Hello there, I have bought some young fruit trees (types listed below) they are listed to grow to around 3-4m high/wide full size. What would happen if I grew them in large containers and pruned to keep them about 2m high/wide? I.e. not allow them to grow to their full size?
Apple on M26
Conference pear on quince A
Peach on Montclare
This is a question that @fruitnut can probably answer as well as anybody. Let’s see what he has to say.
I have some posts on miniature peaches vs regular peaches back in 2020 or 2021 back when I about first joined this community. I have trees and on standard rootstock and what happened was exactly what they said where it just dwarfs the tree naturally. Apples honestly don’t get that big on a semi dwarf rootstock so it may reach full size on that. Peaches don’t have a dwarfing rootstock anyway. Quince A is already more dwarfing rootstocks than other rootstocks (I find very few sell standard sized pears). I find containers are actually quite nice for growing fruit trees because they don’t need too much pruning at all to stay small. It also induces early fruit bearing. A standard sized Warren pear is fruiting in my pot first year. You just have to remember to fertilize the tree to keep the soil going. Of course a large pot is subjective. Most of my pots are 100 gallon grow bags with some 40 gallon, 60 gallon and 2 25 inch plastic pots from Home Depot. The 25 inch pots from Home Depot I only have the tree inside and would never plant anything else in them because one tree takes too much space. The 40 inch pots I have one plant planted in there that is a vine, things that don’t take much space like asparagus or a ground cover like a few strawberry. In the 100 gallon pots those are so massive I feel I can put a bush, ground cover on top and a tree in due to it’s size.
It is do-able. But, most things in life have a ‘learning curve’
You don’t need dwarf rootstocks for trees in pots. The pot does the dwarfing for you. In a 20-30 gal pot my trees were easily kept at 1.5 to 2m tall and wide. In fact after about 4-5 yrs in the pot vigor runs down to where the tree needs serious root pruning and top pruning to regain vigor.
The biggest down side is smaller fruit size. But more thinning might help that. Fruit quality is good.
Thank you everyone for these detailed responses, very much appreciated, I am excited to start growing now! I will post about how my experiment goes