- Growing Zone?
- Organically Grown
- What Our Trees are Not
- What Our Trees Are
- 7 Popular Dwarf or Miniature Fruit Trees For A Limited Space
- Four Methods to Reduce Fruit Tree Size
- 7 Popular Dwarf or Miniature Fruit Trees
- Cold Hardy Fruit Trees – What Fruit Trees Grow In Zone 4 Gardens
- About Cold Hardy Fruit Trees
- What Fruit Trees Grow in Zone 4?
- About Kristen Raney
- Hardy Fruit Growing Tips
- Crab Apples
- Fig Tree
- Goji Berry (Wolfberry)
- Haskap Honeysuckle
- Nanking Cherry
- Sour Cherries (Hardy Semi-Sweet Cherries)
- Increasing growing zone by 1 or more zones – currently in zone 4a
Our trees are grown in a Zone 3/4 location where they have been tested against temperatures of -30°F, -40°F and occasion- ally even -50°F (ambient temperature, no wind chill). Most commercial nursery stock is grown in Zones 5 or warmer, where the coldest winter extremes are -20°F. A plant that is “hardy” only to -20°F. may, with luck, survive one or two mild winters in Zone 3 or 4, but will eventually winter kill. If this has happened to you, take heart! You don’t have a “black thumb”; you just need varieties that are hardy enough. We rate our trees according to winter hardiness and guarantee their survival. Even if you live in USDA Zone 3 or 4, you can grow fruit and nut trees. All you need are the right varieties! (A note for our Canadian friends: regrettably, we are not able to ship orders to Canada. We suggest that Canadians check out www.hardyfruittrees.ca. They are a wonderful nursery in Quebec with similar inventory and values!)
A Special Thanks to Storey Communications, Inc.
Schoolhouse Road, Pownal, VT 05261, for allowing the use of the North American Hardiness Zones map above. From The Big Book of Gardening Skills, © 1993, p. 168.
Because we are committed to preserving the health of the air, water, and soil, (and ourselves) we use no conventional herbicides, fungi- cides or pesticides. Instead of artificial fertilizers, we rely on mulch, manure, and cover crops to boost soil and plant health. We use natural immune boosters like compost tea to help our plants fight disease naturally. In our orchard, a regimen of Neem Oil and kaolin clay gives us fruit that is safe to eat, delicious and nutritious. Rather than using mechanical digging machines, we hand-plant, hand-weed and hand- dig all of our stock.
What Our Trees are Not
Our trees are not like the trees that you often see lined up at your local garden center in springtime: tall, beefy specimens grown in a favorable climate (Zones 5 to 7) and pushed with nitrogen fertilizers. Heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers produces a “top-heavy” tree with a disproportionately small root, which is then machine-dug (often cutting or damaging roots in the process) and shipped, first from grower to wholesaler, then from wholesaler to retailer—a journey which often leaves the tree water-stressed. The root is encased in fertilizer-enhanced media and potted or wrapped in burlap, which the customer is instructed not to remove, making it impossible to deter- mine the condition of the tree’s root system. Although trees should be planted when they are dormant, garden centers often sell them in full leaf. Trees sold in this way are almost never covered by a guarantee.
What Our Trees Are
Our trees are grown here in a northern climate (USDA Zone 3) because we are growing trees for northern climates. Trees that are unable to withstand temperatures of minus 30o to minus 40o F will not survive our winters, and if we cannot grow it here, we don’t sell it. However, trees do grow more slowly in cold locations with short growing seasons, and nurseries are not exempt from this law of nature. We do not “push” our trees with artificial fertilizers, but use natural methods to encourage an optimum growth rate. The result is a smaller, but “tougher” tree with a more balanced proportion of root to top, which will establish itself well and harden off properly before winter. If you live in USDA Zone 3 or 4, you’ve probably been disappointed before by trees that were proclaimed to be “cold hardy.” Where was the tree grown? A tree that has been through -40o F winters has proven itself to be truly “cold hardy.” This means that a tree from our nursery will grow for you even if you live in a severely cold climate, whereas a tree from a conventional nursery located in a warmer growing zone may winterkill or simply survive without much growth or fruit. Hardy trees are our specialty.
