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Dwarf fruit trees in containers pruning to a scale (ie. trimmed but not clipped back to the ground line), just as if they were dwarf fruit trees in the ground. So, since pruning brings the foliage back, what should we prune the containers to? The comment about dwarfs, strawberries, apple, and daphne is from either an unidentified member of a poster with a mischievous attitude, or a member of the Dwarf Fruit Cultivators of America.
With the caveat that many container/garden bloggers consider dwarf fruit trees to be annuals, (meaning that they will not live in a container and will not grow well, if at all, when placed in a container and pruned back to the ground line every year.) Those of us who really do like growing fruit in a container, (or, if we are working as a consultant, like having our students garden in a container), and enjoy dwarf fruit trees, prefer to not have to prune annually.
If you have been following the Annual Flowering Container Contesters this year, (and you are not a dummy like me, who did not know that annuals could have flowers in containers), you will recognize that the issue of how much to prune the trees in the contest was hotly debated, (Oh, I could have given it a title that would have enticed even more readers, but to be fair, that would have meant the creation of an inside joke.) What a contrast to the calm and controlled discussions we have had about the aesthetics of our roses.
Although, if you are like me, and do not have a whole lot of time to tend to the flowers in your containers, but like to grow fruit in them, you may have wondered how those growing fruit in the containers have not been treated as if they were annuals.
The answer is that when we started doing a bunch of trials in containers, we were very careful to describe what we were doing, (ie. dwarf fruit trees in containers, there are a couple of other posters who do this), so if someone wanted to grow dwarf fruit trees in containers, they would understand that we had asked the USDA, (those guys know about plants), to tell us how to do this. However, some people came to the trials and wanted to grow dwarf fruit trees in containers without any knowledge of what we were doing, (although we knew there were a lot of people who read this blog who were thinking about growing dwarf fruit trees in containers).
In all the trials, we did not prune the trees, so we did not know what would happen, or not happen. However, after the end of the trials, those of us who were growing dwarf fruit trees in containers knew that dwarf fruit trees in containers need to be pruned to a scale. So, we just explained what the recommendation is, when we post on the blog. Then we could use the trial’s results to test the behavior of trees in containers.
Most of the time, the trees in the trials did a reasonable job of growing in containers. However, one year a couple of trees tried to grow faster than they were happy. While growing on the bench in a pot on the ground, they began to grow too fast. They needed more pruning, and with pruning the trees slowed down. They were large trees, so they needed a lot of pruning.
Containers require container pruning, and container pruning means pruning a dwarf fruit tree to a scale. As a dwarf fruit tree is a fruit tree, (one of the new plants that people are growing in containers, so they want to have a dwarf fruit tree in a container because it is a dwarf fruit tree), the only pruning they need is container pruning.You want to prune the container to a scale, so you are not putting a dwarf fruit tree in a container, but getting the tree to grow a normal-sized tree, (if it is a daphne, that is a normal-sized tree.)
Your dwarf fruit trees can be grown in the ground or in containers. I have not found a dwarf fruit tree that grows better in a container, (but I only have 2 dwarf fruit trees in containers at this time), but I think they would grow better in the ground. For the container grower, container pruning to a scale is very important, (but that is a topic for another day), and that is why I say the following. If you read this blog, you have already discovered that container pruning and container gardening are very different.
You can trim container pruning, (aka., pruning to a scale), so that the container will look better. Or you can prune to a scale, so that the plant can grow and you will have a scale-trimmed tree, (so, if you trimmed your tree back to the ground line once a year, it will not grow as fast because it is on a scale) that is not a dwarf fruit tree. (And, dwarf fruit trees do not grow any faster in a container than they do in the ground, (which means they do not grow any faster at all.) So, in all cases, you are trimming to a scale to achieve the aesthetic goal, (and the goal of a scale is to allow the plant to grow to its full potential, without putting a dwarf fruit tree in a container.), not to slow the plant down.
So, we can, (and do), trim container pruning, but we will never, (never) prune container pruning, (aka. pruning to a scale,) on annual plants, (and dwarf fruit trees are annuals, so they must be trimmed to a scale).
I was feeling rather sorry for the tree whose container didn’t look as good as I thought it should. The question was, how could I make that tree look as nice as it could? I’ve also been feeling rather sorry for the tree that was not growing as fast as I wanted it to.I had the situation, (and I thought the container looked just awful.), and my question was, how could I make that tree grow faster?
Then, I realized that the tree could grow