His secret is growing dwarf and mini-dwarf apple trees, all between 3 and 6 feet tall. Their small size is achieved by grafting the desired variety onto a dwarfing rootstock. These dwarf and mini-dwarf apple trees still bear full size fruit; it's the tree, not the fruit, that is small!
Gene explains his enthusiasm for these smaller trees as follows: "I like the idea of having a small tree, because when I want to taste an apple I only have to reach over and pick it. If anything I'm stooping down. One big benefit is ease of maintenance. Spraying, pruning and picking are much easier and you can do everything without climbing up ladders. Besides, I 'd probably only have room for 2 standard apple trees in my back yard."
We hope you'll come along on this virtual tour of Gene's backyard orchard. There are plenty of pictures along with Gene's commentary and insights. The virtual tour consists of five pages followed by the pages titled "Gene Answers Questions", "Training a Mini-Dwarf Apple Tree" and "Gene's Favorite Apples".
We want you to understand where you are when you look at a picture, so alongside many photographs is a corresponding map of Gene's backyard. The camera icon
Clicking on any map takes you to the "Map of the Backyard" web page. It has a larger more detailed map along with the map key and scale.