As your supplier, our job is to ship you a healthy plant that is true to name and claim. As the customer, your job is proper planting, mulching and regular watering of that plant, and protection from mice, rabbits, deer and other plant-munching creatures. If a plant dies anytime within its first growing season, contact us. We will work with you to determine the fairest course of action. If it seems that the plant did not survive in spite of proper care on your part, we will replace it at no charge. In some cases, we may ask you to pay for shipping or offer to split the cost of replacement with you. Tell us what went wrong, and we’ll try to help you figure out what you can do to guarantee success with the next planting.
7 Popular Dwarf or Miniature Fruit Trees For A Limited Space
Trees can be distinguished on the basis of several factors like their height, support and rootstock. Both of the dwarf fruit trees and the miniature fruit trees are relatively smaller in size but they have different rootstocks’ (stump or part of roots that is used for grafting of cutting or bud of another plant) in order to keep up with their significant sizes;also varying with the height and need of support. A dwarf fruit tree could be 8-10 feet however a miniature tree remains between 6-8 feet keeping it smaller.
You may also like to see fast growing fruit trees and fruit bearing trees.
Dwarf fruit trees that are commonly available include nectarine, olive, pear, peach, apricot, apple, cherry, fig, citrus and quince.
Four Methods to Reduce Fruit Tree Size
The dwarf fruit trees usually on the smaller trees produce regular sized fruits but while buying such trees the end use is also considered. Potted fruit trees on the other hand in cold regions require picking a tree enduring to the zones than the current one.
- Dwarfing rootstocks
- Genetic Dwarf Fruit Trees
- Branch pruning use in the pots
- Control of Pruning in order to Produce Miniature Fruit Trees
7 Popular Dwarf or Miniature Fruit Trees
A list of famous dwarf Fruit Trees to grow in a limited space is as follows:
1- Dwarf Apple Tree
Dwarf apples tree is a sort of resilient and tough tree type that can bare freezing temperature of 45 degrees or less. Such trees grow in assorted conditions at small spaces and can take around three years for this. Apples thrive best in drier soil and a drier climate could make it even precious. Proper care is a compulsion in order to get quality fruit so if there is a drenched climate than apple trees want a constant drainage. Small fruit trees can estimate a less production of apples like an apple tree of about 3-4 foot may give 45 apples in variety. Popular varieties are Fuji and red delicious and the common rootstocks are Malling or the Cornell-Geneva, M27 and M9 are helpful in producing smallest ones. Pots are helpful in dwarfing the plants; pot size should be at least 16-18 inches or more.
2- Dwarf Cherry Tree
Cherry trees can grow in the pots and produce quality fruit if care is done properly. These trees are unable to give fruit if 2 years old branches are not there; however it is also important to note that all the varieties cannot thrive in pots. Such trees need below 45 degrees F and preferable to be grown in sandy loam mixture of soil. Dwarf sweet cherry trees than the large ones can give about 10-15 quarts each year. Well-drained soil with sunlight could be the considerable sources for the fruit production. These should be spaced on dwarfed rootstocks about 5-10 feet apart. The pot size should be big for such trees like across 18 inches. The common rootstocks for cherries could be Colt or Gisela 5.
3- Dwarf Pear Tree
Another kind of dwarf fruit tree is pear dwarf tree, pears could be considered as the largest of such varieties pruning in early spring or winter. Slightly rich acidic soil with a pH of 6.0-6.5 with sunlight is favorable for this fruit tree. Such trees are spaced about 8 feet apart and semi-dwarf at 13feet apart. Pear fruit trees are winter favorable trees having temperature about -25 degrees F. Container should be deep and minimum of 24inches. Common rootstocks for dwarf pear trees include EMH, Quince A and Quince C.
