Dwarf apple trees in my garden - varieties and features of growing
Long gone are the days when the main and almost the only varieties of apple trees in our orchards were "White filling", "Antonovka" and even a couple of local reliable varieties. Today, thanks to the hard work of breeders, even in areas with the most inhospitable climate, nurseries offer a huge number of different varieties and types of apple trees. So, for example, I once opted for "dwarfs". Why, and what came of it, I will tell in this article.
Why did I buy dwarf apple trees?
Dwarf apple trees in my garden appeared by chance. This happened 6 years ago, when there was still no garden, and there was a bare plot in the southern Urals steppe. It is blown by all winds, sometimes squally, with summer droughts and winter frosts down to -40 ° С.
In general, anyone who has been at least once on virgin soil will understand that growing an apple tree in our area is not an easy task, but quite feasible, you just need to approach the matter responsibly. Which I did.
The sad experience of my parents helped, namely, every time my father bought seedlings from visiting sellers from unknown nurseries. These are the trucks covered with an awning, they usually stand on the roads or drive up to the markets. Their seedlings look very solid, the photos are beautiful and all varieties are described correctly, but ...
No matter how much my father bought these same seedlings, nothing good has grown. Either they died in infancy, or, waiting for their fruits, we were disappointed. Then there were attempts to instill something worthwhile, but that's another story.
In a word, I decided to go the other way and forbade myself to even look in the direction of these visiting guests. I found a local fruit nursery, which is located in the north of our region, which means that the climate there is even sadder than ours. In general, what you need.
And when I was already happy and tuned in to buying apple trees, it turned out that this nursery grows only dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees, and pears too. I was not ready for this, or rather, I didn’t think at all that apple trees could be like that. I read literature and made an order.
What varieties of dwarf apple trees do I grow
In the first year I ordered and safely received 4 dwarf apple trees - “Brother of the Wonderful”, “Mantet”, “Kuibyshevskaya” and “Silver Hoof”. I will not describe how I planted seedlings - nothing unusual, the main thing is not to bury the vaccine. With them, everything worked out fine for me - 4-5 cm above the soil level. But with the distance between the trees, I got excited, planting them 5 meters from each other. Not so much, just 3–3.5 m.
Everything has taken root, everything grows and bears fruit, and the fruits that I bought give the fruits. They are very tasty, so I’ll tell you a little about each.
Grade "Brother of the Wonderful"
"Wonderful Brother" - an autumn apple tree of high winter hardiness - began to bear fruit in the third year after planting, but how! In the first year of fruiting due to inexperience, we collected 14 kg of apples. But it was not necessary!
What did she, poor thing, look like - the branches bent to the ground, supported them with hornets, tied them to stakes, in general, it was impossible to look at the apple tree without tears. Harvest ripened by mid-September. I placed apples in the lower drawer of the refrigerator, shifting the layers with paper, for the experiment - how many can they be stored? They lay until January. A little began to flabby by this time, and so - delicious, good apples.
But, apparently, our apple tree overdid it and took a vacation the next year. A year later, it began to bear fruit again, and this time I removed about a third of the ovaries, but, as it turned out, it was necessary to remove more. History repeated this year - again the branches broke under the weight of the fruit. Next year, probably, he will rest again, and there I will already leave one ovary on the hand.
Mantet is a summer variety with medium winter hardiness. A beautiful tree with a regular crown, now already higher than 2.5 m. The first few apples appeared in the third year, from a dozen - in the fourth. Apples are beautiful, juicy and very tasty. He adds the crop very gradually, but in the 6th year, three buckets of simply excellent fruits were harvested.
Surprisingly, this year they are much larger than they were before, and I do not know what this is connected with. Maybe I liked the horse manure - since the autumn I had been pouring it from the heart, or the winter was mild and snowy, but the result is amazing!
Grade "Silver Hoof"
The Silver Hoof is simply a charm. Summer grade of high winter hardiness, in which everything is fine - a neat beautiful tree and small liquid apples of the color of ripe cherry, with thin skin and transparent pulp. Beginning to bear fruit already in the second year, the yield gradually increased, and this year three buckets of apples were harvested.
But here, on the contrary, there was a nuisance - almost all the apples cracked. The reason has not yet been clarified - perhaps overflow, although pouring something with our dry climate is simply unrealistic. Therefore, I sin on a sharp temperature drop. Almost all summer we had very cold nights and very hot during the day.
