gardeners in zone 5 is the American persimmon, which is more cold hardy but less sweet and with less commercial potential.
The American persimmon is native to North America and has plenty to offer, with beautiful fall foliage and ornamental bark that provides year-round appeal even in winter. They can also be used in border planting. These trees need plenty of sun and moist, sandy, well-draining soil, as well as a second tree for cross-pollination.
Other Common Names: Sharon Fruit
Growing Zones: 4-9
Average Size at Maturity: 35-50 feet tall, with a 25-30 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: American
Fruiting Season: Early Fall
16. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
A relatively common deciduous shrub or small tree found in the wild, the elderberry tree can also be cultivated quite easily in home gardens. And gardeners who favor the elderberry will be rewarded – first with sweet, fragrant white flowers in spring, and then with small blue-black berries that can be harvested in autumn and used to make wine, juice, jams, and more.
Depending on the variety you choose, elderberry trees can be grown as specimen shrubs, in border planting, and as a hedgerow, privacy screen, or windbreak. The elderberry also attracts plenty of pollinators, particularly butterflies and songbirds.
Some elderberry varieties are self-fertile, while others need to be pollinated. Either way, planting several bushes will significantly boost your fruit yield if you are planting them for berries. Elderberry trees are unfussy about planting sites but prefer moist, well-draining soil with an acidic pH with access to plenty of sunlight.
Other Common Names: Common Elderberry, Wild Elderberry, American Elderberry, Elder Berry
Growing Zones: 3-9
Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall
Varieties Suitable for Zone 5: American Elderberry, Black Lace, Black Beauty, Adams, European Red, Blue, Nova, Ranch, Johns, Scotia, Wydlewood, York, Bob Gordan
Fruiting Season: Late Summer to Early Fall
Productive Fruit Trees For Your Backyard and Kitchen
Whether you want a fruit tree for its prolific food production or one that can act as a flowering ornamental, there are plenty of options to choose from.
While the zone 5 winters are often freezing, many cold hardy trees will be able to make it through the coldest parts of the year.
As long as you choose the right varieties for the climate in your zip code, you’ll have bountiful zone 5 fruit trees thriving in no time.
- 12 Small & Dwarf Tree Varieties for USDA Zone 5
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- 10 Fast-Growing Shade Trees for USDA Zone 5
- 9 Cold Hardy Cherry Trees for USDA Zone 5
Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor’s plant nursery.
As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture.
When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.