Monday, 7 July 2014

Tips for growing fruit in small gardens [5]

5] Stepover fruit trees
Inarguably the tiniest of all fruit trees, no-one really has an excuse not to grow these. Popularity has exploded in recent years, for these tee-tiny little 18” trees are so ideal for edging a border or path. The clue is in the name, you can step right over them!
The short main trunk sports just two side laterals which will extend out to around 4’ when mature. Obviously with so little framework, crops aren’t heavy, these still provide a useful and practical space saving solution. They are very pretty and the fruit that is produced is large in size and particularly juicy, because they receive more sunlight than they would normally.
A single post and wire support set at approx 15-18” is necessary for the first 3-4 years, in order to tie the side laterals down, otherwise their natural tendency is to try to grow upwards. After this period the support can be taken away and you should have a fine continuous line of little stepovers, if you so wish.
Apples, and to a lesser extent Pears, are the most usual fruits grown as stepovers, but, with the advent of Pixy rootstock, you can also grow Plums and Gages in this way too.
Plant 4’apart.

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