Kuibyshevskaya is a winter-hardy winter variety, a test of my patience. Start bearing fruit in the 4th year, but only this year we took the first crop. Before that, she gave out 2-3 apples, which fell off long before the deadline.
In the description of the variety it was written that the apples are very large, weighing up to 300 g, but we saw them only in the 6th year and then after a serious conversation. Last year I talked to her, described the prospects, she apparently listened. In a word, apples are really huge, with a strong aroma and good taste for winter apples. Sent for storage, let's see how many lie.
So, all four of my apple trees grow and develop according to age. No diseases were noticed on them; they winter well. In the early years for the winter, I wrapped spunbond around the trunks, and the trunk circle mulched dry grass. Now I’m not doing this anymore, I just lay out rags soaked in creole from mice near the trunks.
Last year I replenished my collection with two more apple trees - “Persian” and “Juice-3”, and two pears - “Chizhovskaya” and “Sverdlovchanka”. Everyone has taken root, we are waiting for the harvest.
Pros and cons of dwarf apple trees
Low-growing apple trees have many advantages, which attract gardeners. But, as you know, there is nothing perfect in nature, therefore, they also have some disadvantages.
Of the obvious advantages of a compact form of apple trees:
- It is convenient to care for a stunted apple tree - pruning, processing from diseases and pests are not difficult.
- Space saving - the diameter of the crown of an adult dwarf rarely exceeds 3 m, which allows them to be planted at a shorter interval than ordinary ones. Due to this, on the site you can place more apple trees of different varieties, which is especially valuable for small areas.
- Dwarf apple trees tend to have high yields.
- Fruiting in dwarfs occurs in 3-4 years, which is earlier than in ordinary ones.
- Low-growing apple trees are distinguished by a thinner bark, which allows them to "round off" with vegetation and to have good time for winter preparation at the first cold snap.
- The roots of dwarf apple trees are located close to the surface. They have to be watered more often, but water is required much less than for ordinary apple trees.
- Here you can also save on fertilizers - all top dressings quickly get to the root system and are absorbed without loss by the tree.
- The undersized apple trees have a short trunk, which means that nutrients do not have to go a long thorny path and the fruits quickly get everything they need. Hence the high yield and excellent quality of the fruit.
Apparently, early and abundant fruiting negatively affected the life expectancy of dwarf apple trees. They live only 15-20 years. Perhaps this is a minus of undersized apple trees, but if you look from the other side, this is a great opportunity to renew your garden more often and plant new varieties of apple trees.
The superficial arrangement of roots can play a trick on a dwarf apple tree. In frosty and snowless winters, the roots can freeze, so you need to prepare for winter throughout the life of the tree - mulch the trunk circle with peat, leaves or spanbond.
Often "dwarfs" can not independently cope with their own crops. Under the weight of the fruit, the branches bend, and often break. Therefore, experts advise thinning the ovaries, and during the ripening of apples put under the branches of the props or arrange trellises.
In my opinion, dwarf apple trees have more positive qualities than negative ones, but this is a matter of taste, of course.
How to choose the right seedling of a dwarf apple tree?
Dwarf apple trees are often confused with colony-shaped ones, but in vain - there is nothing in common between them, except for the fruits. Dwarfs have exactly the same appearance as ordinary apple trees, but in miniature. The growth of an adult "dwarf" usually does not exceed 2.5 m, "half-dwarf" can reach up to 3 m.
In general, this is the most common apple tree, with the only difference being that in order to obtain a seedling, a varietal stalk is grafted onto a clonal dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstock.
Seedlings of dwarf and semi-dwarf apple trees outwardly differ from ordinary ones, therefore, in order not to buy a fake, you need to know these features:
- the height of the stem should be no more than 1.5 m;
- two-year-old seedlings should have several mature branches with large buds;
- near the root neck, the site of vaccination in the form of a protrusion should differ;
- the root system, unlike the core system in ordinary apple trees, has branched, fibrous roots.
Dear readers! For those who doubt whether to buy dwarf apple trees or not, I can say one thing - of course, buy! But in the right place. Look for a local nursery, one that has a specific address, and where these seedlings are really grown, but not brought from somewhere, and then resold (there are also such). It is better to spend time looking for seedlings than to kill years growing suspense.