Small is in. While the standard apple tree can be 20 feet high and 15 feet wide, the dwarf and mini-dwarf trees available today grow to be only 6 to 8 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Any variety of apple can be grafted on to a dwarf root stock. Stark Brother’s Nursery has even developed an apple tree they call the “Colonnadeä,” which has 6 to 10 inch branches growing off a single stem, reaching only about eight feet tall at maturity—now that is about as compact as an apple tree can get. Besides space conservation, there are other advantages to having a dwarf apple tree: it is much easier to care for in terms of pruning time, spraying time, fertilizing and watering.
In my opinion, the fruit production on a dwarf tree is much more suited to the home landscape than larger varieties. A mature dwarf tree will give you 20 to 30 apples a year. This means that you can easily choose the number of apple trees you want to plant according to a fairly specific sense of how many apples you would like to produce. You can ensure that you grow enough fruit, and at the same time, you do not have to worry about surplus apples rotting on the ground. If you have three or four varieties, you will be harvesting at least 100 fresh, tasty apples; more than most of us eat in a year!
Leaves - Apple trees have leaves that are from 2 to 4 inches long, and are a dull medium green with pale undersides. They are shaped like elongated ovals, coming to a point at their tips. Their edges are slightly toothed. Because of their large leaves, apple foliage appears somewhat coarse.
Flowers and Pollination - Apple blossoms are white, often with a pink blush. They begin to appear on young trees in their third year. They appear in the spring on woody “spurs” that are at least two years old Although some apple tree varieties are self-pollinating, many are not. It is advisable to plant at least two trees of different varieties that bloom around the same time to ensure an apple crop. For best cross pollination trees should be no more than 50 feet apart. A nearby flowering crabapple will also pollinate apple trees.