4- Dwarf Apricot Tree
The dwarf varieties of this fruit can be produced with the help of containers. Early spring is the season for apricots to bloom; trees are strong enough to cope with winter temperature about 20 degrees F. These trees can be planted any time except when it is extreme hot. They need much warmth during the summer, however 2-3 years old is good to be bought at buying time. Several colors of such trees could be seen in the yard like white in the blossoms, bronze foliage and yellow in the fall. It is one of the stone fruit tree like peach, cherry and nectarine. Pears must be spaced 20 feet apart in general and is usually 5-10 feet in height. Common rootstocks include Citation, Lovell, St.Julien and pot size could be 10-15 inches.
5- Dwarf Orange Tree
Planting fruit tree like this comes in the citrus category like lemons, mandarins. It can preferably be grown in wide pots rather than deep pots as it has a shallow root system; a dwarf orange tree is a potted fruit tree to harvest; preferring indoor planting conditions. However, sun rooms make it healthy for the tree. These trees cannot be more than 3-4 feet tall while other varieties can be of 8-12 feet, self-pollinating with rich soil. Preferable temperature is 65-45 degrees F at day and 50-55 degrees F at night. One common rootstock could be Trifoliate. The pots allowing free drainage with about 6-9 inches diameter is suitable for these trees.
6- Dwarf Avocado Tree
Avocado dwarf fruit tree is an ideal one as it bears fruit throughout the year, not able to deal with temperature below freezing. If sunshine is proper then it can take below 30 degrees F indoor, varying to harvest in summer or winter depending upon tree type. These growing fruit trees could be from 10-12 feet tall producing fruits in 1-3 years. Avocado trees demands sandy loam, able to withstand alkaline soil too. These trees can be about 3-4 feet tall and enjoys full sun, temperature to deal with cold is 28 degrees F. Large pots would produce quality ones of about 20+ gallon.
7- Dwarf Plum Tree
This dwarf plum fruit tree is grafted not affecting the fruit size. A container of about 12 inches in diameter is appropriate with protection from frost. These trees need either less or no pruning and spacing should be about 15-20 feet apart. If pruning is required then only March and September are favorable. Sunlight is good for production along with well drained soil. This tree starts production by 3 year; 2m in height and width and could also be used for jams. The common rootstocks include Pixy or St Julien A .The soil conditions should be loamy and best temperature for storing is about 31-32 degrees F.
Cold Hardy Fruit Trees – What Fruit Trees Grow In Zone 4 Gardens
Cold climates have their charm, but gardeners moving to a zone 4 location may fear that their fruit-growing days are over. Not so. If you choose carefully, you’ll find lots of fruit trees for zone 4. For more information about what fruit trees grow in zone 4, keep on reading.
About Cold Hardy Fruit Trees
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a system dividing the country into plant hardiness zones based on coldest annual temperatures. Zone 1 is the coldest, but regions labeled zone 4 are also chilly, getting down to negative 30 degree Fahrenheit (-34 C.). That’s pretty cold weather for a fruit tree, you may think. And you would be right. Lots of fruit trees are not happy and productive in zone 4. But surprise: lots of fruit trees are!
The trick to fruit tree growing in cold climates is to buy and plant only cold hardy fruit trees. Look for zone information on the label or ask at the garden store. If the label says “fruit trees for zone 4,” you are good to go.
What Fruit Trees Grow in Zone 4?
Commercial fruit growers generally only set up their orchards in zone 5 and above. However, fruit tree growing in cold climates is far from impossible. You’ll find dozens of zone 4 fruit trees of many different kinds available.
Apple trees are among the hardiest of cold hardy fruit trees. Look for the hardy cultivars, all of which make perfect zone 4 fruit trees. The hardiest of these, even thriving in zone 3, include:
- Northern Spy
You can also plant:
- Gold and Red Delicious
- Red Rome
If you want an heirloom cultivar, go for Gravenstein or Yellow Transparent.
