Suburban Prepping at our Chateau
Iambertad, we're trying out the Dave Wilson nursery technique here this year for the first time. Would you be willing to share how long you've been using it, what your successes (and failures) have been, and what garden zone or geographic region you're in? I wonder if what works for him in California dryland will be successful here in our cooler, wetter Northeast summers.
I've been using their method for 2 years, exclusively in Salt Lake City to this point. That's zone 7a/b depending on whether you live in the valley or on the benches. We lived down in the city. The climate in SLC is probably pretty similar to the CA region, dry hot summers, wet-ish spring and wet-ish fall with some winter snow.
All of the fruit trees I grew by the Dave Wilson method I installed drip irrigation on. That included 3 peach trees, 3 apple trees, 2 cherry trees, 2 pears, and a nectarine. These were all planted in the ground on the south side of our house in the "side yard". I topped them with compost and then mulched them very heavy with shredded mulch.
I should mention that the one tree that was slow to bounce back after this knee high pruning was a large(er) caliber cherry tree. It was probably an inch in diameter, whereas all the other trees I've used this method on where about the diameter of my thumb (maybe a little thicker). Also, I've used this method only on first year bare root fruit trees. The trees obviously don't bear fruit the first summer, and some were light bearing the second year, however, I always pruned the fruit to 1-2 pieces per branch so as to not stress the branches. I haven't worked with trees past the second year as we have recently moved to Montana.
In addition to these trees I've used it on 3 Apple trees that I planted in Root Maker 7 gallon bags. These were also set up on drip irrigation, but were on the north side of my house (still in full sun). All 3 of these trees did fine and I was able to move them to Montana with me this August. I actually just planted these trees in the ground last weekend. We'll see how they do here.
I can't really comment on how trees pruned in this method would do in a wetter environment. You could always try to call DWN and talk to someone there.
Lastly, I originally discovered this method reading the book "Grow a Small Fruit Tree" by a lady who was employed at DWN. As we have just moved I think the book is still in a box somewhere, but I can try to find it soon and see what she had to say about where this method will work.
Hope some of that helped.
There's some AMAZING feedback in this thread. Thank you all!