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Growing fruit trees beyond their hardiness zones

I've got some multi-graft fruit trees ordered for the spring. Being multi-grafts, I have some insurance that most likely at least one variety will do okay in my cold climate. But I also have an increased risk that one or more won't do so well.

My area was only pushed in to the USDA hardiness zone 5 within the past two decades (used to be zone 4) so it always seems like planting zone 5 plants can be a gamble.

Any suggestions on how best to shelter new fruit trees?

So far my only thoughts are to lay down a good straw mulch over the roots for the winter, but then again, what if that just houses rodents that kill the trees anyway?
Jam Lady

Mulch should never be pushed into contact with the trunk of trees. Not only mice but also rot issues. And rabbits will not be deterred by mulch. Chicken wire cage with small air space / gap to trunk is better protection from gnawing.

First year is most risky, while new trees establish themselves. In Japan I have seen bamboo poles in a teepee formation around trees, with straw mat "shingles" as protection. Might be a possibility first year while trees are small using tar paper / plastic "roofing.".

Spray dormant trees early in winter with Wilt-proof or analog to protect against transpiration loses in winter. Here in NJ peaches especially are sprayed with white paint to protect against sun scald - not that you are going to even be considering peaches.

And, if all else fails, what not look on-line on your land grant university site and see what they say. Here's a link to the list for all states:

Thanks Jam Lady.

I actually have a peach tree that's hopefully going to come out of its 3rd winter here. The pruning thinnings are blooming in water inside, so fingers crossed I may even see a peach before the squirrels steal it! Laughing

Last summer my asian pear fruited, but the fuzzy rats took the two that had started to enlarge.

This experiment involves asian plums, sweet cherries and 'dapple dandy' pluot.

I think I'll be free from sun scald, as there is a fence directly south that will shade the trunks from low angle winter sun.

I wasn't planning to heap mulch around the trunk too closely, but am trying to decide whether it would help to go a bit thicker on the rooting zone next fall. I can make arguments in my head for and against, but can't convince myself either way.

Luckily the only rabbit I've ever seen in my neighborhood was being eaten by my cat.

Thanks for the suggestions, I hadn't thought to use wilt-pruf on a deciduous plant, but it makes sense, as one of the concerns is certainly dehydration in the buds when the roots are too frozen to bring up water.

And now I get to toy with the idea of making tree hutches.
Shocked Laughing Maybe just some sturdy stakes with burlap, the way people protect arborvitae? (Is that the gist of what you're suggesting? or do you think it's important to have an overhead aspect as well?)
Jam Lady

As for arborvitae should work Slim. The more snow that piles up inside the young fruit trees "housing" the more insulation they'll receive.
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