With winter lows of 0-10 degrees F. (-18 to -12 C.), zone 7 gardens have many options of edibles to grow in the garden. We often think of garden edibles as only fruits and vegetable plants, and overlook the fact that some of our beautiful shade trees also produce nutritious nuts that we could be harvesting. For example, acorns were once a staple food for many Native American tribes. While most recipes these days don’t call for acorns, there are many other edible nut trees that we can add to the landscape. This article will discuss what nut trees grow in zone 7.
About Zone 7 Nut Trees
The hardest thing about growing nuts in zone 7, or anywhere, is having patience. Different kinds of nut trees can take several years to mature enough to bear nuts. Many nut trees also require a pollinator to produce fruit. So while you may have a hazelnut tree or pecan tree in your yard, it may never produce nuts if there isn’t a compatible pollinator nearby.
Before purchasing and planting zone 7 nut trees, do your homework so you can select the best trees for your specific needs. If you plan to sell your home and move in the next 5-10 years, it won’t do you much good to plant a nut tree that can’t produce nuts for 20 years. If you have a small urban yard, you may not have the room to add two large nut trees, as required for pollination.
Choosing Nut Trees For Zone 7 Climates
Below are common nut trees for zone 7, as well as their pollinator needs, time until maturity and some popular varieties.
Almond – Many self-pollinating varieties are available. Almonds can be shrubs or trees and usually only take 3-4 years before they produce nuts. Popular varieties include: All-In-One and Hall’s Hardy.
Chestnut – Pollinator is required. Chestnuts mature enough to produce nuts in 3-5 years. They also make lovely shade trees. Popular varieties include: Auburn Homestead, Colossal, and Eaton.
Hazelnut/Filbert – Most varieties require a pollinator. Hazelnut/Filberts can be a large shrub or tree, depending on variety. They may take 7-10 years to produce fruit. Popular varieties include: Barcelona, Casina, and Royal Filbert.
Heartnut – Heartnut is a Japanese White walnut that produces nuts that are heart shaped. It requires a pollinator and matures in 3-5 years.
Hickory – Requires a pollinator and 8-10 years until maturity. Hickory makes an excellent shade tree with attractive bark. Missouri Mammoth is a popular variety.
Pecan – Most require a pollinator and 10-20 years until maturity. Pecan also doubles as a large shade tree in zone 7 landscapes. Popular varieties include: Colby, Desirable, Kanza, and Lakota.
Pine Nut – Not commonly thought of as a nut tree, but over twenty different species of Pinus produce edible pine nuts. Popular zone 7 varieties for nuts include Korean Nut and Italian Stone pine.
Walnut – Requires a pollinator. Walnut trees also make nice shade trees. They mature in 4-7 years. Popular varieties include: Champion, Burbank, Thomas, and Carpathian.
As stated above, these are common zone 7 nut trees. Those gardeners who like a challenge may also like to try growing pistachios in zone 7. Some nut growers have had success growing zone 7 pistachio trees by just giving them some extra protection.