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)!
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.
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.
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.
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.