Pick Dwarf Fruit Trees To Fit Your Yard

Posted on: January 15, 2013

This time I’m engaging in one of my favorite activities: Myth Busting!

It’s amazing how much flat-out misinformation is available online to gardeners of all levels of experience. The worst of it occurs when the misinformation makes gardeners reluctant to try something new or choose the wrong variety for their situation. The negative effect of misinformation is especially bad when the topic is fruit trees.

Just Give Me the Fruit, and Be Quick About It!

You want a few trees, and some homegrown fruit, not an orchard.

I bet that you just want a few fruit trees and home-grown fruit, not an orchard. And, that you don’t want to spend countless hours learning the whole Horticultural Science thing. If I’m right, here are three myths that can affect your fruit tree success:

§ Myth #1: Dwarf fruit trees won’t grow enough fruit. This is so wrong, I could start laughing and never stop. Please forgive me and then believe me: dwarf trees have been developed to put out a lot of fruit! How? They are grafted to a root stock of a compatible but different much smaller tree. This means your selected fruit tree is using the root system of the smaller tree.  This inhibits size and can also add many wonderful attributes to your tree and fruit.

§ Myth #2: The root stock name doesn’t matter. If you are at a nursery where the plant tags ONLY say mini or dwarf apple,  walk away.  Just as you would probably avoid buying a car that gets ten miles to the gallon of gas,  you want a high-performance fruit tree.  You don’t just want a dwarf fruit tree. You want one that is grafted to a new, super-cool, disease-resistant, clay soil-tolerant root stock, which can help you avoid or overcome serious obstacles to success. There are many to choose from, it can get a little overwhelming until you understand what the different root stocks do and can sort through the options by how you want your trees to grow. See the link in my next blog for the root stock list.

This drawing illustrates fruit bearing wood on a dwarf apple tree

§ Myth #3: We must endure making mistakes as an inevitable part of learning gardening skills. Wrong! You don’t have to make all the typical beginner mistakes, even if it does produce what our parents call character. Helping you avoid character-building pain is what people like Vern Nelson (and even me) are for. We are here to help you get satisfying results on your first try. Vern Nelson, The hungry gardener, is the edibles genius I turn to for straight talk and he also teaches hands on classes at his private garden.

Next time: Four excellent ways that dwarf fruit trees grown on special root stock add pleasure and convenience to your gardening experience.