Trees for Zone 5b are the best ones that you can plant in your garden, if where you are located has a weather that is too cold and almost inhabitable, but again, the there are trees that you can always plant which will survive and bare fruit, flowers or other properties.

Best Trees for Zone 5b to Plant in Backyard

Zone 5b is a USDA hardiness zone with average temperatures of -10 and -15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Despite the cold temperatures, the area grows beautiful flowering, shade, and fruit plants. This list mentions the tree examples, their characteristics, uses, and benefits.

List of the Best Trees for Zone 5b

1. Apple Tree

Having fresh, ripe, and delicious fruits in your garden is a top-tier flex every homeowner wants. Fruits have many health benefits because they are a source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. One of the most eyed fruit trees is the apple tree.

Apple Tree in Back Yard

Apple trees are available in various varieties and thrive well in USDA zones 5 to 9. When choosing an apple plant for your zone 5b, consider the characteristics, pollen compatibility, and bloom time. For example, Pink Lady blooms well in zones 5-9, while Honeycrisp grows in zones 3 to 8.

– Varieties

Pink lady apples are popularly grown commercially and most common in grocery stores. Other apple tree varieties you can grow in your garden are Pristine, Dayton, Jonagold, Akane, and Ashmead’s Kernel.

Besides Pink lady, the Granny Smith apple is another famous variety of an apple tree to grown in USDA zone 5b. It is majorly grown for export and primarily sold in supermarkets. Granny smith is an excellent source of vitamins C, A, and fiber.

The lesser-known apple varieties are tinier than pink lady, and some do not have the most beautiful shape. However, their flavor is superior. Another factor to consider when choosing apples for zone 5b is pollination. You must make sure that you plant two apple types close to each other for easy pollination. 

– Growing Requirements

Apple trees require regular watering when young until they grow, but you won’t worry about fertilizing them.

However, these sweet fruit-bearing fruits are prone to pests and diseases. If you aim to grow purely organic fruits, select a disease-resistant variety. A spacing of 25 to 30 feet apart is encouraged for apple trees that would be able to grow up to 30 feet tall.

– Benefits

They provide the body with vitamins K, E, B1, B6, and C, Potassium, and Fiber. In addition, they also help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure, it will also reduce the risk of diabetes and support weight loss, and Prevent cancer.

– Characteristics

It has simple alternating egg-shaped leaves, the trunks are semi-broad with wide-spreading branches, and grow up to 20 feet tall. You can cultivate it from August till the midst of December.

– Uses

Apples make different types of food and beverages and this is how they are prominently used. The fruit is used in the cosmetic industry to make lotions and shampoos. Apple trees produce big branches used in carpentry to make cabinet doors and tables too.

2. Japanese Maple

Japanese maple is a perfect tree choice to take your home’s curb appeal to the next level. Its main origins are Japan, China, and Korea, and are available in wide varieties. Whether you want your Japanese maple in a short and muscular shape or tall and picturesque, there is variety for you.

Rain Drops on Japanese Maple Leaves

– Growth Requirements

Japanese maples do well in total sun exposure, where the temperatures are not intense. It is advisable to provide some shade if your area experiences hot temperatures to avoid burning and scalding the leaves. 

The plants are not picky with the soil type. They can thrive in clay, loam, or sand. Ensure the soil is not waterlogged and has a PH of 5.5-6.5 as its growth needs. Japanese maples grow in zone 5b and may need extra winter protection. Gardeners can wrap the plants with burlap for more protection. 

– Characteristics

Japanese maples are a perfect choice for landscaping. They bear red or green foliage in summer, which can change into other colors in autumn. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, and they grow in cymes. 

Varieties of Japanese maples that grow in USDA zone 5 that you can add to your garden would be the Sister Ghost, Amber Ghost, Blood-good, Waterfall, Glowing Embers, Burgundy Lace, Peaches and Cream tree. 

– Its Uses

Note that it is a liked feature how the Japanese maple adds aesthetics to the yard with its beautiful foliage, however, the plant has specific growing needs, benefits, and uses. 

The back, leaves, and twigs make medicine to treat eye complaints and improve liver function. They contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and have antitumor properties that prevent the growth of cancerous tumors.


They take up small space and can fit in small yards, and their leaves increase curb appeal, which is a great choice if your yard isn’t a big one, and you wish to add a tree.

– Cons

Although all of them add a very nice aesthetics, to your zone 5b, but these trees are expensive to buy, as they are not pocket friendly.

3. Dogwood Tree

A dogwood tree is a perfect choice to grow if you want to fill your backyard with flowers. The tree is available in various species, and your choice depends on where you live, the aesthetics you want to create, and your yard’s landscape. 

A Dogwood Tree in Bloom


These trees can grow up to 25 feet in height. Gardeners should irrigate dogwood plants during dry summers to keep them surviving and blooming. These plants produce prolific spring flowers when taken care of, making them a good choice for the front yards.

They are small in structure and fit well in backyard patios, and when you are planting the dogwood trees on a patio, keep them six or eight feet from the patio’s edge for privacy. You can even choose dogwood species with colorful stems to increase appeal. 

– Flowering Dogwood

Flowering dogwood is a common dogwood tree species for homeowners in zone 5b because of the aesthetics they add to the home. These flowering trees have large white flowers in spring style=”font-weight: 400″>, with other species producing pink blossoms. 

