16 Hardy Fruit Trees for Zone 2 (2a and 2b)

Siberian crabapple

Zone 2 is one of the coldest USDA plant hardiness zones, with an average minimum temperature of -50 to -40°F in the winter. It covers most of Alaska, as well as parts of Wyoming, Minnesota, and other northern states.

When choosing fruit trees for zone 2, you want to choose extremely cold-hardy varieties while considering their chill requirements. Some varieties of apples, plums, cherries, and apricots are popular fruit plants in zones 2a and 2b.

Fruit Trees to Grow in Zone 2

The rule of thumb is to choose cold hardy fruit trees that can withstand -50°F. Plant them in Spring after the last frost, choosing a spot with full sun and well-drained soil. Mulching around the base of the rootstock is also recommended to protect the roots.

Here are the best fruit trees for USDA Zone 2:

1. Siberian Crabapple (Malus baccata)

Siberian crabapple

The Siberian crabapple is a fairly small tree native to Siberia but grows well in North America and parts of Europe. It is considered the hardiest variety of apples well suited for USDA zone 2.

It blooms in the spring, producing red, pink, or white flowers. Fruits are yellow with a reddish blush.

Botanical nameMalus baccata
USDA zonesZone 2
Size15 – 25 feet tall; 15 feet wide.
Spacing30 feet

This tree prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Plant it in a spot that receives full sun. We also recommend it for landscaping plans, as it is a fast grower and can help in windbreaks.

2. Brookgold plum (Prunus salicina ‘Brookgold’)

The Brookgold plum is a cold hardy species recommended for Zones 2 and 3. It yields large golden yellow fruits known for their sweet, yellow flesh and delicate skin. The fruit is medium-sized and has a round shape.

Brookgold plums are typically harvested in the late summer or early fall. This means it blooms in early spring, so it is recommended to plant it with other plum varieties that flower around the same time.

The Brookgold plum

Toka and Sapalta plum varieties are great companion plants for the Brookgold plums.

Botanical namePrunus salicina ‘Brookgold’
USDA zonesZone 2 and 3
Size10 -15  feet tall; 15 feet spread.
Spacing14 feet
Fruit sizeMedium
HarvestAugust

The Brookgold plum is a fast-growing fruit tree but stays relatively small. Plant it in a sunny spot with well-drained soil for the best chances of survival and better yield.

3. Battleford Apple (Malus ‘Battleford’)

The Battleford apple tree is a very hardy variety that grows and thrives in USDA zone 2a. It is believed to have originated in Russia in 1934 though it is quite a popular tree in the cold temperatures of Canada.

It will tolerate the extreme cold in the northernmost parts of the United States and Canada. You’ll find it growing in parts of Alaska, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

Botanical nameMalus ‘Battleford’
USDA zonesZone 2a
Size20 feet tall; 20 feet wide.
Spacing30 feet
Fruit sizeMedium
HarvestLate August
Battleford apple grows well in USDA zone 2

Although it is a hardy fruit tree, the Battleford apple will do better planted in a wind-sheltered location on the farm. It also requires another apple tree nearby for cross-pollination.

This tree is quite susceptible to bud moths but does well to resist fire blight.

For successful development and bountiful harvest, plant the Battleford apple in a sunny location. It prefers sandy loam soil, but not strictly. It can also thrive in various soil conditions, provided it is well-cared for.

4. Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)

There are close to 30 varieties of Serviceberry, all native to North America, but the Saskatoon variety is one of the most cold-hardy fruit trees for USDA Zone 2 and Zone 1.

The shrub or tree of a serviceberry fruit is small and slow-growing, producing flowers in the spring and ripe purple or bluish fruit in the summer.

Serviceberry

The berries are sweet with a hint of almond within the seeds.

Also known as Saskatoon or Juneberries, serviceberries can grow up to 13 feet tall and up to 8 feet wide and are hardy and suitable for zones 2a and 2b. You can grow them as trees or multi-trunk shrubs in home landscapes.

The tree begins to flower in early spring, producing attractive white flowers. In the fall, the foliage turns orange.

I recommend growing shadbush in full sun for the best yield. It will thrive well in a wide variety of well-drained soil and areas with drought. However, the fruit yield may not be the best in partial or full shade.

The tree is also known as Juneberry, shadbush, and sugarplum. It is self-fertile, so it does not need companion planting.

Botanical nameAmelanchier sanguinea var. alnifolia
USDA zonesZone 1 and 2
Size13 feet tall; 8 feet wide.
Spacing16 feet
HarvestJuly and August

5. Chokecherry ‘Canada Red Select’

Prunus virginiana, also known as chokecherry, is native to North America and can be found from Newfoundland to Saskatchewan and south to North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kansas. 

The Canada Red Select variety of chokecherries is a hardy deciduous fruit tree with dark to reddish-purple foliage. When grown in well-drained soil, it reaches a height of about 20 feet with a spread of about 15 feet wide.

