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I think if we get a lot of input from everyone here, this could be a super valuable resource for figuring out which fruit trees and berries will grow best in your area.

You are in the right spot if you are in a Temperate climate hardiness zone 6.

If you think you are not in the right spot or you want to check your climate zone and hardiness zone for sure, click on the main thread to find out and get additional information Fruit Trees and Berries that Grow Best in Your Area Naturally and it will have a link to your specific climate zone and hardiness zone for you to post!

Familiar places in this area...

Boston, MA, USA


(source)

This list won't be perfect, as there are so many different factors that affect a fruit tree's growth, but it should be a good help by seeing which trees do well for others in a similar area who have had success with a particular variety. By growing trees that are already slightly adapted to your area, saving the seeds, and growing new fruit trees, you could help create many more new varieties that are very adapted to your specific area!

Hardiness zones are one important factor and show the average annual minimum temperature for a location. You can click on https://garden.org/nga/zipzone/index.php?zip=27822&q=find_zone&submit=Go+%3E to find your exact hardiness zone, and there are also links to lots of other good information.


(source)

Fruit tree nurseries usually list hardiness zones for their fruit trees, but I've often found they tend to exaggerate the growing zones and are often unreliable.

They often leave out one very important aspect... climate zones.

What is a climate zone you may ask?

A climate zone takes other important things into consideration, such as humidity and rainfall. There are many different subsets and climate zones, but I believe this website does a great job of simplifying it into a few main climate zones...

A) Tropical- hot and humid, average temperatures are greater than 64°F (18°C) year-round and there is more than 59 inches of precipitation each year

B) Dry- dry (not humid) and little precipitation

C) Temperate- warm and humid summers with thunderstorms and mild winters

D) Continental- warm to cool summers and very cold winters. In the winter, this zone can experience snowstorms, strong winds, and very cold temperatures—sometimes falling below -22°F (-30°C)!



If you live in the US, you should be able to tell your general climate zone based on the map below and the descriptions above of what it should be like there.

I couldn't find a great general map for Canada and other countries, but you should be able to generally tell from the descriptions above. If you want to find out your exact climate zone, you can check out a cool map here World Climate Zones to find your zone with links at the bottom of the page based on the color, that you can click on with detailed information of your climate zone.


(source)

This should be a huge help to others with that same climate and hardiness zone to help them decide what to plant!

If you could post your general location in your state or country with your reply, that would be an awesome help!

The trees should be able to grow well naturally without extensive disease or pest control.
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pollinator
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Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I’m in Midwestern MO, zone 6, 90 miles south of Kansas City. I remember a lot of zone 5 temperatures though. I’m expecting the zones to keep changing in both directions.

Best trees that grow naturally (I think you’re meaning low maintenance and not fighting the climate?):

Persimmon is native and drought resistant. Some years they have fall web worm problems, but they survive. Even my hybrid Nikita’s Gift does well here.
Montmorency cherry likes it here. Most years it produces a good crop with no care. Late frost is a problem sometimes.  One year out of 12, mine got wormy. The next year they were fine. I assume the predator population built up.
Keifer Pears thrive with no care.  I’ve had a lot of Fireblight with other varieties. There are a lot of old pear trees of different varieties that do fine. I think after they reach a certain size they can fight off the Fireblight.
Peach trees grow well here, but late frosts are a big problem. Now we have Japanese beetles, too. They ate the fruit and left the pits hanging.
We have two kinds of wild plums. They produce most years, but it’s hard to beat the animals to them. They make amazing plum butter.
European plums grow well but usually get frosted. The plum curculios ruin the rest.
Medlars haven’t required any care. I have not found the best way to use them. I have some in the freezer. Think I’ll try medlar butter.

Our weather fluctuates a lot. Fruit trees are difficult here.  Too wet then too dry in the same year. High winds. Late frosts.


