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  1. #1
    Albanach is offline Seedling
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    Jan 2011
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    Rep. of Ireland, Co. Kerry
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    Default Dwarf Apple Trees

    Along with mulching and pruning the gooseberries I did the same to a dwarf apple tree which has apparently produced a limited amount of fruit in the past. Here is a few photos...

    Attachment 27878

    Attachment 27879

    Attachment 27880

    There are loads of blossom buds ready to explode, is there anything I can do either now or in the autumn to improve the harvest of apples? This tree is tiny, I know dwarf trees are meant to be short but are they meant to be this short?

  2. #2
    FB.'s Avatar
    FB.
    FB. is offline Early Fruiter
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    Aug 2008
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    Cambridgeshire, UK
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    Default

    In fairness, we don't know the quality of the soil. In really bad soil a dwarf rootstock may remain a 2ft stick with little branching or fruit.

    A rootstock such as M27 can easily be kept to 3ft.

    Judging by the nearby grass which competes with the tree, the "dwarf" might be on something as "strong" as M9, or even M26 if the soil isn't very good.

    The likely shading from the nearby trees/hedges will also block the energy-producing sunlight from the little tree, slowing its growth and possibly causing the fruit to be less sweet and flavoursome than it should be.

    If you want more fruit, I suggest clearing a much larger area of bare soil (mulched with manure or sompost) so that the tree can spread its roots without having to compete with the grass. But if it's M27 rootstock (especially if the variety grafted is also dwarf) then it may not get much bigger.

    If you clear some of the grass, take care not to damage the little trees roots because that would slow its progress considerably - this is especially true now that it needs those roots to power its emergence from dormancy.

    Judging by the trees size, it can probably only mature 2-3 dozen eating apples, or 1-2 dozen cookers. Any more than that and they won't reach a good size because the tree just isn't strong enough to feed all those fruits.
    So would suggest "thinning" a heavy crop in mid-June (when fruits are about 2cm across), to leave 3-4 dozen good apples. These will probably be thinned further by pest damage, to a couple of dozen.

    If you really want it to grow bigger as quickly as possible, then it needs winter pruning (December-February; while dormant) and not too heavy fruiting for a year or two; most dwarfs struggle to both grow and fruit unless the growing conditions are exceptional.

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