Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mini apple orchards grow in urban backyards

Fueled by dwarf rootstocks and a growing interest in apples, urban and suburban gardeners are increasingly planting apple trees in their backyards, according to a story published yesterday in the Boston Globe.

The story quotes Mark Smith, who promotes backyard orchards via the Wakefield Estate in Milton, Massachusetts:

“The first year, we picked off all the blossoms to return energy to the trees,” Smith explains—a standard practice for new orchards. He added that the second year, gardeners are advised to pick all the blossoms except for 15 to 20 per tree, again to return energy to the tree for further growth. By the third year, 30 to 40 blossoms are left to fruit and by the fifth year, the small trees are producing “about 100 apples each.”

The author, Maria Karagianis, reports that a row of apple trees can provide not just fruit but also "a layer of privacy between homes in denser neighborhoods," according to Pamela Thompson, head of programs at the Arnold Arboretum.

Karagianis also touches on planting, variety selection, and pest control.

The story appeared in the Globe's "G" section, a sort of "lifestyles and culture" magazine that appears every day except Sunday.


  1. Ja, a mini-orchard is what you find growing behind my house. One seedling that produces enormous apples after the autumnal equinox, two August apples: Rambour Franc and Winekist; two more in September: Bardsey and Lord Lambourne; then Redfield, D'Arcy Spice, Hunt Russet and Sturmer Pippin. Still hope to add Pomme Grise and Golden Harvey. Cider, someday!

    1. Where I live this is a new idea. Land is often parceled into residential subdivisions typically far from anything else. Weird.

      You have a nice assortment of apples in your garden!

    2. Two red-fleshed, four russets (hope!), an all-purpose earlier apple and several long keepers, one seedling that turned out to be decent fresh and used in the kitchen. The range of ID dates from the seedling c2005 to Rambour Franc c1535. I'm a sucker for ancient apples and am trying to establish several even older than RF in a nearby orchard: Roter Eiserapfel and Glockenapfel before 1500, and Edelborsdorfer c1175!

  2. I started a micro orchard project in my yard this year with 7 dwarf trees and a lot of grandiose plans. I just posted some notes and pictures here:


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