Q. Do you know of any varieties of almond and pecan trees that are hardy in Zone 5? I got a gardening catalog that says almonds will bear any place that peaches will, and I actually think the two trees are related. Will they grow in Pennsylvania?
A. Pecans can be grown in some areas of Pennsylvania, but more as a backyard hobby than a commercial crop. I see local pecans entered in county fairs throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. To my knowledge, the sweet almonds that California is famous for are not winter hardy in Pennsylvania.
You are correct that peaches – Prunus persica – and almonds – Prunus dulcis – are close relatives. I have seen a hybrid variety of almond offered for sale - Hall’s Hardy - that is supposed to be hardy to USDA Zone 5.
I have no personal experience with growing or eating hybrid almonds. Some web sites suggest they are hardy in colder climates, but will have a different flavor than the California almonds you are used to eating.