February 5th, 2014
How fun would it be to be able to walk out to your back patio and pick oranges for fresh orange juice? Or plums to put in lunchboxes?
If you think you can’t because you don’t have a large yard, guess what? You can grow dwarf trees in pots on your patio or in the front of your house.
The key is the amount of sunshine you get, and for some fruit trees, the amount of heat you get. Peaches and nectarines do need a certain amount of heat to produce tasty fruit. If you have a wall, put the trees up against the wall and the reflection against the wall and keep the tree warmer.
Some benefits of dwarf trees:
Make sure you feed the tree more often than you would one in the ground. Ensure that the pot has good drainage. You don’t have to use a pot to grow the tree if you have space to plant the tree but don’t want a large tree. Trees in the ground will outproduce trees in a container. However, you’re still going to get a lot of fruit.
One cool thing to note is that dwarf trees have more fruit than regular trees because the space between the buds is shorter in the smaller tree.
Caring for miniature trees can be easy. And the trees can last as long as a normal tree. First, protect a new tree from the sun. Sunburned bark at the base of the trunk is the first place of entry for peach borers. Paint any white latex paint from just below the soil line up to the first several branches. Then be sure to get down on your knees occasionally to peek under the leaves to check for borer damage.
In the first season, remove all tiny, immature fruits, to allow the roots to more easily get established. This is quite a test of willpower. Those who fudge on this do get to taste the fruit the first season, but their trees would be better off if the fruit were removed.
From the second year on, thin the young fruits to leave one every three to four inches along the branch. Wait until the tiny fruit is as big as a jelly bean to make sure there is no fruit drop after thinning. This will insure the largest fruit possible. Don’t let them be like a bunch of grapes (unless you’re growing grapes). You’ll get healthier fruit if you thin it out.
Look for sales at your local gardening center on bare root trees. Now is a great time to plant them.