Vegetables and Fruit forum: Very dwarf fruit trees

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(Zone 6a)
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Celene
Jul 27, 2015 7:58 PM CST
My 91 year old in-laws are buying their first house. My father in law wants a small orchard of very dwarf trees, and it's a smallish lot. I know he at least wants apples and cherries, but these will have to be tiny trees, so I'm looking for the smallest reasonable plants that will bear fruit.

Any ideas beyond "91 years old and buying a house?!"

TIA!
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Jul 28, 2015 2:49 AM CST
I think it's great that at 91 they still want to have an orchard. Smiling North Star cherries are naturally dwarf, and don't get very large.
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Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
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Coppice
Jul 28, 2015 1:29 PM CST
There are dwarfing rootstocks for the trees he wants. Expect to need to stake those trees.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Jul 28, 2015 6:58 PM CST
They might require staking for a while, but make sure the trunk gets wrapped and is kept wrapped even when mature. I had a mature dwarf tree stripped of it's bark by rabbits a few years back. Grumbling
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Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Aug 1, 2015 5:19 PM CST
I agree Nothing sadder than waiting on fruit and having rabbits kill the tree Angry
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Name: Daniel Erdy
Catawba SC (Zone 7b)
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ediblelandscapingsc
Aug 3, 2015 12:56 AM CST
North star cherry, and carmine jewel cherry are good options for natural dwarf cherries but you can find cherry trees grafted to Gisela 12, Gisela 5, and Newroot 1 that will make dwarf trees. As far as the apples go you'll want to find trees grafted on Budagovsky 9, EMLA 7, Geneva 30, Geneva 935, and/or Malling 9 to get truly dwarf trees.
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(Zone 6a)
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Celene
Aug 3, 2015 7:08 AM CST
Thank you everyone. I have cared for fruit trees, my father had a mini orchard of peaches, plums, apples, cherries, currants and berries. He is perusing those super cheap garden catalogs where trees are $5 and it's hard to convince him that going to a good nursery is worth the extra $. He's never really had a garden before, and I grew up on a farm, it's all very theoretical to him.
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Aug 3, 2015 7:35 AM CST
It is nice to see he still looks to the future Smiling

My dad 85 still makes my sister save peach seeds and he starts them in buckets to give away. He has already planted up all his space Smiling
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Aug 3, 2015 2:46 PM CST
Good luck getting the right cultivar from those cheep places. It's a real pain when you wait 5 years for an apple tree to produce, and it's not the cultivar you thought you bought. Been there done that!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Aug 7, 2015 8:29 AM CST
Fruit just doesn't seem to be my forte. I have 3 apple trees one pear tree, 3 fig trees, 1 olive tree, 3 blueberry bushes, three grape vines, and maybe 40 strawberry plants. Most of these are 3-5 years old.

So far I have harvested strawberries...............and only a couple of quarts total over the past 3 years.

I have another 31 years until I'm 91 - so I should have fruit by then.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Aug 7, 2015 9:16 AM CST
Most pears need a second one for cross pollination. I have a pear tree (Honey Sweet) that is touted as self fertile, but I get maybe 4 or 5 pears on it every year. They are very good though. Do you grow your figs in containers I'm guessing? Apple trees should be producing if they are 5 years old. Although some cultivars take a really long time to produce fruit.
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 7, 2015 9:25 AM CST
Geof -- "Fruit just doesn't seem to be my forte" -- I'm right there with you! Blueberries, grapes, cherry trees... mostly ADR (ain't doin' right!) Hilarious!
Apparently being able to grow veggies successfully doesn't translate to small fruit that well.
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Name: Geof
NW Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
Region: Wisconsin Dahlias Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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mandolls
Aug 7, 2015 3:49 PM CST
Yes the figs and the olive are in containers and come inside in the fall. The pear is from Stark Bros - it is a grafted dwarf that should have two different kinds of asian pears on it. If I ever get 4-5 pears on it I'll be thrilled. The first two winters the apples and the pear had a combination of deer and rabbit damage, that really set them back. Plus I am espalier-ing them, which may be slowing them down, but I have yet to see a flower on any of them, let alone fruit setting.
(Zone 6a)
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Celene
Aug 8, 2015 6:45 PM CST
Theoretically Brown Turkey fig is hardy here, but you'd have to site it really, really well. I am going to encourage him to maybe plant one or two trees and see how it goes.

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