7 Cool Climate Fruit Trees

Best fruit trees for cold climates

If you live in an area with cold winters you may not be able to grow mango, banana, papaya or orange trees, but there are plenty of fruit trees that are well suited to cool climates.

Many fruit tree varieties need a period of cold temperatures for the trees to set fruit, so they’re perfectly suited to cool climate areas.

Here are 7 easy to grow cool climate fruit trees for backyard gardens.

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cool climate fruit tree

The best fruit trees for cold climates are deciduous trees that lose their leaves in fall and become dormant over winter.

The trees are able to withstand frost, snow and cold winter temperatures while the branches are bare.

After winter dormancy the trees flower in spring and produce fruit in summer.


Apple trees

Apple trees are one of the most popular cool climate fruit trees

If you have limited space in your backyard it’s best to plant a self-pollinating apple tree, then you’ll only need to plant one tree to get fruit.

There are a huge range of apple trees that are suitable for backyard gardens including granny smith and jonathan that are perfect for cooking.

Any apples that are bruised or blemished can be made into juice.

apple tree

Cherry trees

Another popular fruit tree for cold climates is the cherry tree.

Some cherry trees are self pollinators, while others will need another cherry tree close by to help with fertilization.

Cherries can spit during periods of high rainfall and they’re easily damaged by birds.

I recommend covering your cherry trees with bird proof netting so the birds don’t eat all the fruit before you get a chance to harvest it.

RELATED: How To Keep Birds Away From Fruit Trees

Fruit tree in container

Pear trees

Pear trees are less susceptible to pests and diseases than other fruit trees so they’re ideal for backyard gardens.

They can grow up to 40 feet (12 metres) tall so it’s best to choose a dwarf variety if you have a small backyard.

Pears are one of the first fruit trees to bloom which means they can be damaged by spring frosts while they’re in flower.

If you have a pear tree in a container you can move it undercover if there’s frost predicted or cover it with horticultural fleece.

pear tree


Apricot trees

Apricots are popular stone fruits that usually produce fruit in the fourth year of growth.

The trees produce an abundance of fruit but it’s a good idea to thin out the fruit to ensure that it doesn’t drop off before it’s ripe.

Similar to pear trees, apricot trees are frost resistant during the winter months but frost can damage the trees when they’re in flower.

apricot tree

Peach trees

There’s nothing like a homegrown juicy peach straight from the tree.

Peach trees grow best in slightly acidic soil and they prefer full sun.

Peaches grown in areas with heavy rainfall can be affected by a fungal disease called peach leaf curl so it’s a good idea to prune the trees back each year so that the sun can reach all of the branches.

peach tree

Nectarine trees

Nectarines are similar to peaches, without the fuzzy skin, and have mostly the same growing requirements.

It’s best to leave nectarines on the tree until they’re fully ripe for maximum flavor, but they can also be picked early and left to ripen off the tree.

nectarine tree

Plum trees

Plum trees can grow up to 16 feet (5 metres) tall but there are many dwarf varieties that are perfect for backyard gardens.

They’re fairly easy to care for but need protection from cold winds and late frosts.

Homegrown plums are ideal for making jams or adding to baking recipes.

plum tree

Tips for growing fruit trees in cool climates

Fruit trees can be grown from seeds or pits but you’ll have to be very patient because it can take 6 to 10 years for the tree to reach maturity and produce fruit.

The best time of year to plant new fruit trees is during winter or early spring when the trees are in their dormant state.

Most fruit trees grow best in a spot with all day sun, so plant your tree in the sunniest part of your garden. 

Morning sun will help to evaporate the dew on the leaves and reduce the likelihood of fungal diseases.

Make sure the area has plenty of air circulation and protection from strong winds. 

Self pollinating fruit trees will produce heavier crops if another fruit tree is close by.

Young fruit trees will need to be staked until they can support themselves.

Place a thick layer of mulch around the trees to retain moisture and keep the area free of weeds.

Water young fruit trees weekly until they become established. [1]

Fertilize your fruit trees in early spring but be careful not to over fertilize because you’ll get lots of foliage on the trees but very little fruit. 

Harvest the fruit as soon as it’s ripe and pick up any fruit that falls on the ground so it doesn’t attract pests.

Dwarf fruit trees that are planted in containers can be overwintered in a garage or indoors. You can also wheel them indoors if there’s a late season frost predicted.

fruit growing on trellis

So there are 7 fruit trees that are ideal for cool climates.

Choosing fruit trees that are suited to your climate means you’ll have healthy trees that produce an abundance of fresh fruit for your and your family.


Have you tried growing any of these cold climate fruit trees in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Growing Fruit and Garden Ideas that you may enjoy. You can also find me on Facebook.

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Iris Findlay

    I would love a cherry tree in my yard! I bet so many birds hang out in them and just feast when they start to bear fruit.

  2. Nicole Anderson

    I love all the fruits you have included in your list. I don’t exactly have a green thumb and tend to kill everything I try to grow, while the weeds appear to flourish, but at least this list shows what to choose to plant if living in a cooler climate. Patience is something I now need though given the length of time the trees can take to produce fruit, but it will be a great feeling once that happens!

  3. Kat

    Growing up, we had an orchard with plums, apples, cherries, pears and even a quince tree. My mother still has them all, plus two dwarf fruit trees rescued from someone who wanted to chuck them out. They all do very well in a climate which is warm in summer and snowy in winter.

  4. Lyosha

    Apple, cherry and plums are very poplar with my extended family in the gardens. They’re beautiful and the fruits are so delicious!

  5. Britt K

    Interesting. We love fresh nectarines in our house, but I’ve never considered growing them myself. Around here, when you talk fruit trees, everyone automatically thinks about apple trees. I think it would be nice to add something a little special and unique (in our area) to my yard. Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Stella

    Wow, I had no idea about apricots and nectarines. Cherry was my revelation when we came to live in the South Island in New Zealand, where it is quite cold and my friend advised us to plant a cherry tree in our garden. I always considered them a warm climate tree. But it blooms wonderfully!

  7. Erica (The Prepping Wife)

    I have been contemplating starting a fruit tree from seeds, just to give it a try and see what happens. A friend of mine has been growing a lemon tree in a pot, and keeps it in his garage during the winter so it doesn’t freeze. In the climate I live in, there are a pretty healthy number of apple trees all around. Peach trees surprise me as being a cold climate kind of fruit tree. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve always pictured peaches as needing lots of sun, kind of like oranges.

  8. Robert Alan Hayden

    Thanks. Lots here that I didn’t know, very good of you.

  9. Ziyad

    Is it possible to get small trees sent to Georgia by post?

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Ziyad, yes you can order bare rooted fruit trees online

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