For those who love trees but are small on space, dwarf trees might just be the answer to their tree dilemma. Ideally suited to smaller yards and spaces, dwarf trees offer the home owner many options. These are especially ideal for the home gardener that wants fruit in the garden but simply doesn’t have the space for a full sized tree or orchard.
Dwarf trees are made by grafting two trees together. A smaller tree is grafted onto the root stock of a larger tree and the resulting tree is considered a dwarf tree because it won’t grow as tall as a regular tree.
There are many different types of dwarf trees available. Some are ornamental (just pretty) while others are fruit bearing. The most common fruit bearing dwarf trees are: apple, pear, cherry, plum, peach, lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit. Dwarf fruit bearing trees don’t necessarily produce less fruit in fact, their fruit should be thinned accordingly so as to not overload the tree branches.
Dwarf trees are frequently more expensive than regular sized trees. This is due to the extra care that the nursery has to take to produce a dwarf tree. On average, it takes 2 years of care for a nursery to have a dwarf tree ready for sale.
Owning a dwarf tree has many advantages over owning a regular sized tree. They are shorter and thus easier to pick fruit from. They take up less space in a smaller yard. They are easier to prune. They still produce the same amount of fruit that a regular sized tree produces. However, there are also a few disadvantages to a dwarf tree.
Dwarf trees are higher maintenance requiring more irrigation and more attention. Dwarf trees are more fragile than regular sized trees and if living in a colder region extra care should be taken to ensure they are protected from heavy frost and colder temperatures. Many horticulturists suggest choosing a tree designated for a zone that is two zones colder than the zone lived in. Frequently, dwarf trees will need to be staked. Some dwarf trees also have a shorter lifespan that a regular sized tree. Be sure to ask the nursery plenty of questions so that there is an understanding of the care required for a dwarf tree.
Dwarf trees are the perfect solution to smaller spaced yards, smaller gardens and those who desire a shorter tree that still provides plenty of fruit.