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Fruit trees in containers

Derbyshire, United Kingdom Gb

Has anyone tried growing an apple tree in a large container?

I would love to pick my own apples but don't have the space to plant one. There is plenty of room on my drive though for a container.

Would I need more than for pollination? Would it have to be the same variety or a different one? (I know nothing about fruit trees.)



Yes you can, but it should be of a whisky barrel size container. Their are "spur" extra dwarf fruit trees out there. Many of which are self-fertile
If you buy a regular "DWARF" fruit tree ... do more research on the net. They are not all the same and one nurseries dwarf may be twice as large as anothers. The type of rootstock used makes the difference.

This is the same in wine grapes. Some rootstocks dwarf more, others withstand wet soils better, etc.

I am sure you have many great nurseries to pick from. Ask these questions. If you do put it in a container, consider tipping it out after 3 years, do some root pruning (sorta bonsaing it) and replace much of the soil. If you do this, it will outlive you. Provide good drainage!

22 Nov, 2008


Yes, there are many dwarf varieties of apple which you can grow in containers, say half a wine barrel.
Plant annuals around the base in your drive.
You would need a pollinator for something like cox's orange pippins.

22 Nov, 2008


Very interesting about the 'spur' dwarf trees, never heard of them and I wouldn't have thought to look further than one saying dwarf. It is all such a mine field!

Would a pollinator be a different variety?

22 Nov, 2008


I use a Granny Smiths for my Cox's (and vice versa) pollinator. They are both late so they both blossom late - ideal, your varieties must blossom at the same time.

There are varieties that don't need a separate pollinator but all reports say that they don't do very well. Cox's of course is not heavy cropping but is to me the king (or queen) of apples. Delicious.

If you have only room for one tree, it is a shame, it is well worth growing a heritage variety (or two) for flavour (sorry Secateur - flavor) but if you just have the room for one, as Secateur says, talk to your nursery man.


22 Nov, 2008


bigger the better realy.i dont soppose you can build a planter raised in your courtyard

22 Nov, 2008


On periodic root pruning, if you are unable to manipulate such an object, there is a cheat. At about the third year, take a sharp spading shovel and cut a triangle out of say the N. side. Refill with new soil. Mark the pot where you have spaded.

Next year, do the same on the S. side. The following the W. and so on.

22 Nov, 2008


Having worked root pruning in the past I have never worked on a young tree i.e. 3 years old.Our process on 12yr. old trees which were not fruiting in our orchards and were vigorous and overshadowing their neighbours, was digging a trench 2ft. deep 3ft. wide under the spread of the tree, cutting back the roots, then painting the cut with Stockholm tar on half of the root area. Filling in and ramming home the soil. A heavy mulch of leaf and rotten horse manure was put on straight away, watering if the winter was dry.

22 Nov, 2008


Thanks for the tip about pollinators. Wouldn't have thought to find out when they came into blossom, thought it was just universal blossom time!

I love Cox. Don't think they can be beaten but would like a good cropper, so perhaps they are not for me.

I do have quite alot of room, so could build a container but then I couldn't root prune. Which would be best?

Used to use Stockholm tar on the horses but didn't know it had uses in the garden. You learn something new every day!

22 Nov, 2008


Pollinaters -- never forget the insects!!

Still from a U.S. perspective the best website that might answer your questions is this one.

That said we do not have your climate, nor taste buds that might appreciate the ugly apples. Cox, and some other rough skinned apples never made much of a splash over here. Some of those do not ripen in our coastal environment though they will over in your gardens. We have only some 1600 degree days and that limits our wine grape potentials to Wales or such.

You can always root prune with a deep spading shovel. In those limited year intervals the root damage probably would be minimal. Going back into the cavity and shearing the severed roots with a sharp SECATEUR would be nice.

Then put in new soil.
I have some apple trees in 3" deep pots that are twenty years old.My Bonsai colection numbers now about 70. I have lost some, but I guess about 80 percent have survived my handling.

