Do you think that because you live in a city or urban area you cannot enjoy fresh fruit from your own trees? Thankfully there are hybrid species that are able to use small areas due to tall crowns, rather than broad spreading branches. Not only are these hybrids functional and practical, but they bring a beautiful appeal to the urban home. They can grow in tubs on your porch or patio, and can fit well in larger areas, where they can be laid out in a pleasing manner, along curb lines, or in gardens.
These special species are commonly known as urban fruit trees, or columnar fruit trees. The tree does not grow outward in a horizontal direction, but up due to short branches, often appearing as a spire and is quite dignified and elegant for the urban environment. Often they can be found providing borders or a stately entrance along a driveway. The vitality, beauty and wonderful fruit makes them a wonderful addition to any home, including small spaces.
Growing a columnar fruit tree is fairly straightforward. Take apple trees for example: they need consistent watering, not soggy but not dry for best production. A good fertilizer should be provided during the growing season. There are also time release fertilizers which may only need to be provided once a year. Initially, when the tree is young, you will want to prune the branches so to remove the weaker branches and allow branches to grow that can carry the apples as their weight increases. After this you will only need to remove damaged branches.
Columnar trees for sale
There are many columnar tree options on the market, here are some types we liked the most:
Thompson-Morgan Fruit Tree Collection (Mini Fruit Tree)
“Imagine an orchard on your own patio! These patio fruit trees have been specifically for their dwarf habit making them ideal for growing in large containers. Height if containerised: 1m (39″). Spread if containerised: 45cm (18”).
- Apple ‘Golden Delicious’ – This easy to grow variety produces good yields of attractive golden-green apples that store well over a long period after harvesting. Rootstock: M9.
- Apple ‘Gala‘ – A reliable cultivar producing attractive, red flushed fruits with a surprisingly sweet flavour when eaten straight from the tree, and make a delicious juicing apple. Rootstock: M27.
- Pear ‘Doyenne du Comice’ – Widely regarded as one of the flavoursome Pear varieties available, Pear ‘Doyenne du Commice’ has a richness that other cultivars struggle to attain. Rootstock: Quince A.
- Plum ‘Black Amber’ – This heavy bearing Plum produces plenty of rounded, firm purple fruits with a deliciously juicy texture. Rootstock: Ferlinain.
- Cherry ‘Sylvia’ – This dwarf cherry tree is perfect for the patio where it makes a great focal point in spring as pale pink cherry blossom cloaks the branches. Rootstock: Gisella 6.” Read more…
Mini Orchard Collections
The modern way to grow fruit trees is to train them as vertical cordons. These space-saving columnar trees (sometimes referred to as Minarettes, Pillarettes or supercolumns) are attractive as well as fruitful and are perfect for smaller gardens. They can be spaced as close as 60-90cm (2-3ft) apart and are also ideal planted in containers on a sunny patio or balcony. Cordons should have their ultimate height restricted to 1.8-2.4m (6-8ft) and their fruiting laterals pruned during the summer months in order to retain their compact columnar shape. To ensure rapid establishment, cordon fruit trees are supplied bare-rooted and will be 1.2-1.5m (4-5ft) high on despatch. Trees are available from late November to early May. Read more…
Ken Muir Minarettes
“Minarettes are slender, columnar fruit trees which bear their fruits on short spurs along the length of a vertical stem rather than on long spreading branches. They are perfect for today’s smaller gardens because they can be planted as close as 60-90cm (2-3ft) apart as well as being ideal for growing in tubs on patios or balconies. When mature, Minarettes are 1.8-2.4m (6-8ft) tall and crop prolifically. A large range of apples, pears, plums, gages, damsons and cherries are available as Minarettes.” Read more…
Starkbros Colonnade Apple Trees
“Commonly called columnar apple trees, Colonnade® apple trees, or Urban Apple® trees, present a wonderful opportunity to grow your own fresh fruit when space is limited. They have a compact, upright, narrow growth habit and mature to be about 8-10 feet tall and 18-24 inches wide. This makes them perfect for growing in containers on balconies and patios, or planting in smaller yards and gardens.
Each year these trees will give you an impressive crop of flavorful, full-size apples. Some taste great right off the tree, while others can be used for making jellies or sauces. Plus, these trees make attractive ornamental additions to any outdoor setting. They offer lovely white or pink blossoms in spring and beautiful foliage that looks great in summer before turning to feature lovely autumn shades in fall. You can plant multiple columnar apple trees in a row to create your own ‘living fence’.” Read more…