Berries are much easier:


Blackberries are very productive most years. Sometimes need watering.
Black raspberries do great as long as they have afternoon shade.
Strawberries like it here. I always plant day neutral varieties in case of a late frost. I like Aromas.
We have native Missouri gooseberries. They thrive here but aren’t very productive. I have planted some other varieties. I think they’re going to be fine, but they’re only a year old.
Concord grape usually produces without care except pruning.
Mars Seedless grape does too, except something eats them a few days before they are ripe. Whatever it is leaves the skins. Squirrel?
Chokeberries like it here, but I don’t like their flavor.

 
pollinator
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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Southeastern BC, Canada, on a wide bench sitting elevation 1550 ft  — above the valley bottom that is maybe 70 ft lower.  I know that when using the USDA zone system, zone 6 is what people identify as most apt for our valley.  Zone 6 Temperate.  Sun with the occasional cloudy day in summer, a fair amount of cloud & snow in winter.  We get long mid-summer days with temps up to 35* C, and fairly brief winter cold snaps (down to about -15 overnight some years).

I’ve found that Bartlett and Anjou pears do well here, also some that I’d call “Bartlett offshoot” varieties (i.e., similar though not identical... ‘nameless’ varieties).  I have a friend who is growing Asian varieties, but I can’t give the names of these.  He’s also had success with some uncommon peach variety or other, but again I don’t know the variety’s name.

Very many apple varieties produce abundantly here, including Mackintosh, red and yellow Delicious, Spartans, transparents, various crabapples, and others.

Cherries of several varieties tend to fruit decently here.  But our experience with them (both older and young trees) has always been disappointing due to the inevitable and replete intrusion of “cherry worm” into ripening fruits… we’ve removed our cherry trees to make way for other plantings and space uses.

Raspberries of various varieties do well here.  They respond well to rich soil conditions; but to clarify, they don’t need very high nitrogen, but will produce more abundant and better fruit if ‘available phosphorous’ level is fairly high.  Loganberries, tayberries, and blackberries have also done well.  Strawberries also do well with similar soil conditions.

While a little trickier to establish, a wide variety of high-bush blueberries have done very well here — in high-organic-matter, acidic soil in which (for us) mycorrhizai have naturally established themselves under wood-shavings mulch.  You may find some experimentation is needed to eliminate trial varieties that, due to their immaturity, may not overwinter well in winter cold in their first few years after planting.  But checking with other local growers should reduce the amount of failure.

Thimbleberries and huckleberries grow wild in this area, so people who like native plants may want to check on these and other ones that could be located, transplanted, and naturalized in your gardens.

Northern grape varieties like Concord, Steuben and others do okay here when planted in slightly acidic soil and in a sunny location.  A sandy subsoil is fine for them, as long as they’re initially planted into a nurturing organic topsoil layer.  Planting (with southern exposure) against a wall can help with the warmth grapes like and for which zone 6 isn’t truly ideal.
 
garden master
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Ken W Wilson wrote:I’m in Midwestern MO, zone 6, 90 miles south of Kansas City. I remember a lot of zone 5 temperatures though. I’m expecting the zones to keep changing in both directions.

Best trees that grow naturally (I think you’re meaning low maintenance and not fighting the climate?):

Persimmon is native and drought resistant. Some years they have fall web worm problems, but they survive. Even my hybrid Nikita’s Gift does well here.
Montmorency cherry likes it here. Most years it produces a good crop with no care. Late frost is a problem sometimes.  One year out of 12, mine got wormy. The next year they were fine. I assume the predator population built up.
Keifer Pears thrive with no care.  I’ve had a lot of Fireblight with other varieties. There are a lot of old pear trees of different varieties that do fine. I think after they reach a certain size they can fight off the Fireblight.
Peach trees grow well here, but late frosts are a big problem. Now we have Japanese beetles, too. They ate the fruit and left the pits hanging.
We have two kinds of wild plums. They produce most years, but it’s hard to beat the animals to them. They make amazing plum butter.
European plums grow well but usually get frosted. The plum curculios ruin the rest.
Medlars haven’t required any care. I have not found the best way to use them. I have some in the freezer. Think I’ll try medlar butter.