The plant later bears red berries, a poisonous fruit to human beings but a favorite for birds. They have oval, deeply veined leaves and are used as ornamental trees. The flowering dogwoods are susceptible to incurable anthracite, which is a terrible plant disease that could put your tree into a critical health stage. 

Cornelian Cherry 

Characterized by small yellow flowers, the Cornelian cherry is another widely preferred dogwood plant in zones 5 and 8. The plant blooms in winter and is a perfect choice for a backyard. It is a tiny tree that can grow into a large shrub bearing small fruits. 

– Kousa Dogwood

The Kousa, or Japanese dogwood, is a spring flowering plant with slightly smaller leaves than the other varieties. It looks like flowering dogwood, but it is resistant to anthracnose. Its fruits are large and a favorite to birds and animals. This variety of the Dogwood produces white flowers to beautify your yard.

In addition to their small structure, there are other ways to identify a dogwood plant especially this variety. These trees also have benefits and special growth requirements. They grow to 20 feet tall, have a small, showy structure, grow upright but get wider with a flat-topped crown, and bloom white to light yellow flowers.

– Its Benefits

Used for medicinal purposes like treating headaches, fever, fatigue, and diarrhea, can cure boils and wounds, and they increase immunity in the body. This tree has a healing property when it comes to wounds on the skin, or even helping the immune system of a person, hence it is used and loved for this specific benefit too.

– Growth Requirements

 Dogwood trees grow well in cool and partly shaded areas, but can tolerate full sun. However, the sun should be less scorching. They require rich, moist, and slightly acidic soils and a thin layer of mulching to keep the moisture in.

They grow well in well-drained soil, require exposure to full sun or partial shade and do well in acidic soils of PH between 5.5 and 6.5 as the range.

4. Trident Maple

USDA zone 5b homeowners with small yards can choose the Trident maple for their space. This shade tree will make your yard cooler while increasing the aesthetics. 

Trident Maple Tree on Rock

– Features

The tree grows up to 30 feet, with some species growing as tall as 35 feet. Tiny green blossoms characterize the Trident maple during spring. The flowers grow into green and brown fruits, which can be edible or toxic, depending on the species. This tree is most beautiful in fall because it produces yellow, orange, and red leaves. 

– Growth Requirements

Trident maple grows best in moist, wet, well-drained, acidic soils with exposure to full sun or partial shade. When young, the trunk is sensitive to the sun, but you can cover it with a white trunk wrap for protection.

The plant requires timely watering using rainwater and once-a-month fertilization. On the other hand, the truck requires protection by wrapping it with a white truck wrap.

– Plant Uses

China, Korea, and Japan grow trident maple as a street plan to reduce air pollution especially in the industrial area of the cities where the pollution level would be higher, furthermore it also decorates small residences and commercial landscapes.

On the other hand, another reason why this tree has been planted popularly is because it treats bruises, hepatic disorders, and arthritis. 

5. Ornamental Pear Trees

The ornamental pear tree is a flowering plant that produces snow-white blooms. This is a good choice if you aim to take your backyard’s aesthetics to another level. The flowers bear inedible fruits that benefit the critters, while you get more beauty from the blooms. 

Ornamental Pear Trees with Flowers

– Growth Requirements

Most zone 5b homeowners prefer ornamental pear trees because they are low maintenance. These trees are not picky with the soil type, but they must be moist to survive. On the other hand, you won’t need to worry about pear tree conditions like white fly and wilt because it has a smell that repels a number of pests. 

– Pros

The white flowers increase aesthetics all year round. The tree takes up small space, making it perfect for tiny homes. They are fast-growing, and the pear trees’ bark is unique. It has dark brown to light green hues that increase your compound’s aesthetics. The leaves help the flowers in creating aesthetics. They are dark green but change to red, bronze, and purple in the fall. 

– Cons

The fruits are inedible and flowers have an unpleasant odor that would spread their aroma all over the garden. Most people are repelled by this smell, and they do not wish to plant it, because the odor is not very much of a pleasant fragrance.

6. Chinese Fringe Tree

The Chinese fringe tree is a flowering plant characterized by its large clusters of snow-white flowers. The flowers can grow to produce berries, but you must have male and female plants for it to happen—both male and female Chinese fringes bloom. However, as you plant the males, they would be producing more attractive flowers than females would. 

Chinese Fringe Tree in Blossom

The branches are strong and can withstand windy areas. The plant grows in partial shade and should be planted in well-drained soils. Besides watering during dry seasons, you should also fertilize the Chinese fringe yearly to ensure continuous growth. 

– Special Features

It has broad leaves that are evergreen throughout the year. The flowers change colors from red to deep green throughout the year. It grows one to two feet taller every year.

– Its Uses

Used to treat liver and gallbladder disorders, treats eye inflammations as this tree has its healing properties when it comes to these aspects.


Although zone 5b has cold temperatures, trees can survive. Whether you want flowering, fruit-bearing, or shade trees, you are spoiled for choice.

If you are looking for a plant for your backyard, some of the options you have are;

  • Apple plants if you want edible fruits-depending on your climate, you can grow pink lady, Dayton, Granny Smith, or Pristine. 
  • If you are looking for flowering plants, the best options are Japanese maple, Dogwood trees, trident maple, and the ornamental pear tree. There are different varieties of dogwood. 
  • Trident maple is a good option for a shade tree and it will also reduce the polution of the area.
  • Always check the plant’s growth requirements to confirm if it can do well in the area.

 Now that you have some choice of tree to grow in your zone 5b backyard, which one do you think would be the best fit for your compound? 


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