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dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

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dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  Feistywidget on 11/1/2011, 7:40 pm

NOTE: This post is for FUTURE reference. It's not possible for me to grow
fruit trees right now, I don't have the money to construct the boxes, nor for the cost of the fruit trees themselves.

I was doing a little research on growing fruit trees in containers, and found an article about doing them in raised beds. It said that if the tree was a small enough (a dwarf variety) it could be grown in raised beds.

I'm wondering if it's possible to grow dwarf fruit trees in SFG? If so, how many fruit trees per square? I'm assuming one, but I don't know.

If would just be better for the tree to grow it in a raised bed, what should the dimensions for the length, width, and depth of the bed be?

A couple of other questions regarding this that are off topic but I'll ask them anyway.

When you get a bare root fruit tree and plant it, how long after the tree is planted will it take for the tree to bare fruit? Most bare root fruit trees I see are 1-2 years old when you first plant them.

What type of fertilizer does a fruit tree prefer and how often do you fertilize it? This is when it's first planted, and after it's been growing for a few years.

*Persimmon (Japanese variety)

*Lemon

*Apple

*Pear

*Mango

*Orange

*Pomegranate (not sure on this one)

*Peach

*Banana


*Fig
*Apricot (again, not sure, something I'm debating)
*Paw-Paw
*Plum

http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Gro-1002851-Citrus-Fertilizer-12-Pack/dp/B000JJYPYE

According to the guidelines, you only fertilize once a season, in spring and fall.

Is that the general rule-of-thumb with fertilizing fruit trees?

With the trees that require tropical/warm climates (mango, papaya, and banana) I know it's recommended the gardening zone should be 9-10. However, is it possible to grow them in cooler climates, such as 7 or 8, if it doesn't snow in the area and there is no frost?

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  quiltbea on 11/1/2011, 11:35 pm

Even dwarf trees take more room that most SFG allow unless you give one 4' box per tree. I don't grow my dwarf fruit trees in boxes, but along my driveway. When I get the year-old whips I plant them in a generous hole without any fertilizer nor do I stake them. I want their roots to strengthen naturally with the movement of the winds. As they grow, I add compost around the tree from a few inches from the trunk to the outer branches. I had a Honey Crisp Apple produce 4 apples its 2nd year but that's rare. Dwarf trees take 3-5 years to produce. I don't think that you can grow the tropicals in Michigan unless they are in a conservatory but you should be able to grow things like apples, peaches, pears, cherries and plums in that area. Just check the zone limit on the variety that interests you.



Here's my 2-yr old Honey Crisp last year the end of June. They harvested as full-size fruits.

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  duhh on 11/3/2011, 12:26 am

I just went to a fruit tree class and the teacher suggests getting regular fruit trees, not dwarf, and just pruning them to keep them smaller. His reasoning was that dwarf root stock doesn't do well here in Az. Your area might be different. It was about urban orcharding, backyard orcharding. The idea is to have many fruit trees, keep them smaller and more managable.

I have some oranges on one tree that was planted last year. I hear that it is 2-3 years from planting for them to bear fruit.

As for fertilizing. . I know for citrus trees it's a couple times a year. Valentine, Memorial Day and Labor day. Also don't fertilize the first year or you can burn the roots.
That is all I really know! I was thinking of putting each tree in it's own 4x4 box, but decided against it. Mainly because of the cost, but also because I didn't feel it needed it, I can always put mels mix around the base if it need a little extra something.

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  AZDYJ2K on 11/3/2011, 3:42 am

I think an SFG is not deep enough and the MM is to loose to sustain a fruit tree. I agree with duhh that if you need an extra boost then just put some 5 way compost (at the right times of the year) around the water line of the tree.

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  Lavender Debs on 11/3/2011, 10:34 am

I currently have 4 dwarf fruit trees growing in Mel's Mix but not in a SFG. I keep mine in tall ceramic pots that hold a whole 4x4 garden worth of soil. They are doing fine. The reason I choose large pots is that I often have to move them if a storm or snow is coming in. I cannot move the SFG. I can cover it but wind can remove it too quickly. I got cherries the very first year. Still waiting on pears.

The thing about container gardening fruit trees is that every three years they need to be removed from the container for a root trim. I want to discourage (clip off) large anchor roots which promotes small feeder roots. Then I replant in fresh mix. This is a big job and scary the first time you do it but the trees seem to recover from this quicker than I do. I put a few worms in the pots and try to keep them happy rather than keeping the trees happy. The worms keep the soil perfect, no compacting. I'm not sure if this is true with apples and cherries the way it is with citrus, but more feeding is done through the leaves than through the roots.

