Is your yard surrounded by chain link fences and expanding urban sprawl? Are you currently downsizing, or perhaps moving closer to the convenience of the city? These are some common reasons people never consider growing fruit trees. Patti Moreno (of Garden Girl TV and co-host for Growing A Greener World TV) has different take on the matter, as she writes about compact, self-pollinating Stark® Custom Graft® 2-N-1 fruit trees – the perfect pick for small-space growing!
— Meg C.
2-N-1 Fruit Trees
Growing fruit in your own backyard is quite rewarding, but many of us can’t because we don’t have enough space for fruit trees. For homeowners with small backyards, it can be a challenge to plant fruit trees due to their spacing requirements.
One solution? Plant multi-grafted, “2-N-1” fruit trees!
What are Multi-Grafted Fruit Trees & Why Grow Them?
2-N-1 fruit trees are great choices for small-space gardeners — you only need one tree to grow several kinds of fruit. These trees are grafted to grow multiple varieties of the same fruit on one tree. Some fruits require more than one variety in order to cross-pollinate and produce fruit, making 2-N-1 fruit trees technically “self-pollinating”. In addition, many of these fruits may ripen at different times, allowing you to extend the harvest season (see examples below).
What is Grafting?
Don’t worry, 2-N-1 fruit trees are not genetically altered! Grafting is a simple process in which a live branch or bud from one tree is cut and inserted into the inner part of another tree. The woods merge naturally and soon the new branch or bud grows with the nutrients from the primary tree, like any other living limb. Grafting is actually the most common way to propagate strong, healthy, true-to-name fruit trees. The only difference in the case of 2-N-1 trees is that the grafted varieties are not from the exact same variety of tree.
How to care for 2-N-1 Fruit Trees
Caring for your multi-grafted fruit tree is similar to growing any fruit tree, but there are some things you will do differently.
- Make sure that your tree is planted in full sun, with well-drained, fertile soil.
- Pruning your 2-N-1 tree is key. You want to make sure that you balance the pruning of branches between varieties, making sure not to take off more of one kind than the other. If one variety begins to overgrow the other, be sure to prune back the more-vigorous variety so that both are growing proportionally. Be extra careful not to completely remove one of your varieties when pruning. Read the tag that comes with your 2-N-1 tree for more information.
- The primary reason for growing a 2-N-1 fruit tree is to get the most fruit possible, so its a good idea to fertilize your trees when you plant them, and repeat about once a year in early spring. Be careful not to over fertilize for risk of injuring the tree or the environment.
Choosing 2-N-1 Fruit Trees for Small Spaces
Stark Bro’s is a leader in growing high quality multi-grafted fruit trees. They offer a variety of great Stark® Custom Graft® 2-N-1 fruit trees:
- 2-N-1 Sweet Treat Apple: Honeycrisp™ is a sweet and juicy apple that needs no introduction and Stark® Little Jewel is a gem of an apple packed with outstanding flavor and fits just right in lunch boxes. Ripens in September through October.
- 2-N-1 Double Sweet Pear: You’ll get the Hardy Giant™ Asian pear variety and the Anjou pear, a European variety. Ripens in September.
- 2-N-1 Pear: Yellow-green Bartlett pears and and crimson Red Sensation pears. Ripens late August.
- 2-N-1 Cherry: Deep-red Hardy Giant™ sweet cherries and gold-blushed-pink Emperor Francis sweet cherries, both for fresh eating and desserts. Harvest in mid-June.
— Enjoying the Fruits of my Labor,
Patti Moreno, The Garden Girl
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