Growing fruit trees for small gardens

When choosing trees for small gardens, gardeners too often opt for decorative kinds. It's worth remembering that you don't need a substantial orchard to grow your own fruit. With dwarf varieties and compact trees, it's possible to cultivate a regular crop of apples, pears, plums or cherries even in a tiny suburban garden.

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Fruits of your labour

With most fruit trees grown on rootstock which defines the tree's characteristics, it is now easy to find fruit trees for small gardens that will not get out of control and overshadow the whole space.

Tips and hints

Fruit trees of this kind can be trained against a wall or trellis, or create an attractive arbour over a patio or deck. Dwarf trees can be grown in containers

For a regular supply of ripe fruit, a sunny garden is best, but shade does not rule out growing fruit. Apples, blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries and rhubarb can all be cultivated in semi-shade.

High walls are ideal for spreading an apricot, peach or cherry tree in a fan shape. By training the young trees to follow this growth pattern you will save on space and encourage the tree to bear plenty of fruit.

Exotic fruit is best left to the experts and those with plenty of greenhouse space. Gardeners with relatively sunny spaces in the south of England can enjoy some success with citrus trees, although the trees will have to be protected from frost. It's possible to grow a small lemon tree in a pot, allowing it to be brought inside when the autumn chill sets in.

Prudent pruning

The key to success with fruit trees for small gardens is judicious pruning. By cutting back the growth at the right time you can keep the trees under control and encourage a large crop of fruit. Take expert advice on pruning as methods differ according to the variety of tree.

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