Zone 4 Cherry Trees: Choosing And Growing Cherries In Cold Climates

zone 4 cherry
zone 4 cherry
(Image credit: adibilio)

Everybody loves cherry trees, with their frothy ballerina blossoms in spring followed by red, luscious fruit. However, gardeners in cooler climates might doubt that they can successfully grow cherries. Do hardy cherry tree varieties exist? Are there cherry trees that grow in zone 4? Read on for tips on growing cherries in cold climates.

Growing Zone 4 Cherry Trees

The best and most prolific fruit-growing regions in the country offer at least 150 frost-free days to allow the fruit to mature, and a USDA hardiness zone of 5 or above. Obviously, zone 4 gardeners can’t provide those optimal growing conditions. In zone 4, winter temperatures dip to 30 degrees below zero (-34 C.). Climates that get very cold in the winter—like those in USDA zone 4—also have shorter growing seasons for fruit crops. This makes growing cherries in cold climates particularly challenging. The first, best step toward successfully raising fruit in this cold-winter region of the country is finding cherry trees hardy to zone 4. Once you start looking, you’ll find more than one hardy cherry tree varieties. Here are a couple of tips for those growing cherries in cold climates: Plant zone 4 cherry trees on south-facing slopes in full sun and wind-protected locations. Be sure your soil offers excellent drainage. Like other fruit trees, cherry trees hardy to zone 4 will not grow in soggy soil.

Hardy Cherry Tree Varieties

Start your search for cherry trees that grow in zone 4 by reading the tags on the plants at your local garden store. Most fruit trees sold in commerce identify the plants’ hardiness by specifying the zones they grow in. One to look for is Rainier, a semi-dwarf cherry tree that grows to 25 feet (8 m.) high. It qualifies for the category “zone 4 cherry trees” since it thrives in USDA zones 4 through 8. The sweet, juicy cherries mature in late July. If you prefer sour to sweet cherries, Early Richmond is one of the most prolific tart cherry producers among zone 4 cherry trees. The abundant crop – mature a full week before other tart cherries—is gorgeous and great for pies and jams. “Sweet Cherry Pie” is another of the cherry trees hardy to zone 4. Here’s a small tree you can be sure will survive zone 4 winters because it even thrives in zone 3. When you are looking for cherry trees that grow in cold climates, “Sweet Cherry Pie” belongs on the short-list.

Teo Spengler

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.