Columnar Fruit Trees: Not Enough Space? No Problem!

Wanting to plant a fruit-bearing tree but do not have enough space in your garden? Columnar fruit trees are the answer to this problem.  These trees, unlike your regular fruit tree, are averagely 8 feet tall and 2 feet wide. They are trees that grow up instead of growing out. These trees can be easily grown in your backyards and even in patios.

Columnar fruit trees are trees that are perfect for a small garden because they take up less soil. Being small trees in nature, they do not require a huge amount of soil since they only have small root systems. These trees can also be planted in large containers that are at least 24 to 30 inches in diameter. Planting them in large containers makes it easy for you to have control over their growing environment. Since they do not take up a lot of space, you can plant several trees together. You will also need to plant at least two varieties of columnar trees to ensure adequate pollination and better fruit set. Although columnar fruit trees produce fewer fruits than your regular fruit tree, the fruits are guaranteed to be of similar size to that of an ordinary fruit tree.

Although farmerstry to grow many varieties of columnar fruit trees, apple trees are the only type available in the market. There are cherry, peach, and plum trees that have an upright, narrow growth, but they aren’t real columnar.

Maintaining a columnar fruit tree is no different than keeping your regular fruit tree. Always make sure to water them regularly, not making the soil too soggy but neither too dry. Put them in a sunny spot so that the trees can acquire the right amount of sunlight that they need. It is also a good idea to use a balanced and well-diluted fertilizer for them, especially during the growing season. Staking your tree is also essential, especially to newly planted trees. Newly planted trees need some support from a tree stake to ensure the tree’s stability until their roots are correctly and firmly rooted to the ground. Pruning can also help in balancing the growth and the fruit production of your tree.

a branch of apple tree with red apple fruits

Pruning is the selective removal of damaged plant parts, like branches, to encourage healthy growth and development of the plant. Although pruning in a columnar fruit tree is very minimal and not really necessary, it is important to do it to avoid the bending and breaking of the branches so that it can support the weight of the fruits. Prune only as needed to remove defective branches and to maintain the shape of your tree. Columnar fruit trees can produce fruits after two to three years of being planted.

The columnar fruit tree is a game changer to gardeners and plant lovers with small gardens. It not only provides us with our desired fruits but also serves as our pastime during this pandemic, wherein most of us are stuck at home. So instead of sitting around, doing nothing, you should start planting your columnar fruit tree and enjoy fruit picking in your own backyard.

Apple trees are the most common and famous columnar trees. And you can choose from different varieties to grow.

  • ‘North pole’ apple trees are the most popular variety of Limbless Apples, mainly due to their fruit’s widely beloved and exceptional flavor, which resembles Gala and Fuji in taste. It will remind you of a McIntosh apple.
  • ‘Golden Sentinel’ is similar to the variety Golden delicious in flavor.
  • ‘Scarlet Sentinel’ has green-yellow apples with a red blush.

Similar to other fruit trees, columnar apples require the following growing environment and care:

  • Apples love the sun, so plant them under the full sun where they grow best
  • Plant trees 2 feet apart or line them up planted in containers, pots, or barrels.
  • Plant at least two for cross-pollination
  • Regular watering during early stage and fruit development and dry season

Note: In the first year, you may need to thin the apples to help the tree support the weight. The price is a little higher than the average apple trees. If you order them bare-root in the winter, you’ll get to save some bucks, too.