The house I grew up in was on a former apple orchard. The builders left many of the apple trees, so most of the houses in the suburban neighborhood had a mature apple tree either in the front yard or backyard. Our apple tree gave a lot to our family. It was where my sisters and I would climb and hangout with our friends. We had a rope swing that the previous owners had put up that we loved to swing on. In the fall we had to help pick up all the apples that had fallen. They were some type of apple used mostly for baking and there were always many left over to share with friends. In the spring the apple tree would be covered in beautiful white flowers. When my husband and I were married we had the ceremony in my parents backyard and my favorite picture of us is under that apple tree.
I wanted to have something similar in our backyard, but I knew we didn't have the space for a full size apple tree. We found a dwarf, 5 way grafted apple that wasn't supposed to get more than 10 to 12 feet. It was planted about 3 years ago where we could see it from the inside of our house.
Well, it has given us the fragrant white flowers that I hoped for, and it does give us apples, but it isn't quite the shape I was hoping for.
The way it was grafted, which we didn't notice at the time, was very unevenly. Three of the grafts are practically on top of each other, while the other two are quite widely spaced from the other 3.
Since the tree is young, the branches aren't able to support all the apples. One of the branches is actually on the ground, making it very easy for insects to enjoy the fruit. We don't spray with any insecticides, so we just have to share with them. We've propped up one of the low branches with a large stake.
Most of the labels of the branches fell off, so we don't know what we have. I was sure that I would remember which branches were which. The apples are always delicious though! There are two grafts which have apples turning red.
The rest have green apples on them. The tree naturally thins itself and has been dropping fruit lately, I'm sure some of it is because of how dry the weather has been, although I try to soak it once a week.
One graft has grown straight up, making me wonder just how we'll get them this year. We've never had apples on that branch before.
These are some of the apples at the very top of the tree, at least 15 feet high already.
This year the tree has more apples on it than it ever has, and I don't see many signs of worms in them. Both of the girls have already eaten at least one, but to me they don't taste ripe enough yet.
I think we're going to have to look into pruning a grafted tree if we ever want it to have any sort of "normal" shape. We've been hesitant to do much pruning since it was a new tree. Even though this apple tree will never look anything like the tree I grew up with, at least it will give us pretty flowers in spring followed by delicious apples in late summer and all the while adding some real "interest" to the garden with it's crazy shape.