Fruit hedges can provide privacy together with tasty fruit within the space restrictions of a little garden. If you choose the fruit number carefully, a hedge can provide fruit and flowers throughout the respective growing and harvest seasons. Tree hedges will usually have to be grown against a fence or as a freestanding trellis used as an espalier.
Kinds of Trees
The best fruit trees to develop as a hedge are those grafted onto dwarf or super-dwarf rootstocks. Larger trees can be trained to some smaller shape, but they need constant pruning. For apple trees, then the M.9 or M.27 rootstocks are great choices to train as hedges. A new dwarf rootstock for sweet cherries, the Krymsk 6, has the great root anchorage necessary for smaller trees with heavy fruit. Citrus trees can also be popular as hedge trees, but grow best in regions with long periods of high temperatures.
The distance between fruit trees in a hedge depends on the kind of training system used. If you want a heavier, compact hedge, then dwarf rootstocks can be planted as close as two feet apart. Super-dwarf rootstocks can be planted as close as a foot apart from a hedge should you give them enough irrigation and fertilizer. If you would rather a two-dimensional espalier with wide, horizontal shapes, then room for the shaped branches is needed, along with the trees should be spaced 4 to 5 feet apart. Espaliers trained more vertically can be planted as close together as the hedge trees.
Training fruit trees to the shape of a hedge is going to be a continuous pruning project. You must always prune the trees in late winter while they are dormant, but hedges can also be pruned in midsummer — this can have a dwarfing effect on the trees, permitting them to thrive under the crowded conditions of a hedge. Another option, along with pruning, will be to tie the divisions into a new place utilizing wire or string. This can close holes in the hedge resulting from little trees planted too far apart or train the trees into an artistic shape.
Many fruit trees need pollination from another variety of the same fruit. When planting a hedge, you need to consider the space from additional pollination sources. It could be necessary to blend several varieties of fruit into the same plant or hedge another tree nearby. Pollination partners should be within 100 feet of each other for optimal results, and also their booming periods need to overlap but don’t have to be the exact same length.