The Best Time to Plant a Tree in Zone 5

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Hardy fruit trees such as cherries thrive in cold areas of the country.

Trees bring bright foliage and shade to home gardens, but they need the right long-term care to grow to their full potential. Start trees off with the right planting site, soil and season for best success. In cold areas like U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone 5, this means waiting for specific outdoor conditions.


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Zone 5 Weather

USDA Zone 5 stretches across northern states like Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Montana and Missouri. This area features possible winter temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, harsh storms and late springs. Zone 5 also offers bright, warm summers, though, and supports a range of plant and tree life.

Planting Season

The University of Missouri Extension recommends planting new trees in spring or fall, but it notes that many trees tolerate plantings into mid-summer. All trees do best with mid-spring plantings, which give them warm starts and summer-long growing seasons. In Zone 5, this timing ranges from late April to mid-May. Plant trees after the ground thaws and dries for easier digging.


Site and Soil

Give trees the best growing conditions with appropriate sites and nutritious soil. Choose sites with six-to-eight hours of sun every day, quick year-round drainage and tree-specific spacing. Prepare the top 12 inches of soil in a 2-foot-square with 4-to-5 inches of organic compost for a loose, nutritious growing base.


Zone 5 is a very cold zone of the country and supports only hardy trees, shrubs and flowers. Choose appropriate trees for this area to maintain them year-round. Plant hardy fruit trees such as cherries, plums, apples, peaches, nectarines and pears for fruit harvests or use local decorative tree specimens for non-fruiting growth.