If you are looking for a fruit tree growing in cold climates that isn’t an apple tree, try an American plum tree cultivar. European plum cultivars only survive to zone 5, but some of the American varieties thrive in zone 4. These include the cultivars:
It’s hard to find sweet cherry cultivars that like the chill of being zone 4 fruit trees, although Rainier does well in this zone. But sour cherries, delightful in pies and jams, do best as fruit trees for zone 4. Look for:
- North Star
- Sweet Cherry Pie
Pears are iffier when it comes to being zone 4 fruit trees. If you want to plant a pear tree, try one of the hardiest European pears like:
- Flemish Beauty
About Kristen Raney
Are you dreaming of a backyard orchard or food forest but think that because you’re in zone 2 or 3 you’re restricted to crab apples? Absolutely not! Here are 28 hardy fruits you can grow in zones 2-3.
Hardy Fruit Growing Tips
Most fruit trees require at least two of the same tree to pollinate and bear fruit. If you live in an urban centre and your neighbour has an apple tree, that could count as your second apple tree, as long as it blooms around the same time.
If the tag says self-pollinating, you can just buy one.
Most fruit trees, except the Nanking cherry, require full sun. Full sun means at least 6 (but preferably more) hours of direct sun a day.
Baby your fruit tree for the first few years after planting. Fertilize and water thoroughly. Your tree should come with care instructions. If not, join the Growing Roots Gardening Community and ask us!
Finally, don’t expect to get fruit the first year. Depending on the size of tree you bought, you might be waiting 3-6 years for your first harvest.
Have some fruit growing tips that you would like to share? Be sure to share them in the comments!
A short disclaimer: The varieties pictured may not be the varieties mentioned. I used my own photos where possible, but had to rely a lot on stock photography for this post. I tried to pick pictures that looked most like the varieties mentioned.
Yes, you can grow apples the size of the ones in the grocery store on the prairies. Honeycrisp is excellent for storage, Norkent and Odessey are good for fresh eating, and Serious is especially good for baking. Prairie Magic and Goodland are better varieties for those short on space.
Sweet Sixteen has the most interesting taste of spice, vanilla, cherry, and apple. The Wold River variety was prized for pie making. Legend has it you could make one pie with one apple.
Brown thumb? The 922-End Apple and September Ruby trees are hardy to zone 1.
Or try the TreasureRed columnar apple. Just don’t be disappointed that you paid $50 for a stick. I promise the stick will grow into a lovely tree.
If you’re from Saskatchewan, a trip out to the Petrofka Orchard is a must in both Spring and Fall.
Want to try making apple pies? Here’s how to organize an apple pie making day.
Manchurian Apricots make for delicious fresh eating, jellies, and jams. You’ll love the gorgeous shell pink blooms in the spring. Be aware that you’ll get a good crop every second year, not every year.
Aronia is the berry that just keeps on giving. It has gorgeous spring blooms, is a high in antioxidants, and has spectacular fall colour. Unpicked berries provide nice visual interest in winter. The Viking variety is one of the most productive.
The Chester blackberry is a versatile blackberry thats good for freezing, wine, jams and jellies, and fresh eating. The vine spreads rapidly, so it’s recommended that you grow it along a fence if you’re in an urban centre.
Blueberries can be purchased in both low bush and high bush varieties. The Northblue and Blue Gold varieties have the longest life-span in the refrigerator, giving you plenty of time to eat them before they go bad. Or give you a few extra day days to process them.
New to processing berries? Here’s my best tips and tricks to make everything go smoother.
Chokecherries are hardy to zone one and can be used as a windbreak shrub. These berries are only good for jelly, sypup, or juice and are very astringent. When the jam recipe says that you need more sugar than berries–believe it.
Chokecherry juice is also one of my favourite natural egg dyes. It makes a lovely purply-blue.
Where I’m from, it seems as if every yard has a crab apple tree. If you’re buying new and intending to eat your crab apples, make sure you don’t buy an ornamental variety! Crab apples are more sour than regular apples, but I actually like them better in my pies, jams, and jellies. I also love to juice them!