Awesome list Ken! I grew the Kieffer pear but never developed a taste for it, although it was a vigorous grower and produced fruit quickly.

Berries are much easier:


Blackberries are very productive most years. Sometimes need watering.
Black raspberries do great as long as they have afternoon shade.
Strawberries like it here. I always plant day neutral varieties in case of a late frost. I like Aromas.
We have native Missouri gooseberries. They thrive here but aren’t very productive. I have planted some other varieties. I think they’re going to be fine, but they’re only a year old.
Concord grape usually produces without care except pruning.
Mars Seedless grape does too, except something eats them a few days before they are ripe. Whatever it is leaves the skins. Squirrel?
Chokeberries like it here, but I don’t like their flavor.



Berries have been easier for me too for the most part.

I think it may be birds with the grapes, I've seen them pecking on mine, and when I went over and looked up close, I saw a bunch of empty grape skins hanging from the vine!
 
Steve Thorn
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Joel Bercardin wrote:Southeastern BC, Canada, on a wide bench sitting elevation 1550 ft  — above the valley bottom that is maybe 70 ft lower.  I know that when using the USDA zone system, zone 6 is what people identify as most apt for our valley.  Zone 6 Temperate.  Sun with the occasional cloudy day in summer, a fair amount of cloud & snow in winter.  We get long mid-summer days with temps up to 35* C, and fairly brief winter cold snaps (down to about -15 overnight some years).

I’ve found that Bartlett and Anjou pears do well here, also some that I’d call “Bartlett offshoot” varieties (i.e., similar though not identical... ‘nameless’ varieties).  I have a friend who is growing Asian varieties, but I can’t give the names of these.  He’s also had success with some uncommon peach variety or other, but again I don’t know the variety’s name.



I want to try to grow Anjou pears soon!

Very many apple varieties produce abundantly here, including Mackintosh, red and yellow Delicious, Spartans, transparents, various crabapples, and others.

Cherries of several varieties tend to fruit decently here.  But our experience with them (both older and young trees) has always been disappointing due to the inevitable and replete intrusion of “cherry worm” into ripening fruits… we’ve removed our cherry trees to make way for other plantings and space uses.

Raspberries of various varieties do well here.  They respond well to rich soil conditions; but to clarify, they don’t need very high nitrogen, but will produce more abundant and better fruit if ‘available phosphorous’ level is fairly high.  Loganberries, tayberries, and blackberries have also done well.  Strawberries also do well with similar soil conditions.

While a little trickier to establish, a wide variety of high-bush blueberries have done very well here — in high-organic-matter, acidic soil in which (for us) mycorrhizai have naturally established themselves under wood-shavings mulch.  You may find some experimentation is needed to eliminate trial varieties that, due to their immaturity, may not overwinter well in winter cold in their first few years after planting.  But checking with other local growers should reduce the amount of failure.

Thimbleberries and huckleberries grow wild in this area, so people who like native plants may want to check on these and other ones that could be located, transplanted, and naturalized in your gardens.

Northern grape varieties like Concord, Steuben and others do okay here when planted in slightly acidic soil and in a sunny location.  A sandy subsoil is fine for them, as long as they’re initially planted into a nurturing organic topsoil layer.  Planting (with southern exposure) against a wall can help with the warmth grapes like and for which zone 6 isn’t truly ideal.



Great information Joel!

For the cherry trees, I saw somewhere recently where they hung bottles of apple cider vinegar in the trees as a trap for the cherry flies,  you may have already tried that though. I'm going to try it to hopefully get some sweet cherries this year!
 
