How to Grow Fruit Trees in Minnesota


Growing fruit trees can be a challenge in Minnesota. The state is located within the USDA hardiness zones 2 through 4. In winter, Minnesota can experience overnight temperatures as low as -40 degrees. With these types of conditions, warm-season and early flowering varieties of fruit trees such as peaches and apricots will not survive harsh winter conditions. The secret to growing fruit trees in Minnesota is to select hearty trees or grow dwarf varieties that you can protect against cold winter weather.

Step 1

Select fruit trees that are hearty for Minnesota. Varieties of fruit that will thrive in cold Minnesota winters include apple and pear trees. Most stone fruit trees will not survive the winter. A few European hybrids, such as tart cherries and hybrid plums will grow in Minnesota.

Step 2

Purchase dormant, bare-root varieties for early spring planting. Plant bare-root trees as soon as the ground can be worked, before the plants come out of their dormancy.

Step 3

Select a location that receives full sun for at least six hours daily.

Step 4

Open a planting hole in the ground large enough that roots can be fully spread out. Do not make the planting pocket any deeper than the soil line where the tree was originally planted. Place the root ball in the hole and cover with soil. Tap the ground to dislodge any air pockets.

Step 5

Water immediately. Make sure that the tree receives between one to two inches of water weekly, either from rain or from manual watering.

Step 6

Mulch around the root line after planting. Do not mound up mulch around the trunk of the tree.

Step 7

Prune away any dead, diseased or broken branches. Remove branches that cross, rub or grow inward.

Things You'll Need

  • Fruit trees
  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Organic mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Stone Fruits in Minnesota Home Gardens
  • KSU: Are there any cherry trees, besides the Prunus variety, that will grow well and produce edible cherries in northern Minnesota?
  • University of Minnesota Extension:Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Minnesota Trees
Keywords: planting fruit trees, growing midwestern fruit trees, growing fruit trees in minnesota

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."