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Growing dwarf fruit trees — The Grow Network Community
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Growing dwarf fruit trees

burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 154 ✭✭✭
edited September 2018 in Growing Food
Pears are easy, my trees are loaded even with our severe drought.  Out of 4 apple trees I have maybe a dozen apples this year.  Last year I had 15 bushels.  If you had fruit and it all fell before ripening, you probably had worms.  If you don't want to spray, you can try sticky balls.  If I have a problem I don't mind spraying.  So hopefully someone who goes totally organic can give you a better solution.


  • NanCNanC Posts: 53 ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I have had a hard time with my potted dwarf lemon tree last two years. It also dropped its many blossoms. The second year I realized I needed to fertilize it, but again most of the blossoms dropped. I can only think the second problem occurred because it wasn't getting enough warmth and sun, being indoors in the winter in a colder room. Well, thankfully it blossomed again later when back outside in full sun and more fruit developed finally. While it is not following its usual rhythm of blossoming only in March and the fruit turning yellow in December, it is doing well. Now it has two cycles of fruit on it and the first cycle is turning yellow in September. Weird, but at least a combo of fertilizing and being patient seems to be working.

    Nevertheless, that tree has mystified me before; I thought it was dying during the second year, but it came striking back.

    I'm thinking of Paul Gautschi Back to Eden gardening who has amazing apple trees which are wellsteeped in woodchips. You can probably find his apple trees on youtube and how he prunes them to get even more harvest. Over time the woodchips, as they decay, give plants what they need and thrive. Also helps with pollution, breaking down harmful chemicals from rain and air. I put several inches in the lemon tree pot.

    Not sure what to do about pests, other than to strengthen the tree with nutrients. But I may be asking others in the near future, next year perhaps, as the Spotted Lanternfly from Asia is invading our area and likes fruit trees.
  • JensJens Posts: 367 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    Going another directions here. How many varieties of apple do you have. Normally apple trees will requiere at least one other variety of apple to set fruits successful and keep them.

    The loss of fruits early on is more or less normal if the tree had a heavy bloom. There are just to much fruit on the tree to be supported by the tree and the tree gets rid of them. Unfortunately sometimes all fruit set is gone in this process. you can assist and somewhat take control of it by pinching some of the fruits once they have formed.

    As for the pests I would think of interplanting with some other crops to deter and confuse the pests. if it only apple trees in one area they straight go for it. Maybe some fertilizing plants would be helpful two. I am thinking of black currant, wormwood or something in this direction for detering and clover or legumens for fertilising and of course some comfrey.

    This year I have the problem that my potted dwarf tree has set a lot of fruit but due to the drought and some mismanagement in fertilizing they stay quite small.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited September 2018
    What zone are you in?

    Also, what variety of Apple do you have?

    Asking because this might help diagnose the problem...
  • burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 154 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I live in southwestern Pennsylvania. The trees are red delicious. Also have a dwarf Bosc pear tree. The pears are great, just the apples seem to take a hit.
  • sherryosherryo Posts: 58
    edited September 2018
    Are all the apple trees Red Delicious? I think apples need at least two varieties to pollinate enough flowers for a crop.  Unpollinated fruit will fall off before growing and any self-pollinated fruit may be small and mishapen.

    The pests may/may not be unrelated to the pollination issue.  Your local ag dept should list the most common pests with pictures.  Identifying what it is will help target the least invasive way to address it.
  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 2,083 admin
    edited September 2018
    One thing to remember about apple trees is that they need another apple tree that blooms at the same time. Also, if there is another tree that blooms at the same time that is located within the distance a bee can fly, it should pollinate. You do not have to have two right in your yard.

    I would suggest talking to someone at your local nursery about both problems.  Take a sample, in a closed zip lock bag (always appreciated), of your fruit. Do this only if there is evidence of something showing in your sample.

    Wind can be an enemy of later harvest. Where I live (Canadian prairies), we have four enemies at bloom time that can determine a good harvest or spoil it. Often, y out don't know for sure until the fruit forms (or not). These are: frost, wind, rain, hail. Any of these, or any combination means slim pickings.

    If it is an apple maggot, which is quite common, they have a cycle of laying just under the skin of the tiny apple in spring (I have also heard that they lay in the flower), then hatch and eat their way out in a maze of tunnels, which would be evident. This worm will exit the apple through a small hole, drop to the ground, bury under, pupate and emerge as a moth the next spring and start the cycle again.

    When I worked at the nursery, we sold sprays. We told customers to spray the trees 4-5 times per year. We also sold traps with Tanglefoot that was intended to trap the moths. This didn't always give full success, however, and we were told to tell customers that once they are in the soil, it is forever infested. The best course of action if you didn't want to do all the work was to cut down the tree and don't plant another there. It was the only true way to break that cycle.

    The only other way I am aware of to deal with it is to always clean up all of your fallen fruit...daily, and dispose of it where it will not cause a problem (we would have fed it to our pigs, horse). In conjunction with this, you can pick your fruit slightly underripe, before the worms form. Your apples will still be good, and...as a bonus, they can be utilized to make your own pectin as underripe apples are best for this. ; )

    If it is dry when your fruit is forming, water your tree around its drip line (outer circumference of the leaf area). This will help with fruit size.

    Proper pruning can also help determine fruit size & quantity.

    I hope you find your solution. Once you do, please share it with us so that we can all add to our wealth of knowledge!
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