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Stroudsburg/Poconos in eastern PA. Elevation from 800ft at the south end of the property to 960ft at the north. My soil is 50% rock give or take a bit.
Peach varieties all grow like weeds, but between late frost and various insects and other things, I rarely get any fruit. Apples do okay, but cedar apple rust blowing in from the adjacent property is a problem every year. I will be planting at another location on the property this year. Cherry has been disappointing so far, but the trees are still small, so the jury is still out. Persimmon are reliable and most years have a nice crop. Asian Pears are the run away winner every year. Zero issues and huge yields. Plums are only good for trapping the Japanese beetles away from the raspberry and peaches. I have a thriving nannyberry tree that usually holds it's fruit into mid Winter. Pin cherry trees are self seeding everywhere and have delicious tiny fruit. I would rank it as a novelty snack due to how long it takes to get a decent harvest. Black walnut and shagbark hickory do well most years
Muscadine grapes are native and do very well. Raspberry and blackberry do well.
 
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Location: Kentucky - Zone6
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Northern Kentucky

Goumi, planted 3 this summer, 2 thrived 1 is struggling (the 2 that thrive were planted next to a 1-2 year old comfrey plant)

M
 
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Chicago, Illinois between the lake and the ridge, silty black lakebed soil.


All sorts of berries grow gangbusters with no significant pest or disease:

black-cap raspberries extremely productive even in part shade.  These began as wild volunteers.
red currants also very high-yield
black currants good in shade, some aphid damage, though
blueberries dwarf bushes do OK with acid supplement
alpine strawberries not high-yield, but perenniel low-maintenance.

Tree fruits more problematic

sour cherry "northstar" gets a lot of fruit in shade, but poor quality due to plum curculio and fruit flies last 2 years.
American plum also suffers from curculio and aphids
apple had to be cut down due to fire blight
mulberry tree drops massive amounts of fruit, mostly leave this for the wildlife.  Keeps birds from bothering the better berries.

Concord-type grape produces a lot of fruit.  I spray neem and tend the vines, otherwise lose a lot to fungus and fruitflies.  Birds and raccoons take some.

Rhubarb high-yield with no problems.

Pawpaws expect first fruits this year (2019).

MK Neal

 
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Eastern PA, same county as Paul Lutz above (hi sort-of neighbor!) but I live a bit south of him on a shaded north-facing slope (lack of sunlight even in clear areas is a problem), 1100 ft elevation, very stony loam soil (though most of my growing area is well into the subsoil since it was carved out of the hill).  Koppen climate zone is Dfa, hardiness zone is right on the dividing line between 6a and 6b (even with the polar vortex this year, we haven't hit 6a temperatures in the 30+ years I've lived here).

Fruits & nuts that I've established (or my immediate neighbors have) and do well despite poor conditions: Peaches, apples, raspberries (native black, cultivated red, cultivated yellow), blackberries (native), black currants, gooseberries, elderberries, concord grape, black walnut.  Also strawberries (not a woody plant but still perennial berry) and rhubarb (not woody or even a fruit, technically).   Also, probably not what you have in mind, but garden huckleberry (Solanium scabrum, the ones that look like nightshade) has the potential to be a self-seeding annual like tomatoes; I've had volunteers for a few years now (I only include them because I'm thinking along the lines of low-maintenance/ perennial fruit, in addition to trees/ bushes/ vines).

Poor producers: apricot*, blueberry, wild rose and climbing rose (I was hoping for a better showing of hips, even if they're not big producers like Rugosa).  

Plants too young to produce, but looking healthy (most started from seed): jostaberry, cherry, paw paw, aronia, mulberry, goji, chestnut (not sure if Chinese, American, or a hybrid; the seeds came from an Amish farm 30ish miles north of me, purchased at a farmer's market), English walnut.  Also, in theory I should be able to keep jujubes, but I killed my first round of seedlings; trying them again this year.