Although it is a high-maintenance tree for Zone 2, this tree is highly reliable and will yield fruit even when grown in dry conditions, provided it receives full sun.

It will flower in the spring, producing white flowers that will later give way to fruit that bears in clusters of reddish cherries.

Botanical namePrunus virginiana ‘Schubert’
USDA zonesZone 2 to 7
Size20 – 30 feet tall; 15-20 feet wide.
Spacingfeet
Fruit size1/3″ diameter

Chokecherries have an astringent taste from which the tree derives its name.

6. Manchurian Apricot (Prunus mandshurica)

Manchurian Apricot

The Manchurian apricot is by far the most cold-hardy species out there. Although commonly grown as an ornamental tree, it is often planted in orchards as a pollinator for other apricot cultivars.

When grown in full sun, the Manchurian apricot can tolerate the cold winters of USDA hardiness zones 2 and 3. In fact, the two Minnesota apricot varieties, Moongold and Sungold, are hardy due to their breeding with the Manchurian apricot.[1]

The crossing was specifically targeting improved frost resistance.

Botanical namePrunus mandshurica
USDA zonesZone 2 to 7
Size15 to 20 feet tall with equal spread
Bloom timeMarch to April
Fruit size1.1 – 1.5 inches diameter

7. Silver Buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea)

The silver buffaloberry is a deciduous shrub first collected in 1804 by Meriwether Lewis for examination. ‘Silver’ in its name alludes to the color of its foliage and stems that make it unique, especially after bearing the red berries that contrast with the rest of the parts.

Native to western Canada and the western united states, the silver buffaloberry prefers zone 3 to 9 but can tolerate frost in growing zone 2.

Silver Buffaloberry

It is a low-maintenance shrub with great tolerance for drought, floods, dry soils.

The shrub requires male and female plants to produce fruit and seed.

Botanical nameShepherdia argentea
USDA zonesZone 2 to 9
Size8-12 feet tall; 8-12 feet wide.
Spacing4-6 feet
Bloom timeMarch

The silver buffaloberry is “primarily distributed in the prairies and southern parklands of the Prairie Provinces of Canada and south to California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, with small populations in western Minnesota and Northwestern Iowa.”[2]

8. Skunkbush Sumac (Rhus trilobata)

The skunkbush is a low-spreading perennial fruit shrub growing to a maximum of 8 feet tall. Its growth pattern depends on the region, with those in the North visibly shorter than varieties grown in the Southwest.

Skunkbush prefers USDA zone 3 but can tolerate the extreme cold winters in zone 2b. It well adapted to a variety of soils and can be planted in landscapes as a windbreaking aid.

Botanical name(Rhus trilobata)
USDA zonesZone 3; tolerates zone 2
Size2-8 feet tall; 2-8 feet wide.
Fruit size6mm diameter
HarvestAugust to October
Skunkbush sumac

This plant is native to Saskatchewan and Alberta in the north, south to Texas, and southwest to eastern Oregon, California, and Mexico. It grows shorter in the southern part of its range. R. trilobata is similar to R. aromatica, but its leaves are duller, and its fruit is less hairy.[3]

9. Norland apple

The Norland apple is a cold-hardy apple variety that originated in Saskatchewan, Canada. The tree thrives in plant hardiness zones 2 and 3, making it an ideal choice for those in northern regions with extreme winter cold.

For an early harvest, the Norland apple is also the ideal fruit tree for USDA Zone 2. It is a fairly small tree, growing to about 20 feet tall and producing round, sweet or sweet-tart apples with a crisp texture.

Norland apple

Plant the Norland apple in well-drained soil and full sun for successful growth and harvest. As it matures, it will produce showy, light-scented flowers with pink overtones in the spring.

You can grow the Norland apple in an edible landscape or orchard, but ensure you plant it in a designated area as it grows quite big and spreads wide.

Botanical nameMalus ‘Norland’
USDA zonesZone 2a
Size20 feet tall; 20 feet wide.
Sun requirementsFull sun

10. Showy Mountain Ash (Sorbus decora)

The showy mountain ash fruit tree, native to Northeastern North America, is a deciduous tree that thrives well in cool mountain climates. It can withstand the frigid winters in USDA zones 2 to 6, making it ideal for those in parts of Alaska and similar regions.

This species is indigenous to Labrador and Newfoundland, Quebec, south to Iowa, New York, and Maine. Some trees are sparsely distributed further south in the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina.

Showy mountain ash

It grows to about 30 feet tall, producing white flowers in the spring that yield edible red fruit in the fall.

Botanical name(Sorbus decora)
USDA zonesZone 2 to 6
Size20-30 feet tall; 15-20 feet spread
BloomsWhite
Fruit size3/8” diameter
HarvestFall

Grower’s note: The Showy Mountain Ash tree does not like drought, so ensure you provide enough moisture to facilitate growth. Full sun is also required.

