Sunday, March 20, 2011

Low-Maintenance Dwarf Fruit Trees III (FINAL RESULTS)

OK - I've finally narrowed it down to three top contenders for low-maintenance, productive, non-towering species to plant in our common space at the Community Garden (only my opinion, of course). For my earlier research processes, geeky gardeners can look here and here. Meanwhile, the post that you are reading contains the best of the best.

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A TRUE MULBERRY BUSH!
There is a variety of dwarf mulberry - Morus 'Gerardi Dwarf' - that might be available at Whitman Farms (they have a website, but buyers must call.)

From GardenWeb in 2008:
"Mature size 6-8ft tall and spread. Berries are excellent and bear longer than most. I wouldn't think there would be much mess because it's more like a shrub with no canopy. I just planted 1 bareroot from Burnt Ridge Nursery, and the little thing already has a couple fruitlets. In fact all 3 of my mulberries have been in the ground less than a year and all have fruits forming. Great low care fruit trees! Oh, and try Burnt Ridge (as of spring 2011, no hits), Edible Landscaping (Spring 2011=not available right now), or Whitman Farms for Gerardi."

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HONEYBERRY BUSH
The Honeyberry is extremely pest and cold resistant. Because it originated in Siberia, some (but not all) varieties might prefer shade in our Connecticut climate. It requires a companion pollinator planting.

The Honeyberry (aka Haskap) is a non-vining (read non-invasive), bush honeysuckle which puts out edible, blue fruits with a yummy taste.

"An attractive small bush, it produces tasty small fruits about the size and flavor of blueberries....Very easy to grow with no pest or disease problems." (quoted from Edible Landscaping Online.)

Currently available at Logees - $29.95. Good growing information here (from Shallow Creek Nurseries, a company which recently stopped selling plants.)

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HAZEL NUTS
I was initially interested in hazel nuts (aka filberts), because rumor has it that they are bush like. The downside is that the nuts take a long time to cure. They must be harvested before they are ripe because they attract squirrels. One source noted that the harvested nuts are typically ready to eat by December. I think that the Honeyberry or the dwarf Mulberry would be a better choice because of the immediate gratification factor (once they are established), especially for kids!

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2 comments:

Jeff Wignall said...

I vote for the mulberry :)

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