Things I can buy from local orchards/ berry farms within 15 miles of my house, or have seen healthy specimens of: pears (Bosc, Bartlett, Seckle, Asian types), apples (including crab apples), cherries (tart and sweet, black, red, and golden, so all kinds basically), peaches, nectarines, plums (Asian & European varieties), apricot, mulberry, redbud (we're not in its natural range but I've seen them in ornamental landscaping), hawthorn; elderberry, blueberry, currants, gooseberries, cranberries, shadbush/ serviceberry; grapes (not sure of the varieties, there are a few vineyards around), hardy kiwi/ kiwiberry, passionflower; chestnut, walnut (English and Black), hickory nut.   Also, not necessarily food producers, but edible/ seasoning/ medicine producers: sumac, juniper, spicebush, linden.

*I think my tree is a dud, being 20 years old and producing a grand total of one fruit (which got eaten by bugs before maturing), but apricots are touchy all over the region--they bloom too early and there's nothing around to pollinate them some years, or a freeze kills the blossoms or very young fruit.
 
Ken W Wilson
pollinator
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I forgot to mention that the southern varieties of blackberry freeze back to the ground once in 5-10 years. The wild berries never do.
 
Steve Thorn
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Paul Lutz wrote:Stroudsburg/Poconos in eastern PA. Elevation from 800ft at the south end of the property to 960ft at the north. My soil is 50% rock give or take a bit.
Peach varieties all grow like weeds, but between late frost and various insects and other things, I rarely get any fruit. Apples do okay, but cedar apple rust blowing in from the adjacent property is a problem every year. I will be planting at another location on the property this year. Cherry has been disappointing so far, but the trees are still small, so the jury is still out. Persimmon are reliable and most years have a nice crop. Asian Pears are the run away winner every year. Zero issues and huge yields. Plums are only good for trapping the Japanese beetles away from the raspberry and peaches. I have a thriving nannyberry tree that usually holds it's fruit into mid Winter. Pin cherry trees are self seeding everywhere and have delicious tiny fruit. I would rank it as a novelty snack due to how long it takes to get a decent harvest. Black walnut and shagbark hickory do well most years
Muscadine grapes are native and do very well. Raspberry and blackberry do well.



Interesting info Paul!

I'm trying to reduce the pests on my fruit trees naturally too. Here's a thread discussing growing herbs underneath them to hopefully repel some of them. https://permies.com/t/106903/Herbs-fruit-trees-repel-pests I'm excited to see if it helps on my trees this year!
 
Steve Thorn
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Maarten Smet wrote:Northern Kentucky

Goumi, planted 3 this summer, 2 thrived 1 is struggling (the 2 that thrive were planted next to a 1-2 year old comfrey plant)



That's really interesting Maarten!

Gotta love polyculture!
 
Steve Thorn
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Mk Neal wrote:Chicago, Illinois between the lake and the ridge, silty black lakebed soil.


All sorts of berries grow gangbusters with no significant pest or disease:

black-cap raspberries extremely productive even in part shade.  These began as wild volunteers.
red currants also very high-yield
black currants good in shade, some aphid damage, though
blueberries dwarf bushes do OK with acid supplement
alpine strawberries not high-yield, but perenniel low-maintenance.

Tree fruits more problematic

sour cherry "northstar" gets a lot of fruit in shade, but poor quality due to plum curculio and fruit flies last 2 years.
American plum also suffers from curculio and aphids
apple had to be cut down due to fire blight
mulberry tree drops massive amounts of fruit, mostly leave this for the wildlife.  Keeps birds from bothering the better berries.

Concord-type grape produces a lot of fruit.  I spray neem and tend the vines, otherwise lose a lot to fungus and fruitflies.  Birds and raccoons take some.

Rhubarb high-yield with no problems.

Pawpaws expect first fruits this year (2019).

MK Neal



I'm hoping to see my first paw paw fruits this year too!
 
