Planting fruit trees in Montana is limited to fruits that are grafted on cold hardy, fruit tree, rootstock that can withstand temperature drops to minus 40 degrees F. Many types of fruit trees will live in Montana, but when the early spring freezes come, the flowers are often frozen, thus, no fruit is set on the tree.
Apple trees like Lodi and McIntosh apples are successful, if cross pollination is available, and the Oregon crabapple and the Siberian apple trees are good apple pollinators.
The Sungold apricot tree is cold hardy along with the apricot trees. These apricots are high in sugar and are as sweet as honey.
Sweet cherry trees are generally not cold hardy, however, the sour cherries like the Montmorency cherry tree and North Star cherry trees will grow in most Montana fruit tree orchards. The Stanley plum tree is cold hardy in Montana and the Stanley plums taste is rich and sweet.
Berry plants are very productive in Montana and the Low Bush Blueberry is a native blueberry bush with high cold tolerance. Blueberries are most often called huckleberries in Montana, however, the berries are technically, actually blueberry plants.
Montana State University scientists at Bozeman, Mt., recommend the Brazos blackberry plant and Boysenberry bushes as the best berry choices, but many tests on the new blackberry cultivars from Arkansas are introducing thornless blackberry bushes.
Mt. State University also recommends Boyne red raspberry plants and Heritage and September Red raspberry bushes. Black Hawk and Cumberland black raspberries produce deliciously tasty berries in the Fall. The only purple raspberry that survives as cold hardy is the Brandywine purple raspberry.
Black Walnut trees are cold hardy nuts (Juglans nigra) that consistently produce high quality walnuts in Montana. Chinese chestnut trees (Castanea mollissima) is a very cold hardy chestnut tree that grows nuts in a burr. The chestnuts are sweet to taste and aromatic to cook in an open kettle like the Parisian street vendors around the Montmartre in Paris, France. The Hazelnut (Filbert) tree, Corylus americana is a native nut tree to Montana and produces a small, sweet nut with a thin shell. The other nut tree that grows well in Montana is the shellbark hickory, (Juglans lacinosa) tree that produces an edible nut that is loved by wildlife animals and wildlife game birds. Wildlife hunting preserves are very important commercially in Montana, and all the fruits, berries and nuts listed are important to Montana commerce.