10 Tips on Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees
What is a dwarf fruit tree?
A dwarf fruit tree is a small tree that bears regular-sized fruit. There are various sizes of dwarf trees, from some small enough to grow in box planters, up to "semi-dwarfs" about two-thirds as tall as standard-sized fruit trees.
What makes a dwarf a dwarf?
A dwarf tree is either a genetic dwarf by nature or is dwarfed by outside influences, usually by man and commonly by grafting a standard fruit-bearing top onto a root system (rootstock) of a natural dwarf.
Ten Tips why plant dwarfs?
- If you have only a little space for fruit trees a dwarf usually is the only possibility. But even if you have a sizable piece of ground, say 80' square which could take almost a dozen standard-sized trees, you could plant about 60 dwarf trees on it and get a far wider selection of kinds and varieties.
- Besides being more interesting, this greater spread of different fruits from dwarfs gives a margin of safety in case some variety doesn't do as well as expected one year.
- Dwarfs give you quicker returns on your investment, usually bearing the year you plant them or the year after.
- Dwarf trees have been rated more efficient than large ones, using more of their nutrients to make fruit instead of wood.
- Fruit from a dwarf tree is the same in all other respects as that from a standard-sized tree of the same variety. If anything, the fruit from the dwarf will be a little bigger.
- A dwarf tree is a handy size to care for-you need no ladder or seldom even a step-stool for most when pruning and harvesting.
- This compactness also makes the dwarf as easy to spray as a rose bush-and you need only one quart of spray instead of 30 to 40 quarts.
- Any fruit tree is a beautiful part of a house planting, but dwarfs are outstanding-lovely bouquets at eye-level, followed by the flashing colors and softly rounded forms of ripening fruit, ornaments you eat.
- For growing up a wall or framework as an espalier, the dwarf tree is the tree, a docile little fellow that takes to training.
- If you still have one nagging little doubt-"but aren't they awfully short-lived?"-don't give it another thought. Perhaps the notion that dwarf trees die young took hold because the average standard-sized fruit tree will live through neglect that could discourage a dwarf with its shallower root system. But give your dwarf trees decent care and your grandchildren can be picking fruit from the dwarf apple and pear trees you plant now.