Dwarf Fruit Trees A fine Addition to Your Garden
A dwarf fruit tree is exactly what it sounds like it is, a small or dwarf sized version of a full sized fruit tree.
While a smaller sized fruit tree would not work for your average producer or farmer of fruit in general, these tiny trees have become a very popular selling item among gardeners worldwide, for a variety of different reasons. First and foremost being the delicious fruit they bear. Today there are great number of fruit trees and bushes. That being said there is really no excuse for you not to be enjoying the taste of fresh fruits and berries every season if not at least in your retirement years of your life.
miniature fruit trees deliver a wonderful compromise for many people with limited space available to them and for those that simple enjoy dwarf fruit trees. There many be fewer fruits produced on the dwarf trees but it directly related to the size of the trees. They produce the same sized tasty succulent fruit just on smaller trees. This has made them a popular choice among backyard, deck and balcony gardeners alike.
These outdoors gardeners are able to grow trees in pots, which is perfect for gardeners who want small amounts of several fruit varieties. A four foot dwarf apple tree can easily produce up to 45 apples of regular variety, while a two foot tall peach tree will readily produce up to 30 fresh peaches a season. An important fact to keep in mind is that most dwarf trees will not begin to bear full size fruit in only two or three years after planting. Once the trees do begin to produce fruit it is much easier to pick from the dwarf sized trees.
METHODS USED TO PRODUCE DWARF FRUIT TREES
To produce these smaller sized fruit trees there are four main ways that are used, they are genetic dwarfs, dwarfing root-stocks, controlled pruning and controlled growth in pots. All four methods produce beautifully small fruit trees that produce perfectly sized fruit. The basic breakdown of these four methods used is as follows:
Genetic Dwarfs – Genetic dwarf trees tend to be very short and have fairly heavy branches. Because these trees are dwarf trees for containers and pots you may not
be able to get your favorite peach or apple tree as one of these smaller fruit trees. The fruit trees most readily available to grow in pots and containers are nectarines, apricots, almonds and just a couple of peaches and apple varieties. These small trees may need some sort of protection from frost during the winter months depending upon where you live in the world.
Dwarfing Root stocks – This process is when branches of different fruit trees are grafted to dwarf rootstock to produce a smaller tree, this process restricts the trees growth. Each type of dwarf rootstock tree have their own peculiarities, you will find some are suitable for a certain variety while it is much too restrictive for other varieties. Many of these dwarf trees will grow in poor soil and be resistant to drought, while others will need a high quality soil to produce fruit. It is recommended that you choose your dwarf rootstock based on your quality of soil and the actual size of tree you want to have.
Controlled Pruning – Several methods of pruning are used to produce some of the best dwarf fruit trees of a much more manageable size. While they may be found on a regular rootstock, they are more often on a dwarf rootstock that was chosen to grow to a certain size. Espaliers, trees that is grown flat on a set of wires, between posts or cordons or on a building. These single straight branches are then interwoven that create fence patterns; these are the two most common types of controlled pruning.
Controlled Growth In Pots – This process is similar to the way a bonsai tree is dwarfed. Fruit trees grown in restricted soil and having restricted root growth with careful pruning of the roots and branches at the best time of the year. To further restrict these fruit trees size many of the varieties are grown on dwarfing rootstock.
Fruit trees are easily grown on large pots 12 to 15 inches in size; cherry trees require pots of at least 18 inches across. They need to be planted in a good soil and be fertilized about every two weeks to keep them healthy. Pot grown fruit trees should be re-potted every year or two after they lose their leaves. The roots should be pruned every two years and replanted in its pot with at least 20% new soil. When pruning the root, remove at least an inch of the outer roots. It is recommended to mulch the soil on the top of the pot with organic compost material.
It all starts by selecting the perfect tree to get the best success; you want to choose a tree that will grow in your specific zone of the United States. You will want to make sure it gets the appropriate number of chill hours for the area you will be growing it in, in addition you will need to plants a pollinator within at least 50 feet of your fruit tree and be sure they will begin to bloom at the same time if needed. By giving your dwarf fruit tree the proper care, correct soil and fertilization, your trees will grow healthy and thrive. You will pick delicious, full sized fruit year after year.
TYPES OF DWARF FRUIT TREES
Assembled below you will find a list of miniature fruit trees that are available for gardeners:
Citrus Caviar (Australian Finger Lime)
WHY WON’T MY Little FRUIT TREES BEAR FRUIT?
Below we have put together a list of checkpoints to use if your fruit trees are not bearing fruit for you. Frustration can easily take over when waiting for your trees to produce fruit. Many beginning growers fail to realize that it can take years for fruit trees to become established trees that will produce flowers, let alone fruits. It can actually take even longer to begin to produce and support a true crop of fruit. So lets not give up on your trees quiet yet, take a moment and run through the list.
Small Fruit Trees begin producing earlier that their standard sized counterparts, a great many of them within the 2nd or 3rd season after being transplanted. Keep in mind that these numbers are averages; there are a great many other factors that can directly affect when your fruit tree will begin to bear fruit for you.
Like all growing plants, fruit trees require some nutrients to not only survive but thrive. It is a fine line you will have to balance, heavy fertilization and/or rich soil may encourage growth but this may be at the expense of fruit production.
You will discover that fruit trees exposed to full to partial shade are fighting an uphill battle. While your fruit trees will be able to survive with partial shade, they will require a longer period of time to begin to bear fruit for you.
Frost Or Cold Weather:
The weather can literally put an end to your fruit crop for a season. If your trees have buds that have been forming but not opening, it is more than likely the fault of the weather. A very cold, windy winter can and do damage susceptible fruit tree flower buds. Usually it is the direct result of a late spring frost in your area, especially if buds have begun to swell.
Disease & Pests:
If you have been giving your fruit trees healthy growing conditions and proper care and they are still not bearing fruit after 5 years it is time to check with your local cooperative extension office to inquire about possible disease or pest problems in the area. They will be able to inform you if there is a fungus affecting your area, it can even be something as large as having a deer problem in your area that is affecting your fruit trees.
Large or dwarf, all fruit trees benefit from being pruned annually, if done in moderation. Proper pruning will rejuvenate fruit trees; this will encourage the growth of fruiting spurs. It is a fine line; if you prune more than 1/3 of the tree you could possibly have the exact opposite effect on your trees and stimulate branch growth while the tree try’s to repair itself.
Regular moderate pruning not performed regularly is one of the most common cause fo lack of fruit production. Opening the canopy of your trees many need to be done to
allow for light and good air circulation. This is easily accomplished by gently bending branches to be as close to horizontal without breaking and securing them with the use of a soft rope and staking it to the ground.
Too Many Fruit Sets:
While having an abundance of fruit may seem like a good thing, there can be a couple of drawbacks to too much fruit. First, an abundance of fruit from one tree means that the trees resources are stressed. Your choice here is one of the following, a large harvest of smaller fruit or a smaller harvest of larger fruits.
Second, with some varieties of fruit trees the stress from a large harvest of fruit handles it by taking a rest the following year. They essentially become biennial in producing fruit, producing a large harvest and very little to no harvest the following year.
Both problems can be corrected by simply thinning the crop while the fruit is still very tiny, approximately 3 weeks after it blooms. Remove all but the healthiest fruits from every spur and all small branch offshoots where fruit is produced, leaving the largest or hardiest looking fruit to survive. Many trees will do perform this naturally by dropping the weaker fruits to the ground; this phenomenon is called “June Drop”.