The vertical columns of apple trees line your tiny courtyard or terrace, producing a number of apples over the growing season. The apple (Malus domestica), indigenous to Central Asia, thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. While standard apple trees grow up to 40 feet tall and equally wide, columnar, dwarf and semi-dwarf trees have been kept in a much smaller size, suitable for a tiny urban garden and limited space. By employing intensive planting techniques, you can grow an whole orchard in the area of a standard apple tree.
Columnar Apple Trees
A few apple trees can be found as columnar trees. “Golden Sentinel,” “North Pole” and “Scarlet Sentinel” are small trees, growing 7 to 9 feet tall. Unlike other apple trees, these varieties don’t develop large branches, rather producing fruits and flowers over the trunk or on short spurs. Apples need a pollinator; all 3 kinds cross pollinate to produce fruit. Plant columnar trees 24 inches apart along a sunny wall or fence, where they get no less than eight hours of sunlight daily.
Espalier Apple Trees
Dwarf and semi-dwarf apples can also be grown as espalier. Espalier trees may be grown as a single vertical cordon, or educated together a wire trellis to grow in patterns up a wall or even alongside a drive. Espalier trees are usually planted 18 to 36 inches apart, depending on the espalier layout.
Pruning to the Cordon
When Composing an apple tree to grow as a vertical cordon, regular pruning is vital to maintain the branches under control. When you first plant the tree, you must seriously prune the branches, leaving just 6-inch spurs evenly spaced across the tree’s trunk. Apple trees produce fruit on these types of short branches or sesame. Prune the tree during the growing season to maintain the side branches less than 12 inches long.
Selecting Apple Varieties
While almost any variety of apple tree may be grown as a cordon, your neighborhood climate is a factor in the success or failure of this harvest. If you are living in the cooler coastal climates across the West Coast, varieties such as “Anna,” “Beverly Hills” or even “Gordon” need the fewest quantity of winter chilling to create apples. On the flip side, if you reside inland where the summers are hot and the winters are significantly colder, “Gold Delicious,” “Gravenstein” or even “Jonathon” apples have a greater chill requirement and should produce a great harvest.