Time of prunings are also important with any plant.

On insects Please put your Mason Bee nests inside a cold stored building rather than leaving them outside and exposed.

23 Nov, 2008


Some websites offer family apple trees - three varieties grafted on to one stem and the whole thing on dwarfing rootstock. This allows you to grow one tree in a tub and still get fruit becuase the varieties will cross-pollinate each other. Not sure how suucessful they are because I've never grown one.
Alternatively, check if any of your neighbours have apple trees - these would be close enough to cross-pollinate yours

23 Nov, 2008


The european honeybee actually pollinates up to a mile away. Mason bees are more limited to your immediate neighbour-hood. It certainly is worth building such a nest on your own property. The three way graft is a good way to go, but they usually are of the most generic varieties. Nothing bad about that, but if you do have a favorite buy it. I would guess that someone has another tree nearby. If not you might consider gifting a nice neighbor with a Christmas present -- an apple tree mated to your own..

24 Nov, 2008


Ugly apples!

I'm speechless! You've just called a Cox, an ugly apple.

24 Nov, 2008


Now that I have regained my composure, I'll try again.

Unfortuanately my neighbours are more into grass and shaped box than anything else.

I used to keep honey bees. Loved them and got some wonderful honey. Unfortunately I became more and more allergic to them and the doc. told me I had to consider my health, so I had to part with my hives. Mason bees would be a good way to go though. I grow alot of nectar rich, simple flowers to attract wildlife and get many bees, butterflies and hoverflies.

24 Nov, 2008


Thank you Weedpatch. My laid down Coxes are consulting their solicitor. It isn't even rough peel it just isn't like those tasteless Washington Red things that look good but have no flavour . What a difference an ocean makes.


24 Nov, 2008


I just can't believe than anybody could fail to enjoy a freshly picked Cox.

Have you ever tried one Secateur?

25 Nov, 2008


I just got a new tree today from Victoriana. A russet 'Reinette Descadre' I suppose you could call that an 'ugly' apple. It has a matt skin and isn't particularly red but I remember eating them from a family friend's tree many years ago. They were delicious. Rather like a sweeter version of Cox. And in an apple it's taste that counts. Do you remember those dreadful Golden Delicious that the French factory farmers flooded the European markets with a few years ago? Now, they were awful, and as a great lover of French food I was disgusted. Would still never buy or grow a Golden Delicious. Golden Tasteless is more like it. LOL.


25 Nov, 2008


Oh yes I agree about Golden Delicious, very prone to bitter pit, they wouldn't even make scrumpy.
Don't forget Russets have a very rough skin so they have got to be ugly, uglies.
Not a better tasting apple grown.

25 Nov, 2008


Hmmm, Scrumpy.*


*(With apologies to Homer Simpson). Lol.

26 Nov, 2008


I think so many of the older, more 'ugly' varieties do taste so much better then the 'pretty', uniform, unblemished ones we get in supermarkets.

It is up to us to make sure they don't die out, so that's the type I will be growing.

29 Nov, 2008


I don't know how we are with commercial growers on the forum but I assure you I have no connection with Victoriana Nurseries at all except as a very impressed customer. Even if you don't buy from them Weedpatch then do have a look at their site. I get a few very British but now rare plants off them. The quality is top notch and the advice if you email them is likewise. The first thing I ever bought off them was Samphire (salty poor mans asparagus if you don't know but it is now so sought after it is rich man's asparagus). I wasn't too sure about growing it, it is after all a bit obscure, so I emailed them on Sunday morning at about 8 o'clock. By 10 a.m. I had a full answer to all my questions. And they are not really expensive (unless you shop at Wilko.)

29 Nov, 2008


i know a very good tree expert if you want answers he grows bonzi trees and sells them if that helps.if you restrict growth of any trees pertential you are bonziing it

30 Nov, 2008


LoL NoseyP.

30 Nov, 2008

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