Planting dwarf apple trees
Planting requirements apply to all low growing seedlings.
Firstly, the grafting site of the seedling must be located above the soil surface level, otherwise the grafted variety can move to its roots, which were formed after the stem was buried. And this will lead to the fact that your dwarf will cease to be a dwarf, will begin to grow vigorously.
Secondly, do not forget that your seedling is characterized by a shallow bedding of the root system, therefore, the roots must be carefully and evenly distributed along the near-stem circle, avoiding bending upward. After that, you can fill up the soil.
Thirdly. Try to ensure that there are no voids around the roots, that is, the soil should adhere very tightly to them. To do this, they covered it with a part of the earth and – compacted with your foot, covered it again – compacted, just do it carefully, because the wood of dwarfs is extremely fragile: put your foot in a radius, toe to the seedling, heel to the edge of the hole, compact the edges more. To protect the seedling from sunburn, place it on the north side of the pre-hammered stake.
And the last thing. Arrange a hole around the seedling, pour 2-3 buckets of water into it, mulch the soil with humus or peat to preserve soil moisture. And then, even in rainy weather, you need to water.
And one more remark. It is not necessary to deepen the insertion of a dwarf rootstock into the soil, since we have quite snowy winters, and decay is possible when deepening.
Planting an apple tree on a dwarf rootstock requires the mandatory installation of supports, preferably in the year of tree planting. Otherwise, under the influence of the wind, the severity of the crop, excessive soil moisture, they can tilt and even fall. The support can be a strong wooden stake or a piece of pipe installed at a distance of 1015 cm from the trunk, the trunk is tied to it with a strong twine or wire with a figure eight gasket.
The main characteristics of low-growing trees
Weak trees differ significantly from vigorous ones. The distance from the roots to the most distant parts of the crown in dwarf trees is much less, therefore, less nutrition is spent on the movement of substances and the construction of the tree itself, and more of it goes into the formation of the crop.
Shoots on dwarf trees have shortened internodes and large leaves. A significant number of shoots form flower buds. Dwarf apple trees, the varieties of which are grafted on low-growing rootstocks, have at least 50% of such shoots, and about 596 in vigorous ones. The root system of dwarf rootstocks occupies 2-3 times less soil volume compared to vigorous ones, the bulk of the roots lies superficially, the tree is economical water, it is easier to feed, therefore it is easier to care for it.
Even the structure of wood differs in paradizoks (low-growing trees), due to which it is less durable than in vigorous ones, but it is able to quickly accumulate a large supply of nutrients in the tissues and complete the growing season long before the onset of cold weather. This ensures the high winter hardiness of the paradises.
Benefits of dwarf trees
- Early maturity – the first fruits in plants of individual scion-rootstock combinations appear at the age of one. Fruiting begins at 2-3 years, and for medium-sized ones – 3-5 years after planting.
- Rapid increase in yields over the years. At 10-12 years of age, dwarf trees can produce maximum yields.
- High commercial quality of fruits. The size of the fruits obtained from plants grafted onto dwarf and semi-dwarf rootstocks is higher than from vigorous trees. Fruits of low-growing trees contain more dry matter and sugars than the same varieties grown on vigorous rootstocks. They are more even, have a more intense color. The yield of marketable fruits of the first grade can reach 90-95%.
- Early ripening of fruits.
- Due to the lower crowns, fruits are less likely to be blown off by the wind, and falling fruits are less damaged.
- Convenience of work when removing fruits. Almost all crops can be harvested while standing on the ground. The percentage of the drop at hand is significantly reduced, and the output of marketable products increases.
- Simple tree care, including pruning, pesticide treatment. The fight against diseases and pests is more reliable due to better processing of the crown, in addition, the consumption of drugs is reduced.
- Quick response to watering, fertilization thanks to the shallow root system.
- The possibility of growing trees in areas with a close standing of groundwater, where the growth of vigorous trees is difficult or even impossible.
- Earlier end of growth, and, therefore, their better preparation for overwintering than vigorous rootstocks.
- The ability to form crowns in the most bizarre way, which in itself can bring joy to the gardener.
Disadvantages of dwarf apple trees
- Shorter lifespan compared to vigorous ones. The short life span of low-growing trees is sometimes mistakenly considered a significant disadvantage. However, plantings of a dwarf apple tree in 15-20 years of their life are capable of producing as many fruits as vigorous ones in 30-40 years. Gardens with a short life cycle make it possible to renew the assortment faster.
- Weak frost resistance of the root system of some types of weakly growing rootstocks, which requires shelter for the winter.
- Apple trees on a dwarf rootstock have increased requirements for soil fertility due to the surface placement of root systems and their relatively small volume. With high agricultural technology, this property plays a positive role; with poor care, it turns into its opposite.
- The tendency to overload the crop, which, with insufficient care, leads to crushing of the fruits, deterioration of their commercial qualities, and to periodicity in fruiting.
- The possibility of a large inclination and even falling under the influence of the wind, the severity of the crop, excessive waterlogging of the soil, which makes it necessary to use supports.
So, a comparison of the positive and negative features of plants grown on low-growing rootstocks allows us to conclude that positive qualities prevail, therefore, it is advisable to grow such apple trees in backyard and collective gardens of the non-chernozem zone.
Formation of the Ural dwarf apple trees
Dwarf apple trees, varieties Mazunin are natural stlanes, they do not need to form and trim the crown, the exception is sanitary pruning, when it is necessary to cut out broken or poorly located branches. But it must be borne in mind that the closer the branches are to the ground, the less the danger of their winter freezing. Ural dwarfs, grafted onto an ordinary stock, grow to 1.5-2 meters, and on a weak stock – up to 70-100 cm… They will take the creeping form themselves, without any special tricks. But for us, cultivating our gardens in the harsh Ural and Siberian conditions, it is better to try to make the crowns more squat so that they winter completely under the snow. It is quite simple to do this if you begin to bend both the trunk and the branches from the very first year of planting to a permanent place.
In the first year, the trunk is bent down and allowed horizontally into 20 cmfrom the soil. By the third year, it turns out that the entire crown does not rise higher50 cm… If such a crown is covered for the winter with a flooring made of boards, it will wonderfully overwinter under a layer of snow.