Many people have embraced gardening; however, not everyone has the luxury of planting full-size trees due to space constraints. If you want some fruit trees in your small backyard garden, dwarf trees are your best bet. So, are dwarf fruit trees worth planting?
Dwarf fruit trees are worth planting; they are easier to manage than full-sized trees and require a small space to thrive. Moreover, many dwarf fruit trees self-fertilize and thus do not need other trees for cross-pollination. They also add to the beauty of your landscape.
This article will look at dwarf fruit trees in detail. We’ll outline how to plant dwarf trees, the advantages of planting them in your garden, and discuss the best dwarf trees to plant. Let’s begin.
4 Advantages of Planting Dwarf Fruit Trees
Planting dwarf fruit trees is worth your while as they come with many advantages. The major advantage is that they are small and are easier to manage than most full-size trees. They also add to the beauty of the landscape, especially in spring when they are in full bloom. Moreover, with dwarf fruit trees, you get organic fruits for your family cheaply.
Dwarf fruit trees are the best to grow when you do not have much space to work with. As a result, many commercial growers are choosing dwarf trees as a preference due to the low space to harvest ratio.
You can grow them in your patio or backyard containers or plant them directly in a small garden. There are many dwarf fruit varieties to choose from.
Many varieties are self-fertile; they do not need other trees for cross-pollination to produce fruit. This means you can have just one fruit tree on your patio, and it will produce fruits. When buying a dwarf fruit tree, it is crucial to confirm with the vendor that they self-fertilize.
Whether you plant the dwarf trees in a container or a garden, ensure they get the necessary sunlight and proper drainage.
Now, let’s take a more detailed look at the four main advantages of planting dwarf fruit trees:
1. You Can Plant a Variety
There are many varieties of fruit trees you can grow as dwarf trees.
The most common fruit trees grown as dwarf trees are:
These trees reach a height of around 3.28-6.56 feet (1-2 m) and are 1.64-3.28 feet (0.5-1 m) wide.
They are perfect for patios and vegetable patches, as you can grow them in pots or on the grounds. If you’re concerned about space, you can also opt for upright cordons or columnar trees, which are great space savers. They give you all of the aesthetics you’ll want from your tree without taking up as much space.
You can grow many types of fruits in your home if you have the space. Moreover, some fruit trees can have more than one variety grafted onto the same rootstock, giving you a variety of fruit from one tree.
2. They Reap the Benefits of Grafting
Dwarf fruit trees reap the benefits of grafting that normal size trees do not have. Some dwarf fruit trees are naturally small; however, these are usually rootstock. A rootstock is the root system of a plant that you graft another plant onto to get the desired speciation of the rootstock, in this case, the dwarfing effect. You can graft two or three varieties of some patio fruits to one rootstock.
With a grafted fruit tree, you get several benefits, such as:
- The tree produces fruit faster.
- The quality of fruit is consistent over the years.
- Grafted fruits have a better taste than those produced from seeds.
- Grafted fruit trees are more resistant to pests and diseases.
You can select your rootstock from the nursery and graft your own dwarf fruit tree. Some nurseries also allow you to choose your preferred rootstock and graft it for you; this way, you get the dwarf tree with your desired specifications.
3. They Are Low Maintenance
Dwarf trees are some of the easiest plants to manage. They are easier to prune, as you do not need ladders to prune them, require less maintenance than similar families and species, and usually mature well into well established adults.
They are also easily protected from pests and diseases compared to full-size trees. It is easier to spray the trees to protect them from diseases as they are easy to reach. On the other hand, spraying a full-size tree may need ladders and require more herbicides making it costlier.
Moreover, it is easier to protect the trees from frost during winter. If the trees are in a container, you can put wheels on the container and roll the plant indoors during harsh weather.
You can also cover the trees with a net during fruit season so birds can not destroy the fruits. Covering full-sized trees may be difficult and costly considering the size of the net needed. You also need at least two people and ladders to cover a full-size tree.
One of the benefits of dwarf fruit trees that you cannot get from any other tree is portability; with your miniature fruit trees in a container, you can carry your tree wherever you need. If you need to move houses, you pack your tree and place it on your new patio.
4. Quick Turnaround Times
Perhaps one of the best things about dwarf fruit trees is how quickly they produce fruit relative to full-sized trees. They can start producing fruits in a couple of years, while most regular trees take about three to five years to produce fruits.
They also produce higher quality fruits than the full-size tree, and their taste and quality is consistent over the years.
Dwarf fruit trees have a significant disadvantage you may need to note. Unfortunately, all of these benefits come with a major disadvantage in lifespan. While dwarf fruit trees do almost everything faster than full sized trees, they also die faster than their larger counterparts.
Tips for Growing Fruit Trees in a Container
Most dwarf fruit trees can do well in containers which is great because you can maximize on the small space you have. But even when growing the trees in containers, don’t just keep them under a shade. Ensure they get ample sunshine, at least 6 hours a day.
Here’s how to grow dwarf fruit trees in a container:
- Choose a large pot at least 23.6 inches (60 cm) in diameter. Ensure your pot has sufficient allowance for drainage.
- Put some rocks at the bottom of the pot. The stones prevent soil from being washed out when the tree is watered. When soil is washed away, it takes valuable nutrients the trees need.
- Get a loam-based compost and mix it well into the soil. Fill half the pot with the soil and place the tree in the middle, ensuring it is straight.
- Add the rest of the soil to the top of the pot. Compress the soil around the roots to remove air.
- Water the plant after planting.
Taking Care of a Your Dwarf Trees
Taking care of a dwarf fruit tree is easier than caring for a full-size tree. During the first years, all you need to do is water the tree and tidy the pot (or the ground around the tree) by removing the fallen dead leaves.
You should avoid overwatering the trees, as this can kill them. Only water the plants as needed according to their species. However, you should ensure you water the trees generously during the summer, as they need more water due to evaporation.
It is vital to protect the blossom from frost using a horticultural fleece in the spring; the blossoms will become fruits when pollinated. During the winter, you can wheel the plant indoors to protect it from the harsh weather.
When the tree has reached the preferred size, you can prune it as you would prune a regular-sized tree. You should prune the trees when they are dormant, just before the spring when active growth begins. However, you can do a bit of pruning in the summer to get rid of undesirable growth or maintain the tree’s shape.
Dwarf fruit trees are the best to grow when you have space constraints. They can grow in pots as well as in the ground. They are developed from grafting regular fruit trees onto a dwarfing rootstock. Dwarf fruit trees are easy to manage and produce fruits faster than regular trees.