Saturday, May 23, 2015

Growing Dwarf Apple Trees (without watering) and with the Groasis Waterboxx

In early Spring 2013, we bought and planted 4 bare root dwarf fruit trees purchased from Stark Brothers nursery (online), including a dwarf apple tree.  The site for these trees was carefully selected to be in a full sun area at the bottom of a hill where water would reach them.  All of these trees are capable of growing well in the zone in which they were planted (Zone 6) After the first year, we were quite disappointed with the lack of significant growth of these trees, so we decided to add the Waterboxx to each of their bases.  Here we will focus on our dwarf apple 2-in-1 hybrid (a Stark Double Delicious Apple Semi-Dwarf).  The tree pre-Waterboxx (in late winter) shown below looks very similar to the tree when is was planted (showing the very minimal and disappointing growth first year even with weekly watering).

Here our tree is shown one year after planting on February 22, 2014.  There has been almost no growth from the previous year despite frequent watering.
We wanted to enjoy the fruits of our tree and the fruits of our labor, just with a lot less labor. Watering the tree every week was very tiring.  The Groasis Waterboxx was carefully placed around the central trunk of the tree before budbreak.  It was then filled with 15 liters (~4 gallons) of water.  No further watering was given the tree or the Waterboxx - ever.  The Waterboxx was refilled from near daily dew and occasional rainfall.

Here is the Double Delicious Apple tree on April 27, 2014 after the Waterboxx has been placed.  The Waterboxx will slowly and consistently release water to the roots of the tree, helping it to grow.  

Most trees' growth occurs in the early spring, as was the case with our apple tree as soon as we placed the Waterboxx.  Below you can see less than one months growth of the canopy with the consistent water and base temperature provided by the Waterboxx.

Here you see the same tree on May 18, 2014, with less than a month of the Waterboxx in place.  The canopy has increased significantly.  
We let the tree grow for the rest of the summer without intervention.  In early spring 2015, we applied dormant oil before budbreak to kill off any overwintering pests without harming beneficial bees (which weren't yet active).

Here is the same tree almost one year later, on May 19, 2015.  We put the bright green Growsafe Tree Protector around the trunk of the tree due to rabbit damage to a neighboring fruit tree.  The canopy has doubled in size and we have some apples growing.  
Above you can see that the tree has become so big that is has outgrown the Waterboxx!  This variety of grafted apple tree is self fertile, meaning it has two fruiting varieties grafted onto one tree so bees can pollinate without other apple trees nearby.  Also, it is a semi-dwarf, meaning it will only get 12-15 feet tall and 12-15 feet wide, meaning it can be picked by hand or with a short ladder and will fit in most suburban yards.  You can see that it already has little apples as shown below.
A close up of our apples growing on May 19, 2015.  We will expect to harvest these full size apples in late August or September.  
We will update this post with the apples throughout the growing season, and we hope to have enough for both pies and eating this fall.  We believe that the Waterboxx provided such consistent water and base temperature control that it allowed us to get fruit one whole year earlier.  

Be the first in your area to start growing plants with the Groasis Waterboxx Buy the Groasis Waterboxx here.

If you would like to learn how to grow plants without watering with the Waterboxx, the best resource is the book The Waterboxx Gardener: How to Mimic Nature, Stop Watering, and Start Enjoying Your Garden available here on 

1 comment:

  1. How do you remove the waterboxx when the apple tree is that size?