The days of enjoying fresh sun ripened fruit off your own trees are back!
When I was growing up I could easily climb a 25 to 30 foot tree for fruit, but somewhere in the interim, gravity has arbitrarily gotten stronger and I’m good if I can reach the can of sliced peaches on the top shelf.
In recent years there have been great advances in producing fruit trees in dwarf and semi dwarf sizes. Most dwarf trees will top out at 8+ feet and semi dwarf at 10-12 feet.
The obvious benefit is a tree easier to prune and care for with little reduction in fruit quantity and quality. Numerous home gardeners have even discovered how easy it is to grow their trees in containers.
Controlling the size of the trees is accomplished by root grafting, (also called “bottom budding”). The theory behind this procedure is that shorter root growth means less water and nutrient uptake thereby controlling the height of the tree. This was started in the 1960’s with mixed results but has been greatly improved with the introduction of root stocks such as, M27, Gisela and Mazzard.
Fruit trees like sun and well drained soil. In regards to fruit and berries, sun = sugar. When planting a grafted tree be sure not to bury the graft as it can result in graft rot or suckers, which are branches growing from below the graft. They are not representative of the tree variety.
Another popular innovation for the home gardener is branch grafting. This creates a tree with 3-5 different varieties of the same fruit. The obvious benefit is assurance of cross pollination on one tree instead of two or more.
The Grange has become the “go to” place for fruit trees. Around mid February we will offer over 170 trees not to mention a great line of other fruits and berries! We carry some of the most popular varieties as well as a few you may not have heard of but are sure to enjoy. We will have dwarf and semi dwarf trees in single variety, combo and espalier