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Dwarf Apples

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

The culture of dwarf apples commercially has not been undertaken to any large extent in our country. For many years, however, dwarfs have been grown in private gardens on country estates where a few choice apples of high quality were desired. Interest has been awakened in trees of a low form, which may be more readily reached for pruning and gathering of the fruit. One reason for the in-creasing interest in dwarf apple trees is the demand for more high grade fruit. As at present grown and handled on standard trees, there is a too small proportion of fine apples, such as are in demand by the best trade.

There are two types of dwarf trees, the Paradise, which in character is a strictly dwarf tree. It has a small root system and in most varieties does not grow above 8 or 9 feet high. This has been used principally in gardens, and is capable of being trained in various ways and forms upon walls, as is largely done in Europe, and upon trellises in our own country. According to George T. Powell of Columbia county, New York, the Paradise dwarf is well suited to gardens and to places where land is limited and where but few trees of small size may be planted. The trees come into bearing very early, and are desirable on this account. Mr. Powell has had the Cox Orange Pippin set fruit on these trees at one year old, and the Red Astra-chan at two years, while at three years he has had as many as 6o apples set on a single tree.

" The other type of dwarf apple with which I am working," says Mr. Powell, "is that propagated on roots of the Doucin, which, in character, is a semi dwarf growing from 16 to 18 feet high. This tree gives promise of having value in commercial or-chards, for it will have capacity for setting a liberal quantity of fruit.

" The root system being small, dwarf trees need to be planted deeper than standards. The union between the bud and the stock should be set 4 to 5 inches below the level of the ground. With this deep planting the question will arise, Will not the budded stock throw out roots above the union, and change the trees into standards? While we are not far enough along in our work to know about this, we do not anticipate difficulty from this source. From experience with dwarf pear trees, our judgment is that by pruning the size and form of the apple trees may be successfully controlled.

The influence of the dwarf root of these trees will dominate the stock very largely, even if a few roots should push out from above the union. The deep planting I consider highly important, for we intend to develop trees of bearing capacity, hence we shall increase their size, keeping them low, but spreading out the side branches, giving a heavy bush form.

"In our first planting of a block of 200 Astrachan trees we made this mistake, and at three years from the time they were set, by building up the large. bush form, when loaded with fruit as they were that year, we found them tipping over when the soil was very soft and wet after heavy rains. As we were anxious to make the proof of the value of these trees for commercial planting as soon as possible, instead of taking them up and planting deeper, we had them heavily banked to hold them in place, and think they will carry a full crop of fruit through the coming season without difficulty.

"In England and France the Paradise trees are frequently planted 6 feet apart each way. The soil is very heavily fertilized, and the pruning is very close. With this close planting flowers and small fruits are frequently grown between the trees, and this is the reason for the very heavy fertilizing done. We are planting the Doucin, or half dwarf trees, 2o. feet apart each way, and the Paradise between one way at 10 feet. Another plan is planting standard trees 4o feet apart each way, and inter-planting with Doucin dwarfs as fillers, 20 feet each way. After working with this plan, I am inclined to change the distances, setting standards 5o feet each way, Doucin dwarfs as fillers 25 feet and Paradise dwarfs one way at 12 1/2 feet.

" For Paradise trees only the varieties of highest quality should be planted, suitable for box packing. This would include Esopus Spitzenburg, Jonathan, Newtown Pippin, Cox Orange, McIntosh, Grimes, Chenango, and Fall Strawberry. For the Doucin, a wider variety may be selected, Spy, Baldwin, Rhode Island Greening, Russet, Fall Pippin, Duchess, Wealthy, Twenty Ounce, Astrachan, Bailey Sweet, and other popular kinds, in addition to the list for Paradise trees."

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