It’s that time of year when temperatures start to noticeably drop. And as you brace yourself for freezing temperatures, it’s also time to think about your landscape and winter hardy trees and plants.
In honor of the changing temperatures, we’ve made a list of trees that can survive cold temperatures and tough weather conditions! These trees don’t need to be planted in containers and brought inside or covered. They can be planted in the ground and left outside to face the snowy conditions.
Winter Hardy: Evergreen Trees
Nothing warms up winter landscapes like leafy and lush evergreens. If you need a screen to keep snow off your driveway or home, these winter hardy evergreens are the right choice for you.
And the Emerald Green Thuja is one tough pick – they’re recommended for growing zones 3 through 8, so they know how to handle the ice and snow. Use their extremely thick foliage for a privacy screen, hedge, or accent. Emerald Green Thujas will grow in a variety of soils but love acidic soil and do best in full sun. They get about 8 to 12 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. Plant them about 3 feet apart for a privacy screen or hedge.
Another tough evergreen is the Juniper ‘Wichita Blue’. This Juniper has a unique bluish-gray tint to its foliage, which sets it apart from the rest of the pack. It’s recommended for growing zones 3 through 9 and adapts to various soil types. However, it will do best in soil that’s slightly acidic and in full sunlight. Junipers grow to about 10 to 15 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide, so they make an excellent choice for privacy screens. Also, they grow in a pyramidal shape which makes them an excellent choice for accents as well.
But if you’re looking for an evergreen that will put up with snow and doesn’t get quite as large as a privacy tree, consider the Russian Cypress. It’s recommended for growing zones 3 through 7 and can handle a variety of growing conditions. The Russian Cypress will do well in full sun or full shade and is adaptable to many different types of soil.
Its soft feathery foliage and weeping branches make it a great accent tree for gardens and patios. Plus, its foliage turns a bronze color every fall.
Speaking of fall color, deciduous trees also make excellent choices for shade trees during the summer, and they drop their leaves in the winter to let warm sunlight through when you need it most!
The Hybrid Poplar is an excellent choice for someone who wants a fast-growing shade tree. They spring up pretty fast, growing 5 to 8 feet per year. But they do need room to grow, reaching heights of 40 to 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
And this tree isn’t only large – it’s tough! Hybrid Poplars will tolerate many different types of poor soil and will take on the cold. The recommended growing zones for these trees are zones 3 through 8. You can plant this tree in the North or South and watch its beautiful green foliage turn bright yellow every fall.
Another winter hardy option for fall color? The American Beech Tree. Every fall, American Beech Tree leaves go from green to a yellow bronze color. This tree also attracts a lot of wildlife, like birds and squirrels. They can get quite large, up to 60 feet tall, and their canopy can get 60 feet wide. They grow almost anywhere, but are recommended for zones 3 through 9. Their thick canopy will provide a lot of shade during the summer, and you won’t have to worry about this tree in the winter because it will survive the blizzards!
Winter hardy trees that provide you with fall colors are lovely, but what about spring flowers?
The Tulip Poplar is one large flowering tree that will survive tough winters. Tulip Poplars grow about 70 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide. They’re recommended for growing zones 4 through 9. Each spring, you’ll know winter has passed once you see hundreds of yellow blooms. The flowers have a fresh and sweet fragrance, and their nectar attracts hummingbirds, finches, and more. The Tulip Poplar is very tough, and thrives in a variety of soils. It’s also very pest and disease resistant. As a bonus, Tulip Poplar’s leaves turn a golden yellow color in the fall!
The Robinson Crabapple Tree is one of the first trees to bloom every spring. It has light pink flowers that have a sweet spring aroma, attracting butterflies and birds. This tree is recommended for growing zones 4 through 8 and gets about 15 to 20 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide. Plus, it’s a shorter option than the rest! The Robinson Crabapple can cross-pollinate with a few varieties of apple trees as well.
Growing your own fruit isn’t just for Southerners! There are a few varieties of fruit trees that are winter hardy. And once spring rolls, your fruit trees will break from winter dormancy and provide you with fresh snacks.
The Honeycrisp Apple Tree is very winter hardy and recommended for growing zones 3 through 7. They grow to about 14 to 18 feet tall and 12 to 15 feet wide. Sweet and often used for desserts, Honeycrisps are ready to be harvested around August every year. Keep in mind that these trees are not self-fertile, so you’ll need to get more than one, or another variety of apple tree that will cross-pollinate with it. To view our apple pollination guide, click here!
A second winter hardy fruit option is the Bing Cherry Tree. The Bing Cherry Tree is recommended for zones 4 through 8 and produces an abundance of fruit early in the season. With a harvest around the end of May and beginning of June, Bing Cherries are ripe when they fully turn a dark red color – this is when they’ll taste the sweetest.
The Bing Cherry Tree gets about 20 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. However, it isn’t self-fertile, so you’ll need more than one! The Bing Cherry Tree will also cross-pollinate with Black Tartarian and Stella Cherry Trees.
Have No Winter Fear!
No matter where you’re located in the North or South, you can plant the winter hardy trees on this list. There are options for everyone: from large evergreens to small fruiting trees and shade trees. Stay inside all bundled up in your favorite sweater, and enjoy your trees from your window. Relax knowing that the winter won’t stop them from doing their thing.