Not every fruit grows well in every climate. When you are putting in a home orchard in New England, you’ll have to select appropriate fruit trees for the Northeast. Apples top the list of the best New England fruit trees, but that’s not your only choice.
If you are interested in learning more about growing fruit trees in New England, read on. We’ll give you advice about how to select fruit trees that will thrive in your region.
Northeastern Fruit Trees
The Northeast region of the country is known for its cold winters and relatively short growing season. Not every type of fruit tree will thrive in this climate.
Anyone selecting fruit trees in New England needs to take the tree’s cold hardiness into account. For example, zones in the state of Maine range from USDA Zone 3 to Zone 6. While most tree fruits can survive in Zones 5 and 6, Zones 3 and 4 are generally too cold for peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, Asian plums and European plums.
New England Fruit Trees
Let’s talk apples first, since they grow in all states. Apples are a great pick for northeastern fruit trees since they are among the hardiest, but they are not all equally hardy. Homeowners in New England need to select a cultivar that thrives in their zone and one with a growing season that matches their own. If you buy from a local nursery, you are likely to find cultivars adapted to your area.
A few of the hardiest cultivars include Honeycrisp, Honeygold, Northern Spy, Empire, Gold and Red Delicious, Liberty, Red Rome and Spartan. If you’d like an heirloom cultivar, look to Cox Orange Pippin, Gravenstein or Wealthy.
Other Fruit Trees for the Northeast
Pears are another good choice when you are looking for fruit trees for the Northeast. Go for European pears (with the classic pear shape) over Asian pears since they have more winter hardiness. A few hardy varieties include Flemish Beauty, Luscious, Patten and Seckel, particularly recommended because of its resistance to fire blight.
Hybrid fruits have been developed especially for their cold hardiness and may make good New England fruit trees. American hybrid plums (like Alderman, Superior and Waneta) are hardier than European or Japanese plums.
Consider cultivars Empress and Shropshire since they are late bloomers and won’t be killed off by late spring frosts. One of the hardiest of the European plums, Mount Royal, came from Quebec in the early 1900s. The hardiest American hybrids include Alderman, Superior, and Waneta.
Gardening tips, videos, info and more delivered right to your inbox!
Sign up for the Gardening Know How newsletter today and receive a free download of our most popular eBook "How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes."
Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.