Zone 3 Fruit Trees?

by Karen
(Prince George, BC)

Prunus cerasifera (cherry plum) -- photo from Wikipedia

Prunus cerasifera (cherry plum) -- photo from Wikipedia

Prunus cerasifera (cherry plum) -- photo from Wikipedia
Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) -- photo from Wikipedia

Question:I live in a Zone 3. I am wanting to grow some fruit trees. Which would be my best choices?

For those of you who aren't familiar with planting zones, USDA Zone 3 has minimum temperatures that reach an average of -30 to -40 degrees F (-34.5 to -39.9 C). These conditions are found in the far northern hemisphere and the tip of South America. (for a nice visual representation of Zone 3's distribution, look at zones 4 and 5 on the Aden Earth Map, which labels the zones differently than the USDA does.

Amazingly, there are many fruit trees that will grow in Zone 3, including varieties of cherries, pears, apricots, apples, and plums. The crabapple will grow in Zone 3 (the "Chestnut Crab" variety is supposed to be sweeter than most), as will the chokecherry (Prunus virginiana).

The critical time for setting fruit is during blooming. If the temperature drops below freezing then (usually these plants bloom in mid-summer) the tree will drop its flowers and you won't get any fruit. So it's important to watch the thermometer then.

(if you need ideas about protecting plants from frost, take a look here)

Let's take a look at some specific varieties for in-ground planting:

Apples: Lodi, Honeycrisp, Goodland, Oriole, Fall Red, Mantet, Red Baron, Early Harvest, State Fair, Beacon, Sweet Sixteen, Haralson, Red Haralson, Fireside, Norkent, and Keepsake.

Pears: Ure (plant the Siberian pear nearby to cross-pollinate for good fruiting), Cabot, Clark

Plums: cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera -- very ornamental, make sure you get a fruiting variety), Black Ice, La Crescent, Superior

Apricots: Manchurian apricot (Prunus armeniaca var. mandshurica, also called the scout apricot. "Adirondack Gold" is supposed to be a sweeter variety)

Cherries: Mesabi, Nanking, Meteor, Evans, Carmine Jewel (this is a dwarf cherry developed by the University of Saskatchewan)

More information:

St. Lawrence Nurseries has a LOT of information on their site about growing fruit trees in extremely cold climates, plus information on many more fruit tree varieties you can investigate further.

This article on cold climate fruit trees has good tips on placing your fruit tree as well as other variety suggestions

Another great resource can be found in your local extension office. Usually this is found in association with your county, province, or local major university with an agricultural program. These organizations have a wealth of information as to local conditions, varieties proven to do well in your area, and advice about timing of planting and pest control (if needed).

Of course, you can always plant dwarf trees in containers and bring them inside when the temperature drops below freezing. This way you can plant anything you like!

I hope this answers your question. If you have more questions about Zone 3 fruit trees please ask by replying to this post. If you have a question about something else, please click the link below to go to the form for adding a new question. Thanks!

Comments for Zone 3 Fruit Trees?

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Mar 25, 2015
Fruit Trees in zone 3-4
by: Roxanne

Hello, I am so glad to have found your site.
I have a question about the trees you have listed. Are any of them GMO free? Which are Hybrids?

Hi, Roxanne --

As far as I know there are no GMO fruit trees. You can find information on which of the several dozen trees I've listed are hybrids by searching on Google for the particular ones you're interested in.

If instead, you'd like me to do plant research for you, I'd be happy to. Click here to order. :)

Mar 15, 2017
Bush Cherry
by: Anonymous

The Carmine Jewel bush cherry was not developed by Gurney it was developed by the University of Saskatchewan. They also have a number of other interesting cold hardy fruit trees worth looking into!

Thanks for your input! I've updated the original post. Here is the history of sour cherry tree development if you're interested.

Jan 17, 2018
Re: Fruit Trees for ZONE 3
by: Ashana

You could also use as a resource. It's probably too far to travel to buy trees since you're over the mountains, but it should offer good ideas of what might work for you and what's available at a local nursery.

They offer a good variety of trees and fruit bearing shrubs that can withstand our Canadian winters.

We bought our 5000 Northline saskatoon trees from them (which are excellent!) and are going back this summer to buy shelterbelt trees.

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