P.S. You need to try this Maple Spiced Crab Apple Butter. It will be your new favourite.
Like the aronia, cranberries are another giving fruit. White flowers emerge in June, followed by red fruit in the fall. You’ll love how red the leaves turn! Cranberry juice is a well-known remedy to help avoid UTI’s.
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I personally have many fond memories of picking wild currants with my family. We were lucky enough to have a couple of bushes right on our fields.
All varieties of currents are good for jams or jellies. Red Lake is good for wines and Ben Hope Black Currant is a favourite for juicing.
Elderberry is said to have lots of healing properties and has been used as a folk remedy in North America, Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia for centuries. It makes delicious jelly, pies, and wine.
The Chicago Fig is a lovely tree that provide’s golf ball sized fruit and can reach up to 12 feet high. It is hardy to zone 5, so plant in a large pot and bring it indoors for the winter. It’s self-polinating, so you only need one.
Goji Berry (Wolfberry)
A nice small shrub loaded with delicious red berries. You can also use the young leaves in a stirfry.
The Black Velvet Variety is similar to a blueberry and is good for baking, jams, or wine. Pixwell is virtually thornless and self-polinating. Jahn’s Prairie tastes similar to an apricot.
Grapes plants are wonderful to use as a screen along a fence. The Prairie Star, Valiant, Kandiyohi, and Marquette varies are all good for juice, wine, jams, and jellies.
Haskaps are one of the hardiest fruits you can plant. The blooms can survive up to -8C!! Home gardeners will love the Borealis variety.
I was very surprised to learn that there is not only one, but two hardy kiwi varieties that can be grown in zone 2 or 3. The Chung Bai and Arctic Beauty varieties both grow fruit that is about 5 cm/2 inches in length. Pick the Arctic Beauty for its gorgeous green, pink, and white leaves!
If you’ve ever been to Ikea, you’ll be familiar with the Lingonberry. They have a lovely tart taste that is similar to a cranberry.
I like to think of nanking cherries as the original prairie cherry. They make excellent pie filling and have beautiful white spring blossoms. One of the few fruits that can grow in shade. Use them as part of your windbreak if you’re landscaping an acreage.
Pears require two varieties for pollination. You’ll want to order the Beedle Pear (hurray for the long storage life!) and the Early Gold Pear (great for fresh eating).
The Southworth variety is one of the few that have good production every year. Most pears are like apricots, in that they only produce well every second year.
The Pembina plum is a hardy freestone plum that bakes well in desserts. Keep it away from Nanking cherries, sand cherries, and double flowering plums, as they will cross pollinate and you won’t end up with the fruit you thought you would. La Crescent is a lovely yellow freestone plum that tastes like an apricot.
The Canada and America varieties are excellent pollinator trees.
Waneta, Brookgold, and Fofonoff (best name ever!) are also solid and tasty choices hardy to zone 2.
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We all think of Raspberries as being red, but did you know you can grow varieties in yellow (Honey Queen), purple (Royal Purple), and almost black (Wyoming Black)? Red River is an easy red variety to grow for beginners.
I love to make jam and freeze extra to make my copycat Tim Horton’s Raspberry Bran Muffins.
Love Raspberries? Here are 10 Recipes you need to try.
Rhubarb is a wonderful fruit, but very hard to get rid of if you change your mind. Use it in crisps, jams, and pies. Pairs best with strawberry, and is always welcome in a bumble berry pie.
The sand cherry has beautiful grayish leaves and can be used as a windbreak shrub. The fruit is best used in jams or wine.
I grew up on a farm with over 1000 Saskatoon berry bushes, so I have a special affinity for them. We planted the Smoky, Northline, and Theissen varieties. The Smoky variety was my favourite, as it had the largest and sweetest berries.
Read about my love of berry picking here, and try out this stunning Saskatoon berry cheesecake.