Best of luck.

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  sfg4uKim on 12/27/2011, 6:58 pm

I'm glad you posted this as I just ordered several dwarf fruit trees. I had already decided to NOT put them in a SFG as I actually had one that I literally "threw" into a SFG near the house before we moved to German for 3 years.

I KNEW better, but my plan was to transplant it when I came back for a visit, but never did it. My first year back I got sick and couldn't garden that whole year. In that time it managed to get into my plumbing and I had to hire someone to remove it.

____________________________

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  Chopper on 12/28/2011, 3:00 am

This is a copy, somewhat edited, of a post from another thread but speaks to the same thing. If I have the time I will send a picture of one raised bed apple tree I know:

Re: the trees. You could use a version of SFG for them too. A 4X4 higher (1 foot or more) raised structure (say pretty brick, stucco or other attractive wall material) and fill with Mel's Mix. In time, and with worm activity, enough water, and good microbes, by the time the tree works its way into the native part of the soil it should be mellowed somewhat. The raised beds would also allow for more focused watering
thus making your watering more efficient.

There is a 'movement' or scheme called Backyard Orchard that recommends keeping regular trees pruned small so that a person who is caring for trees themselves in a small space with just personal needs to meet can successfully have a large variety in their limited space. They might have some good ideas.

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  plantoid on 12/28/2011, 5:17 pm

dwarf stock, pruned and grown as wired cordons in deep beds seems to be a way to go for difficult places .

Here in the UK a guy I know has a limestone bedrock 20 inches down from the surface . Yet he sucessfuly grows some 15 or more dessert apple trees on a thirty foot long by 2 foot wide by 1 foot high walled bed /strip of gound .. They are loaded with fruit every year and stand only 36 inches high to match in with the rest of his back gardens

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Would be neat to try

Post  CharlesB on 1/6/2012, 8:12 pm

You can grow bonsai fruit trees in small pots, so with enough pruning and planning it could be done. Of course the fruit yield would be limited.

I am going to try some blueberry plants in my beds this year.

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  Chopper on 1/6/2012, 10:16 pm

Here is an ideal way to grow fruit trees in MM and with a SF method. The picture is of an Anna Apple tree (the ones that can take the heat here). It produced beautifully this year:


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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  LittleGardener on 1/6/2012, 11:54 pm

subscribing.
as another project planned for, yeah decades Smile Thank you for sharing all your experiences...

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  plantoid on 1/7/2012, 2:23 pm

Put " Fruit tree forms " into wikipedia for some shaped trees that you can use in ANSQFG beds .
There is nothing to stop you using dwarf root stock with a decent quality fruiting stock grafted on it and pointing the cordons out away from each other on the shaded side of things or using a single espalier and growing quick salads stuff in the same beds just so long as you have an earth base floor in the bed to let the roots go down as much as they feel like growing .

Using the cordon or espalier should help overcome the heat problem and the tree sweating itself to death through too many leaves perspiring ,it is after all just a creative design pruning method that also reduces the number of leaves.

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  miinva on 1/7/2012, 9:35 pm

@plantoid wrote:Here in the UK a guy I know has a limestone bedrock 20 inches down from the surface . Yet he sucessfuly grows some 15 or more dessert apple trees on a thirty foot long by 2 foot wide by 1 foot high walled bed /strip of gound .. They are loaded with fruit every year and stand only 36 inches high to match in with the rest of his back gardens

It would be great to see pictures, if that's possible. Smile My family LOVES fruit so I'd like to figure out how to successfully grow apples, cherries, apples, pears, and figs. There's a place in the county next to us that grows 249 kinds of apples, but they do it traditionally, with sprays and chemicals.

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  plantoid on 1/8/2012, 3:43 pm

This March when I go back to visit my extended family & circle of friends 260 miles away I'll see if I can remember to take a camera and get some photos of the cordon apple trees. they should be in bud around 23 March unless the frost hits them hard .

Did you look at the wiki pages as I suggested ?

There are also loads of pictures in google " images " for the various types of shaped tree form .

I have a four year old grape vine grown espalier style running on three levels of straining wire against the bungalow's South facing wall,.
Last year we had six small bunches of very sweet black grapes from it . This year should see the start of an improvement to around eight or ten ( this is the maximum for this vine in the UK's climate ).

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

Post  miinva on 1/8/2012, 3:55 pm

I did, thank you for the links. I dream of having fruit trees and especially figs, which need a south-facing wall here in central Virginia. My family LOVES figs! Smile

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Re: dwarf fruit trees in SFG?

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