Do you dream of having your own orchard, but you are on a small suburban lot? With a keen eye to landscape design along with the right plant varieties, you can end up with a small but productive fruit grove of your very own. The following are a few ways to pull this off.
Idea #1: Consider the espalier
Espaliered trees are those that are specially trained to grow flat against a wall or fence. The trees are planted next to the wall as saplings, and then all but the side branches are trimmed off as the tree grows. The side branches are trained to grow along horizontal wires that run up the wall at intervals. The result is trees that take very little space but can still be productive. Apples and pears are just two of the fruit options that grow well in this manner.
Idea #2: Look for dwarf varieties
Dwarf trees are another option. These are usually productive fruit varieties that are grafted onto a rootstock that encourages smaller growth. Peaches, cherries and apples are commonly available as dwarf trees. A dwarf is generally much smaller at maturity than standard size varieties, so you may be able to fit two dwarves in the yard instead of a single standard. There are also columnar dwarf varieties, primarily for apples, although other fruits are bred to grow well like this. These trees don't produce lateral branches; instead, both leaves and fruits occur close to the trunk so minimal room is needed.
Idea #3: Try potted trees
Some trees can be kept small by growing them in pots. Citrus, such as lemons, is a popular fruit for this treatment. Smaller varieties are grown in large pots, which are typically kept on wheeled carts for easy transport. You can then grow the fruit trees on a patio, deck or front porch. As an added benefit, it is also possible to bring the plants indoors for winter, which allows you to grow tropical fruits in cooler climates.
Idea #4: Choose bushier fruits
Not all fruits have to grow on tall trees. Many berries grow on bushes, which can double as hedges. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and serviceberries are just a few of the smaller bush-type fruits available. You can also look for some vining fruits, like kiwi, and then train them to grow around a backyard pergola or up some lattice work. If you really need to work at squeezing in fruits, try some of the varieties that grow well in pots, like strawberries, or a variety that doubles as a ground cover, like lingonberry.
Talk with a landscaping company like Dansons Landscaping Inc for more ideas on fitting fruit into your small yard.