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Very often the orchard lacks space for all the crops and varieties that the owner would like to grow. Ordinary Russian summer residents know firsthand about this problem, trying to fit a residential building, a vegetable garden and an orchard on six acres of land. An excellent way out in such a situation can be planting dwarf trees, which are not inferior to conventional crops in yield and quality of fruits, but take up much less space. Compact fruit trees have a lot of advantages, but there are some nuances in growing "dwarfs" that must be taken into account.
The features of "dwarfs" and recommendations for their cultivation will be discussed in this article. It will also list the most popular varieties of dwarf fruit trees and provide gardeners' reviews of some of them.
Features of "dwarfs"
Dwarf fruit trees for the garden are a group of crops that are notable for their low height and the presence of an end point of growth. All compact fruit trees are divided into two groups:
- natural "dwarfs" that grow up to 1.5-2 meters and stop growing on their own;
- grafted "dwarfs", which can be obtained by grafting undersized varieties of fruit trees on a special dwarf rootstock. Such trees grow, as a rule, up to 2.5-3 meters, they must be properly cut, limiting growth and regulating the direction of the shoots.
Important! Most of the compact fruit trees growing in domestic gardens are grafted "dwarfs". Such crops need more attention, they are more difficult to grow, but the cost of seedlings is several times lower than the price of natural dwarf trees.
Choosing dwarf varieties for growing on their own plot, the gardener should be aware of some of the features of these trees. First of all, "dwarfs" have a small crown and the same compact root system. Therefore, they require much less space in the garden than conventional tall varieties.
With all these advantages, it is necessary to understand that the root system of dwarf fruit is located superficially, so the tree will need more moisture and nutrients.
Another feature of dwarf fruit is earlier fruiting - already in the second or third year after planting, the gardener can wait for the first harvest. Natural "dwarfs" have a short life cycle - about 10-15 years, after this time the trees grow old, their productivity sharply decreases. Grafted undersized varieties live longer - 20-30 years, here a lot depends on the lifespan of the rootstock.
Attention! When choosing a stock for a dwarf garden, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of a particular region. It is on the roots of the tree on which the "dwarf" will develop that its resistance to low temperatures and drought, requirements for soil composition and care depend.
Advantages and disadvantages
Most of the reviews about dwarf fruit trees are positive - these crops are in demand among gardeners, more and more high-quality rootstocks are appearing, there is a choice in accordance with the climatic characteristics of the region.
The biggest plus of low-growing varieties is the convenience of growing and caring for them: it is much easier to maintain a two-three-meter tree than a taller crop.
The advantages of dwarf breeds do not end there, gardeners note the following qualities:
- Early fruiting. Within two to three years after planting, the undersized seedling begins to bear fruit, and in 6-8 years the fruiting of the tree becomes stable. This happens several years earlier than the usual tall varieties.
- The yield of the "dwarfs" at the bottom is not worse, often even better than that of ordinary fruit trees. It is thanks to this quality that dwarf crops have become so widespread: in a small area from a small tree, you can collect as much fruit as from a tall one.
- The quality and size of the fruits of the "dwarfs" are in no way inferior to the standard varieties of fruit trees. The fruits are just as tasty, juicy and aromatic. And their size is often even larger and more uniform.
- The compact size of the crown makes it much easier to care for the tree. Pruning, spraying, harvesting becomes much easier, no need for high stairs and special devices.
- A dwarf tree will require much less nutrients and processing means, this is a significant savings in the gardener's budget.
- Dwarf varieties have shorter and earlier ripening periods than ordinary trees. This is due to accelerated vegetation and rapid sap flow.
- Compact size allows you to grow one tall tree or 4-6 "dwarfs" on the same area.
Attention! Not everything is so smooth: the "dwarfs" also have negative qualities, which it is better to know about even before buying a seedling.
This is not to say that the disadvantages of a dwarf garden are very critical, and it is better to abandon the idea of compact gardening. But it is imperative to take these nuances into account:
- Large material investments. You will have to spend a lot more money on the purchase of seedlings than on the purchase of conventional varieties. The problem is solved by grafting inexpensive low-growing varieties on a dwarf stock. But, even in this case, you will have to spend money on purchasing a pair of plants, instead of one.
- Frequency of withdrawal. You need to care for a dwarf garden in the same way as for a traditional one. But this will have to be done more often: mini-trees should be watered regularly, fertilized more, and treated stably against pests and diseases.
