FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Grow Dwarf Apple Trees?

Rethinking Apple Growing At Gilby’s

David Gilbertson

Dwarf & High Density Apple Trees

We started our orchard with Dwarf, Semi Dwarf and Standard trees. With our lessons learned over the years we found out Mother Nature can be very tough on apple growing in the North Central part of MN.

In the winters on 2013, 2014 and 2015 we lost many of our trees. Even though these trees had paid for them self-time and time again, we decided to move to a new growing system (HD) High Density Growing System.

What is HD (High Density) Growing System?

HD Apples at Gilbys

  • Trees are planted much closer together like 3-4’
  • They are supported by a Trellis system with wires at 2’,4’, 6’ and 8’
  • The wires are supported by wood poles
  • The trees are tied to the wire to support the trees and branches

Did you realize there are two primary parts to an apple tree?

  • Part 1….The Rootstock…. this controls the growth habit of the tree
  • Part 2….The Scion Wood this also means the variety of the tree like Honeycrisp

What Rootstocks did we select?

Rootstock & Scion

We selected dwarf root stocks like B.9 and G.41 for some of the following reasons:

Pro’s

  • Very cold hardy
  • 40% in size to a Standard Tree
  • Easier to prune and thin
  • Easier to harvest
  • Require less space
  • Instant gratification…. wants to generate fruit in the 1st year

Con’s

Trees need to be supported!

Why Support your Trees?

  • Dwarf trees need to be supported or they could break at the graft
  • The branches are also trained to grow more horizontal than vertical… Horizontal growth creates more fruit, vertical growth creates more wood.

Dwarf Apple Tree Production

  • 1st year or 1st leaf when you plant the tree you must remove all the fruit
  • 2nd year of 2nd leaf, if the tree has done very well you can leave a couple of apples
  • 3rd year or 3rd leaf, if the tree has done very well over the last 2 years you can leave about a dozen apples.
  • 4th year you can let the tree go… thin the tree so you have one apple per fist. You do not want to over crop the tree with apples.
  • 4th year you should get your return on investment…. one bushel of apples at a value of over $100.00 per tree

Your Goal When Growing Dwarf Apple Trees

  • Get the tree to 8’ as soon as possible!

How/where do I get a Dwarf Apple Tree?

  • You need to contact a grower or specialized nursery that has Apple trees on Dwarf Root Stocks (Gilby’s Nursery and Orchard LLC).
  • Most Nurseries you need to order the trees 2-3 years prior to when you want them.
  • Most Nurseries also have minimum order quantities like 50-100 trees per variety.
  • It is very uncommon to find a Dwarf Apple Tree at your local garden center.
  • You will 9 times out of 10 find Semi Dwarf Malling 7 at your local garden center. (They are calling “Semi-Dwarf”  – “Dwarf” buyer beware!)

What types of trees can you get on Dwarfing rootstock?

  • We currently have Honeycrisp and Zestar on B.9 Rootstock and Haralson and Frostbite on G.41
  • We will have KinderKrisp in spring of 2019

What forms of payment do you except?

Cash, Check and Credit Card.

When are you open?

Aug 25th through November 1st daily from 9-6; and
Open in Spring by appointment for bare-root tree sales

What do you have for Free?

  • Hiking our Nature Trails.
  • Hay Bale playground.
  • Beautiful areas for a picnic lunch.
  • Greats spot for family photos.

What are the activities?

Can I pick your own apples?

Yes… please call prior to coming to know what is in season to pick!

How much do the apples cost?

$1.29 to $2.99 per lb

Where are you located?

Do you have food to eat?

Vendors are on-site for food purchase and lunches are available on specific weekends. See Calendar.

Are your Apples Organic?

We are not certified organic. If we had a choice we would not spray our trees!

It is simply not an option with as many insects and different diseases pressuring our crop. we spray as little as possible to get by.

You don’t want a worm in your apple!

Can I bring my dog?

Well behaved leashed dogs are welcome!

What is the most popular apple?

SweeTango and Honeycrisp are always in 1st place!

When Are the Different Apples Ready?

Our apples mature at different times throughout the harvest season starting in August and going into October. See the chart below for more information on your favorite variety.

MN Estimated Apple Harvest Dates

Do you accommodate Group Visits?

Yes we accommodate large or small groups.

Please call ahead to apprise us of group size and approximate arrival time.

What is a Dwarf Apple Tree?

Dwarf Apple Trees

  • A Dwarf Apple Tree is a tree that is about 40% in size to a Standard Tree.
  • They produce Fruit in 1-2 years where a Standard tree can take 7 years.
  • Easier to prune and thin.
  • Easier to harvest.
  • Will need support

How do I get a Dwarf Apple Tree?

  • You need to contact a grower or specialized nursery that has Dwarf Root Stocks (Gilby’s).
  • Most Nurseries you need to order the trees 2 years prior to when you want them.
  • Most Nurseries also have minimum order quantities like 50 trees.
  • It is very uncommon to find a Dwarf Apple Tree at your local garden center.
  • You will 9 times out of 10 find Semi Dwarf Malling 7.

Why would you choose a Dwarf Apple Tree

  • You can plant many trees in a small area you can plant 3’ apart.
  • 60% increase in yield.
  • Instant gratification!

What types of trees can you get on Dwarfing rootstock?

  • We currently have Honeycrisp and Zestar on B-9 Rootstock

 

 

What is a Pollinator?

Different apple variety  in the same bloom time with different parents to achieve maximum apple production.

What is a bare-root tree?

Trees dug from the ground when they are dormant (leafless) and the root are shaken free of soil. They are kept cool with their roots moist until planted.

Do you ship bare-root trees?

No, for pick-up at Gilby's Orchard only.

When is the best time to plant bare-root trees?

As soon as the frost is out of the ground… to ensure the tree gets off to its best start.

How big are the trees I am buying?

Caliper or Diameter of the trunk  is how the trees are measured. On average, the trees are 7 feet tall.

When do I prune my trees?

The best time to prune your trees is in March - before the tree comes out of dormancy.

When will my tree bear fruit?

  • Dwarf trees will bear fruit in the first year or two.
  • Semi Dwarf 3-5 years
  • Standard 5-7 years.

We encourage you not to let any of these trees bear fruit for the first two years, so the energy can be put into the root system and tree.

How much is a peck?

A peck is an imperial and United States customary unit of dry volume, equivalent to 2 gallons or 8 dry quarts or 16 dry pints. So a half peck is equivalent to 1 gallon, or small bag of apples.

What is the charge for admission?

No Charge