Swansons Nursery :: Seattle's Favorite Garden Center sionce 1924 :: 206-782-2543
Swansons Nursery - Since 1924

Enjoy Your Own Home OrchardGrow your own fruits

Backyard Orchards
Whether you have lots of room or just a little room, you can grow fruit trees in your garden - and the best part, it is not difficult. Backyard orchard “culture”, is a method of growing fruit trees differently from commercial orchards, to fit into the small places and areas people have available in their urban landscape.

Fruit trees can be espaliered along a fence, multiple trees in one hole, growing columnar trees in a container, or even growing combination trees with grafts of several different varieties of one type of fruit on a single tree. Any of these options, work perfectly in any size backyard.

The key to any of these methods is controlling the size of the trees you decide to plant. Small fruit trees yield manageable size crops and are much easier to prune, thin and harvest than a larger tree. Keeping your trees smaller also allows you to grow more varieties of trees in your space.

Here are a few tips to ensure the fruit trees you plant in your backyard orchard don’t get too big:
Homegrown Apples

Select the right variety
Fruit trees can be grown on “dwarfing root stocks” The dwarfing rootstocks will help to control the growth rate and size of a tree, but the best way to control the size and shape of any fruit tree is by pruning.

Prune during the right season
Winter is typically the best time to prune your fruit tree, while it’s dormant. Summer, though, is the most effective time for general light pruning to control a fruit tree’s size and shape. Pruning in the summer helps to control the vigor of the tree. Plus it is a lot easier to make cutting decisions when fruit is present on the tree.

Select the right site
The optimum site has full sun, good air circulation, and well-drained soil. No matter is your soil is good or poor, always add compost or a soil amendment when you plant your tree. A good transplant fertilizer will also help give your tree a great start. If you have extremely poor-draining soil, consider planting your tree in a raised bed. Up to 4 dwarf fruit trees can actually be planted in a 4 ft x 4 ft raised bed that is at least a foot high. Proper fertilization and watering will also help control the growth rate of fruit trees. Fruit trees should not be grown with a lot of nitrogen and water. Watering should only be necessary a few times a year during our hot stretches once the tree is established.

Learn more about recommended Fruit Trees.          Learn more about resources for Fruit Tree information.