Cold Hardy Trees: Tips On Growing Trees In Zone 4
Zone 4 (4°F – 40°F) is a very cold climate. There are many plants that thrive here, but they need special care. They require a minimum temperature of around 50°F or 10°C to grow well. If it gets too hot, their growth will slow down and even die off completely. However if it gets too cold, the plant may not survive at all!
If you live in zone 4, then you have no excuse not to grow some cold hardy trees. Here are some tips on how to do so:
1. Choose Your Tree Wisely
The first thing you need to decide is which type of tree you want to grow. Some types are better than others when it comes to cold climates.
2. Magnolia Trees: They’re Fast Growing, But Not So Fast That They Die After A Few Years Of Growth
Magnolias are one of the best choices because they’re fast growing, but not so fast that they die after a few years of growth. Their leaves turn yellow and fall off after just a couple months of age. This makes them ideal for zones 3 and 4 where winters can get quite harsh. They’re also deciduous, which means they lose their leaves every fall and grow new ones in the spring.
3. Be Careful With Conifers
Conifers don’t grow quite as fast as deciduous trees, but this can actually be a good thing since it means they’re more likely to survive in colder zones. They lose their leaves each year and are very tolerant of cold weather.
However, they don’t fair quite as well in zones with long, hot, and dry summers. So if you live in a hotter zone and want to plant a conifer, then be sure to pick one that can handle warm weather as well.
4. Other Good Tree Choices
In addition to magnolias and conifers, there are several other types of trees that do well in zone 4. These include ash, birch, crabapple, dogwood, and flowering plum. You can even find some that do well in zones 3 and 4.2 These are ideal for people that don’t want a conifer or deciduous tree, such as those that feature colorful leaves in the fall or blooming flowers in the spring.
If you’re willing to travel, then there are other types of plants that can grow in cold climates. Many people don’t realize this but there are plants in zone 4 that can grow just as well in a warmer climate.
5. Tropical Plants Can Thrive In Colder Climates
While they may not be able to thrive in colder climates, some tropical plants can actually survive in zones 4 and 5 as long as they are given a bit of extra protection. Palms, for example, can thrive in zones 7 and 8 as long as they are kept warm and moist.
However, if you give them enough water and protect them from the elements, then they can survive in a colder climate like zone 4. Some good examples include lady palms, bamboo, fan palms, reed palm, peacock palms, and sago palms. These plants can add a nice tropical feel to your yard even if you live in zone 4.
6. Don’t Forget To Protect Your Trees
Just because a plant thrives in colder temperatures doesn’t mean that it can’t die if the elements get harsh enough. To ensure that your trees and plants survive, you should cover them during the winter. If the snow is light then you should be fine. Just be sure to uncover them as soon as the snow melts in the spring so they get enough sunlight.
If the snow in your area is too heavy for you to remove, then you should probably build a small greenhouse over your plants using either plexiglass or plastic wrap. You can even buy special greenhouses at most gardening stores if you don’t want to build your own.
7. Buying Trees And Plants
Of course, if you want to buy trees and plants rather than planting them yourself, then that’s an option as well. Many gardening stores will sell trees that can survive in colder climates, so you should have no trouble finding something that works for you.
Just be sure to examine the plant before you buy it to ensure that it has all its limbs and foliage. If anything is missing or damaged, then don’t buy it because such plants can quickly become unhealthy without their leaves and branches.
8. Don’t Forget To Store Water
Regardless of whether you plant your own trees or buy them, you’re going to need a reliable water source. If there is a drought then your plants are going to suffer because of it.
The best way to counter this is to have a large supply of water available. You can do this in several ways, such as digging a well in your yard or buying a lot of jugs and filling them up before the winter hits.
You should also plan your tree planting around your water source. If you have a well in your backyard, then plant your trees near it. If you have to draw water from a river or lake then build a fence to stop the trees from falling in.
9. Planting Trees In The Right Order
While it may seem like you can just scatter seeds and plant them wherever you want, there is actually a right way and a wrong way to do it. If you want your trees to grow up straight and strong then there is a certain way to do it.
The first thing you need to do is draw a circle around where you want to plant your trees. The circle needs to be the width of the tree’s base. After that, draw another circle around that circle that is the height of the tree. You should have something that looks like a bulls-eye.
The middle circle is where you should plant your seed. As for the outer circle, you can plant anything you want. Some trees prefer to be by themselves while others grow better with other types of trees nearby. As long as you follow the rule of planting everything in a circle around the seed, then you should be fine.
It also may be helpful to place small wooden markers around where you plan to plant your trees. Once you remove them later, your trees should be strong enough to survive.
10. Enjoy Your New Forest
Once your trees are fully grown, you should have a nice forest that gives you plenty of privacy and beauty. Just make sure to keep an eye on the trees as they grow to ensure that they’re getting everything they need.
Return from How to Plant a Forest to Home
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Sources & references used in this article:
Trees for saltland: a guide to selecting native species for Australia by N Marcar, D Crawford, P Leppert, T Jovanovic, R Floyd… – 1995 – books.google.com
Freezing resistance of trees in North America with reference to tree regions by A Sakai, CJ Weiser – Ecology, 1973 – Wiley Online Library
Native trees, shrubs, & vines: a guide to using, growing, and propagating North American woody plants by W Cullina – 2002 – books.google.com
From genotype to phenotype: unraveling the complexities of cold adaptation in forest trees by MA Dirr – 2011 – Timber Press
Trees, shrubs, and vines for attracting birds by GT Howe, SN Aitken, DB Neale… – … Journal of Botany, 2003 – NRC Research Press
Spring and fall cold hardiness in wild and selected seed sources of coastal Douglas-fir by RM DeGraaf – 2002 – books.google.com
Forest trees of Australia by JF Stevenson, BJ Hawkins, JH Woods – Silvae Genetica, 1999 – thuenen.de