Steve Thorn
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S Tonin wrote:Eastern PA, same county as Paul Lutz above (hi sort-of neighbor!) but I live a bit south of him on a shaded north-facing slope (lack of sunlight even in clear areas is a problem), 1100 ft elevation, very stony loam soil (though most of my growing area is well into the subsoil since it was carved out of the hill).  Koppen climate zone is Dfa, hardiness zone is right on the dividing line between 6a and 6b (even with the polar vortex this year, we haven't hit 6a temperatures in the 30+ years I've lived here).

Fruits & nuts that I've established (or my immediate neighbors have) and do well despite poor conditions: Peaches, apples, raspberries (native black, cultivated red, cultivated yellow), blackberries (native), black currants, gooseberries, elderberries, concord grape, black walnut.  Also strawberries (not a woody plant but still perennial berry) and rhubarb (not woody or even a fruit, technically).   Also, probably not what you have in mind, but garden huckleberry (Solanium scabrum, the ones that look like nightshade) has the potential to be a self-seeding annual like tomatoes; I've had volunteers for a few years now (I only include them because I'm thinking along the lines of low-maintenance/ perennial fruit, in addition to trees/ bushes/ vines).



Great information!

Poor producers: apricot*, blueberry, wild rose and climbing rose (I was hoping for a better showing of hips, even if they're not big producers like Rugosa).



I wander if the blueberries struggle because of the north facing slope?

Plants too young to produce, but looking healthy (most started from seed): jostaberry, cherry, paw paw, aronia, mulberry, goji, chestnut (not sure if Chinese, American, or a hybrid; the seeds came from an Amish farm 30ish miles north of me, purchased at a farmer's market), English walnut.  Also, in theory I should be able to keep jujubes, but I killed my first round of seedlings; trying them again this year.



I think it's so cool you're growing these from seed!

Things I can buy from local orchards/ berry farms within 15 miles of my house, or have seen healthy specimens of: pears (Bosc, Bartlett, Seckle, Asian types), apples (including crab apples), cherries (tart and sweet, black, red, and golden, so all kinds basically), peaches, nectarines, plums (Asian & European varieties), apricot, mulberry, redbud (we're not in its natural range but I've seen them in ornamental landscaping), hawthorn; elderberry, blueberry, currants, gooseberries, cranberries, shadbush/ serviceberry; grapes (not sure of the varieties, there are a few vineyards around), hardy kiwi/ kiwiberry, passionflower; chestnut, walnut (English and Black), hickory nut.   Also, not necessarily food producers, but edible/ seasoning/ medicine producers: sumac, juniper, spicebush, linden.

*I think my tree is a dud, being 20 years old and producing a grand total of one fruit (which got eaten by bugs before maturing), but apricots are touchy all over the region--they bloom too early and there's nothing around to pollinate them some years, or a freeze kills the blossoms or very young fruit.



Neat info!
 
S Tonin
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Steve Thorn wrote:

Poor producers: apricot*, blueberry, wild rose and climbing rose (I was hoping for a better showing of hips, even if they're not big producers like Rugosa).



I wander if the blueberries struggle because of the north facing slope?



That's actually all on me.  Years ago the bush got shaded out by a pussy willow and never really grew more even after the willow was cut down.  And I let a grape vine grow over it.  And deer like to nibble at it (though the grape vine actually helps discourage that).  I still get a few clusters of berries every year, but the harvest is only like one cup.  When the bush was young (like 15 years ago), before it got shaded out, I'd get at least a quart.  

We also have some kind of wild blueberry in the woods growing in dappled shade.  Self-seeded, probably from birds/ bear/ deer; the plants are only maybe 3 years old (I don't remember seeing them before 2016).  Last year they had a few very small berries, so I hold out hope that they might produce more as they mature.
 
Steve Thorn
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S Tonin wrote:We also have some kind of wild blueberry in the woods growing in dappled shade.  Self-seeded, probably from birds/ bear/ deer; the plants are only maybe 3 years old (I don't remember seeing them before 2016).  Last year they had a few very small berries, so I hold out hope that they might produce more as they mature.



That's really neat!
 
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