11. Fall Red apple

The Fall Red Apple is a great tree for USDA zone 2b. It has a low canopy that spreads about 12 feet wide, so you want to give it ample space when planting.

In good growing conditions, the Fall Red Apple tree can live for as long as 50 years.

  • Botanical name: Malus pumila ‘Fall Red’
  • USDA zones: 2b
  • Size: 15 feet tall
  • Spread: 12 feet

The Red Fall is a deciduous tree that produces large, ruby-red apples with white flesh. The apples are ready for picking in late summer or early fall, and have a sweet taste and crisp texture.

Grow another apple variety nearby to facilitate pollination and ensure the tree bears a set of delicious apples.

12. Black Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii)

The black hawthorn is also called the Douglas hawthorn, western thornapple, or river hawthorn. It is most commonly found in the Pacific Northwest, from southeastern Alaska to northern California. It can also be found inland in northern Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, western Montana, and Idaho.[4]

  • Botanical name: Crataegus douglasii
  • USDA zones: 2b to 9, preferably 3 to 9
  • Size: 10-25 feet tall
  • Spread: 10-25 feet
Black Hawthorn

The tree/shrub is adaptable to different soil types and pH conditions and requires moderate maintenance. It tolerates drought quite well, so you can grow it in hedges and screens in areas that experience drought in USDA climate Zone 2 all the way to 9.

13. Norkent apple (Malus sp. ‘Norkent’)

The Norkent apple tree is a hybrid of the Haralson and Rescue varieties. It was developed in Wisconsin in the early 1990s and is now grown commercially in many parts of the United States.

It is arguably one of the tastiest and hardiest apples today. Being a vigorous grower, it yields large, sweet apples characteristically red and yellow in color.

The Norkent apple tree is also preferred in cold regions owing to its improved resistance to most apple diseases.

Here are some of the characteristics of the Norkent apple tree:

  • Origin: Wisconsin, United States
  • Parentage: Honeycrisp x Gala
  • Vigorous grower
  • Large, sweet apples
  • Red and yellow in color
  • USDA hardiness zone 2

Norkent apples ripen in late summer but require another apple tree nearby for cross-pollination.

14. Parkland apple

The Parkland apple is an extremely hardy fruit tree suitable for USDA Zone 2a. It requires full sun to grow to its mature height of 23 feet in about 4 years and bear fruit that can be harvested in mid to late August.

  • Botanical name: Malus sp. Parkland
  • USDA zones: 2b to 9, preferably 3 to 9
  • Size: 23 feet tall
  • Fruit size: 6-7cm
  • Spacing: 30 feet

The fruits of the Parkland apple are medium, measuring about 7cm in diameter. The skin is primarily yellowish-green with a bluish-red covering.

This fruit tastes better when grown in colder regions, so keeping it within its recommended climate zones is best.

15. Prairie sensation apple

The Prairie Sensation is a 2008 product of the University of Saskatchewan. It is loved for its tolerance to Zone 2 frost and for producing large fruits (at least 2.5 inches in diameter).

Despite the leggy stature of the prairie sensation, the tree yields well, producing ripe fruit in mid to late September.

Botanical nameMalus ‘Prairie Sensation’
USDA zonesZone 2
Size18 feet tall; 15 feet wide.
SunFull sun
Fruit size2.5 – 3.5 inches
HarvestMid-September

Prairie Sensation is a sweet-tart apple with honey and citrus notes. It’s crisp, juicy, and good for eating fresh, cooking, or baking.

Growing to approximately 18 feet tall, this fruit tree requires well-drained soil and a spot receiving full sun to thrive.

Author note: The prairie sensation apple tree is sterile, meaning it requires another apple tree nearby for pollination.

16. Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)

The Golden Currant is a winter deciduous shrub growing about 6-10 feet tall and 5-10 feet wide. It is deer resistant and can tolerate zone 2 and 3. It is a self-fertile plant, so you don’t have to companion plant in order to bear fruit.

Reaching maturity at 3 years, the golden currant produces yellow blooms in spring, with the fruit ripening in mid-summer.

Botanical name(Ribes aureum)
USDA zonesZone 2b and 3
Size6-10 feet tall; 5-10 feet wide.
HarvestMid-summer

Conclusion

Extremely cold temperatures coupled with drought and unrelenting winds in the plains make for difficult conditions to grow fruit trees in this zone. While we recommend hardy trees, you won’t find many fruit trees to grow in this region.

The best fruit trees for USDA Zone 2 include the Siberian Crabapple, Serviceberry, Norland apple, Silver Buffaloberry, Manchurian Apricot, and the Chokecherry variety called the Canada Red Select.

These trees are all cold-hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -50 degrees Fahrenheit. They also produce delicious fruit that can be enjoyed fresh or made into preserves.

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