Try a backyard Mini-Orchard


Choosing the right dwarf rootstock will result in miniature orchards, although you’ll still need to prune to keep trees down to size, Parker said.

“There are different dwarfing rootstocks, starting with 8-foot trees and going to 15 feet,” he said. “But you can’t just plant them and let them go. A dwarf tree doesn’t know it’s supposed to stop growing at 8 feet. Dwarf trees are smaller than the standard size, but they still need to be trained and pruned.”

Safety is yet another advantage when managing smaller trees. It’s easier to scout them for damage and they require less ladder work — especially when applying chemicals.

“Most homeowners don’t have the necessary equipment for spraying over their heads,” said Michael Bush, an extension entomologist with Washington State University’s Yakima County office. “Toxic spray residues can drip down and run all over the applicators. A lot of pesticide labels warn against spraying more than 10 feet (high). They suggest that you hire a professional.”

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