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Grow Little Fruit Trees

It took years, but I was able to convince my husband to get behind the idea of growing fruit trees. But this was only because of Ann Ralph's book, "Grow a Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small-Space, Easy-Harvest Fruit Trees". Get it here: .

We now have 12 small trees, all in the back yard, peppered into a landscape of herbs, perennials, vegetables, berries, shrubs and flowers. There are many methods you can use to incorporate small trees into a landscape. Espalier is another method we have going on a fence with four different apple varieties. We tried having two trees in the front yard, but deer thought they were delicious.

Small trees require intermittent pruning maintenance. And it is not for the faint of heart. From the beginning when you plant a bare root tree, you make a dramatic knee-high cut. A mere stick is in the ground, but soon the nubs of future branches emerge and it's on. From there, you prune mid summer, just after the summer solstice. At this point you only keep branches at ~45 degree angles going in the direction you want, and then remove 1/2 to 1/3 of those branches you are keeping. There are nuances, and both the book and this video below were really helpful to watch and return to.

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