- On average, "dwarfs" live half as much, so the gardener will have to uproot old plants more often and buy new ones.
- Low trees with shallow root systems find it more difficult to cope with gusts of wind or heavy crops, so they need support.
- Due to the high yield and poorly developed root system, dwarf trees need to be fed more abundantly and more often. For this, both organic and mineral fertilizers are used.
Dwarf crops definitely deserve attention. It is better to check the quality of such varieties on your own horticultural experience.
Varieties of "dwarfs"
Modern breeding is moving forward with huge strides, and today almost any type of dwarf crops are on sale. Every gardener can start a real mini-orchard with apples, pears, cherries, peaches and apricots on his plot.
Miniature apple trees
The first dwarf trees that appeared in Russia are miniature apple trees. Usually summer residents of the country grow them on a special M9 rootstock, which retards the growth of the tree and contributes to its rapid vegetation. Not all low-growing apple trees are suitable for the climatic features of the country, but there are several successful varieties.
The fruits of this dwarf apple ripen in August. The average apple weight is 110-120 grams. The fruit tastes good, the fruit is juicy, fragrant, with firm pulp. The peel is colored yellow-green, covered with stripes.
A dwarf super early variety, fruit ripening begins in the second half of July and lasts almost a month. The yield of the tree is very good. Apples grow to medium size and have a pleasant caramel flavor and aroma.
Advice! It is recommended to regularly spray the Melba tree against the scab, since the "dwarf" has weak immunity to this disease.
The overwhelming majority of undersized pears grown in Russia belong to mid- and late-ripening varieties.
Dessert variety with round fruits. Large pears - 180-200 grams each. The peel of the fruit is green.
A dwarf variety with late ripening. This winter pear produces large, sweet and sour fruits. The shade of ripe fruits is yellow-green with a redhead clearly visible through the peel.
Not only pome fruit, but also stone fruit crops can be dwarf. It is recommended to grow one of the following varieties in most of the territory of Russia.
This dwarf plum has very good frost resistance, therefore it is suitable even for the northern regions of the country. The crop ripens early and quickly. The fruits are inky blue, large and oval in shape.
A bonsai of this variety has a very significant plus - unpretentiousness. In any climatic conditions, on almost any soil, the plum harvest ripens quickly and pleases with quality and quantity. Plums are oval, sweet and tasty. The dwarf variety President is excellent for growing on an industrial scale.
Peach trees are not very tall anyway, and dwarf varieties of this culture rarely even reach two meters.
The most common dwarf peach is the Sweet Cup fig hybrid. The culture pleases with high yield and very good winter hardiness. The flesh of the fruit is snow-white, and the taste is very pleasant, sweet.
This peach is also fig. The dwarf variety is highly resistant to various diseases. The fruits are very large, the peaches are sweet and juicy. The variety is great for both private and industrial cultivation.
Believe it or not, even apricots can be dwarf today. This culture loves warmth and sun, therefore it is recommended to grow sweet apricots in the southern and central regions of the country.
The name of this dwarf variety speaks for itself: the tree perfectly tolerates drought and low temperatures. Apricots are large, aromatic and tasty. The fruit bone is easily separated from the pulp. The peel is thin, and the flesh of the apricot is sugary.
Medium ripening dwarf variety. The tree bears large fruits, weighing about 100 grams. Apricots are slightly sour, tinged with a lemon shade, but they are very aromatic.
Several years ago, our whole family moved to live in the countryside. The question immediately arose about the choice of fruit trees, and it was decided to purchase dwarf seedlings. We knew about the shortcomings of all "dwarfs" and about the short duration of their life, but we really wanted variety on six hundred square meters and a quick result. What can I say as a mini garden owner? I love the dwarf garden and am pleased with the quality and quantity of its harvest. But for beginners, I recommend considering the following:
• the choice of dwarf varieties is limited in our country;
• it is as difficult to find a quality stock as it is to buy a real "dwarf";
• the root system of these trees is fibrous, so they need regular moisture (I use a drip irrigation system);
• You need to feed trees at least twice a year, but it is better to do it more often.
In general, I am satisfied with my garden and I think in the future to rejuvenate it with the same "dwarfs".
Today, there are many more interesting and promising options than standard gardening. One of the most popular directions today is the cultivation of dwarf fruit trees. This business has both its pluses and minuses, but every year more and more farmers and summer residents are switching to mini-gardening.