Sea Buckthorn makes a beautiful hedge in your yard and provides delicious fruit that contains Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9, and Omega 7. It’s also a good drought-resistant pick for xeriscapes.
Sour Cherries (Hardy Semi-Sweet Cherries)
Sour cherries have become my favourite of all the available prairie-hardy fruits. The U of S varieties are so good, you’ll want one of each: Carmine Jewel, Romeo, Juliet, Cupid, Crimson Passion, Valentine, and Cupid. If you’re obsessed like I am, you’ll also want to try the Rose Cherry or Evan’s Cherry.
This is the first year I juiced cherries and they are so good! I also freeze some for pies and to eat with my yogurt for breakfast. You’ll want to set aside a few this summer to make No-Churn Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream.
Who doesn’t love a fresh garden strawberry on a hot summer day? Plant them in their own bed or a container for best results. The Kent variety is a good producer but has a short season. Fort Laramie is a very hardy everbearing variety. Try Seascape if you plan to freeze a lot of your fruit.
Love strawberries? You need to try Strawberry Feta Salad, Strawberry shortcake, and Strawberry Zucchini Cake.
Thimble berries are similar to raspberries. They have larger leaves and their canes are smooth instead of thorny. You’ll love them for their fruit and their fall colour!
With so many hardy fruits to try, which one will you choose? Let me know in the comments! I also love hearing your fruit growing stories, tips and tricks.
Want to know where you can purchase these trees? Two good sources are 20+ Seed Companies and Nurseries to order from this Spring.
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Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots. She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden. She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.
Increasing growing zone by 1 or more zones – currently in zone 4a
Steven – I’m open to any techniques that are tried and work, while understanding they may not work at our place. We’ve tried some planting around large rocks/boulders with some success, but our experimentation has been in the garden spaces instead of with trees. We have planted around 10+ fruit trees over the past 4 years, with a couple of losses. They’ve been planted in different areas some receiving more sun, others closer to water and in the shade until later in spring when the sun rises higher in the sky. We did this to experiment with keeping the trees from blossoming too early. The ground wasn’t the best in this area, but the trees that did make it do bloom a bit later which could be helpful for late frost. The trees that have done the best are planted using the Ellen White Planting method that we learned about from an organic gardening workshop we hosted. The speaker shared about this method. The trees we planted using this particular method did extremely well and bore a great deal of fruit in their 2nd season. So much so that the branches almost broke. This particular method though doesn’t help with zone temperature, but is focused on nutrient dense growing for the roots.
Methods we’ve tried growing within the garden spaces have been using hot spots/microclimates that are naturally occurring on our property in permaculture zone 1 and zone 2 where we plant the most items. Planting around large rocks/boulders. We have a lot of small boulders that we could use to build up around trees, but it would take a huge amount of effort to move them since we have little machinery to help. Before we do this I’m still not confident in how to best do it around trees. I haven’t see how Sepp Holzer does this method in great detail. We have tried and had great success with hugalculture raised beds. People who come to our place are always amazed at how well veggies grow on these raised beds and I think part of the reason things do so well is because of the increased soil temperature early and late in the season. The heavy mulch/Back to Eden approach has also been tried and did not go well for where we live. Our soil temperatures stayed far too low and it took 3 years to get the wood chips to really break down. In the end we removed what was left and put them in a section of the garden that we weren’t using to let them fully break down. Love the idea of Back to Eden, just not the best for our cooler climate and moisture level. We have no walls to plant along, although dream of creating some stone walls down the line. I’m not sure of other methods that can be used outside of greenhouses/high tunnels for trees or large bushes.
Russell – thank you for your thoughts. I was just researching seaberries and serviceberries. We have growing and doing well thus far raspberries, elderberry, currants (we’ll know how well these did this spring), apple, plum, sour cherry, and apricot along with lots of different medicinal herbs and perennial edible plants. Each year we’d like to continue to expand the edible items and nut trees would be a wonderful blessing, along with a couple more varieties of fruit.
John – Thank you for the links. Great resources and have spent the last hour perusing the websites.