Step over fruit trees is the smallest of the lot with 18 to 24 inches in height. These trees look great on a one-meter-high hedge. In addition, these trees are productive and look pretty regardless of an ornamental or edible garden. Because they are increasingly popular, you can buy apple trees as stepovers as well. There are lots of varieties and you can always the one for your needs.
How do you plant step over apple trees?
You may have heard about cordon training, which is a unique technique to grow fruit trees as described in this page: https://www.fruit-trees.com/buy-stepover-apple-trees-online.html
It has been around for centuries and it includes apple trees spread across a horizontal wire. However, the ‘step over’ part comes from the position of the wire.
Because the wire is positioned low, anyone can step over the tree. Before into the steps on how to grow stepover apple trees, keep in mind a few important things. You should choose an apple tree that grows on a dwarfing rootstock.
Make sure that you are trying to train a tree so that it reaches about 50cm in height. Therefore, you don’t need an apple tree that grows vigorously. Also, you would need permanent support such as wires and posts that would last for a long time.
Follow these steps carefully:
Start by inserting the posts about 2m apart from each other. You can use good-quality timber like cypress pine or steel garden posts.
Next, run the wire high at around 40 to 50 cm between the two posts. It is wise to use a stainless steel wire like the one used on decks. You can get them from any hardware store.
Most of the time, you can find the apple tree where initial pruning was carried out. And, you are likely to grow a 1-year-old tree because new growth is quite flexible.
The tree is pruned to buds that are about 30 to 40 cm high. The horizontal growths that come out of it constitute the lower branches of the stepover tree.
From the second year, allow the shoots to develop from the stem. As such, you can tie them down to the wires.
Allow the horizontal growths to grow out to about 50 to 70 cm.
The tree would shoot the branches upward in a horizontal direction. These shoots bear fruiting spurs.
You have to prune them each year to have a strong bud.
You can buy apple trees for your step over design concept from a reputed nursery like CRJ Fruit Trees Nursery. They grow a variety of fruit trees that you can order online. Also, they use the cleanest stocks available.