Stone fruits for cooler climates

Mon. Sep. 10, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Stone fruits for cooler climates

The plums in zone 4b have been abundant this year!  A friend of mine was handing out bagfuls last weekend to any takers….  including the dogs!

bag o plums

Plums are one of the hardiest stone fruits for cooler climates but that doesn’t mean we can’t grow apricots and peaches in zone 4, you just have to plant the appropriate cultivar!  The University of MN Extension has a ton of information on Growing Stone Fruits in the Home Garden.  Some info from Wisconsin Education regarding their research!

Apricot ‘Moongold’ photo by Gertens

Some facts to get your stone fruits to produce in cooler climates:

  •  They need full sun to produce the most fruit
  • Space your trees about 12 to 20 feet apart
  • You do need two different, compatible cultivated varieties to ensure fruit
  • Prune them annually to keep an open, healthy canopy

Don’t expect fruit right away.  It will take 2 to 5 years after planting 1 or 2 year old trees.  All stone fruits bloom very early in the Spring.  Some years flowers are damaged by freezing temperatures.

A couple of cultivars for Apricots include ‘Moongold’ and ‘Sungold’. These links will give you more information.  I ALWAYS urge you to buy locally grown if at all possible.  Especially these types of trees due to their more delicate nature.

Photo by U of MN Ext.

What about peaches?  The U of MN recommends these 3 cultivars.  ‘Reliance’, ‘Contender’, and ‘Intrepid’.  However, they are quick to add that hardiness zone is 4b and warmer….  You may have a microclimate in your landscape that makes a difference!

Peach ‘Contender’ photo from Bread and Roses Nursery

Gerten’s is a nursery in Inver Grove Heights, MN.  I’m linking you to their pages on fruit trees so you can peruse them.  This isn’t an endorsement but I like the way they’ve laid out the page to see what CAN be grown in cooler climates.