bought a dwarf apple tree a couple of years ago, but so far it looks
like it has a higher growth habit, having now reached close to 3m
tall. The name tag identifies it as Sir Price. Perhaps it should
be more aptly called Surprise. Can you shed any light on the matter?
variety is likely to be Sir Prize - probably a spelling mistake
on the label.
All apple trees you buy
are grafted plants and the vigour as well as eventual size of the
tree is largely controlled by what rootstock the named variety is
grafted on to. So, for example, you could buy a Sir Prize tree on
a dwarfing rootstock (such as M9) which will probably grow slowly
to 2-3m. Or you could buy Sir Prize grafted on to a semi-dwarfing
rootstock (such as MM106) which would grow more vigorously and probably
end up 4m or more high.
Other factors, like soil
conditions and local climate, will also make a difference, but it
sounds to me as if your Sir Prize is grafted on to a fairly vigorous
rootstock rather than a dwarfing one.
One thing you could
do in an attempt to restrict growth is cut back long shoots in mid-summer
rather than leave them to the normal pruning time of winter. You
can also reduce vigour by tying shoots down so they spread out more
horizontally rather than leaving them to head for the sky. This
slows growth and encourages better fruiting on overly vigorous trees.
Gardener, Issue 190, 2005, Page 25
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.