5 Best Dwarf Fruit Trees for Small Spaces - Backyard Boss
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5 Best Dwarf Fruit Trees for Small Spaces

There is something whimsical about a small backyard orchard filled with laden fruit trees. You can have alfresco lunches and intimate picnics under the tree branches, soak in the beauty and aromas of fresh fruits, or marvel at your personal oasis. 

Fortunately, there are many dwarf fruit trees that you can plant in your garden, even if you have limited space. These varieties don’t grow into majestic giants yet still retain the allure of a lush tree, providing you with enough fruits to last at least a season. They are also easier to prune and harvest. Here are the best ones!

1. Apple Tree

Apple trees
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Dwarf apple trees grow about 8 to 12 feet tall and are hardy in zones 3 through 9. To find your perfect apple tree look for rootstocks labeled as dwarfing at your local nursery. Some of these include M9, MM106, and M26. 

When it comes to planting your trees space them 6 to 8 feet apart and ensure they receive at least eight hours of sunlight daily. Test the soil so the pH is perfect for their growing requirements, between 6 and 7, and remember to give them 1 inch of water weekly; Do this during the growing season from May to October.  

Disease-resistant varieties include ‘Enterprise’ and ‘Liberty.’ When looking for apple varieties look for ones labeled with a dwarf rootstock. 

2. Pear Tree

Pear tree
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Semi-dwarfing pear rootstocks only grow about 8 to 10 feet tall. Pears can survive in a range of zones, from 3 through 10 but young trees always require deep watering during dry spells to promote root establishment. Prune your pear trees lightly every year to keep them healthy and thriving. 

Plant dwarf varieties about 12 to 15 feet away from each other to give them ample room to grow and ensure you’ve chosen a location that is in full sun, has fertile, well-draining soil, and offers good air circulation.   

You can grow numerous pear varieties in your home garden, such as soft and juicy ‘Bartlett,’ sweet ‘Anjou,’ and crisp-textured ‘Bosc.’ 

3. Citrus Tree

Lemon Fruit Tree with fruits and foliage
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Citrus trees are best suited for hardiness zone between 8 through 11, so people often grow them in pots and bring them inside in winter. However, if you live in a warm climate, dwarf citrus trees are some of the best fruit trees for your garden. 

If planting citruses other than lemons and limes, choose the warmest spot in your garden, sheltered from the wind. Warmth helps mature and sweeten the fruit. Ensure the soil is well-draining, slightly acidic, and constantly moist in summer. Keep the trees 6 to 10 feet apart, keeping more distance between taller trees.  

Dwarf varieties grow to about 8 to 12 feet tall — the perfect size. Some popular citrus varieties include naval orange ‘Washington,’ and lemon ‘Meyer.’ 

4. Peach Tree

Peach Tree in the Sun
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Genetic dwarf peach trees reach 6 feet tall, the perfect size for a small garden! Great cultivars include, ‘Golden Gen,’ ‘El Dorado,’ and ‘Southern Flame.’. They’re also fast-growing trees so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor within two to three years.  

Peaches are hardy to zones 4 through 9 and thrive in full sun. Select a site with well-draining, moderately fertile soil with a pH between 6 and 6.5. Most often, you don’t need to water the tree as rainfall is sufficient to irrigate the roots. Plant the trees at 10 to 12 feet intervals. 

Dwarf peach trees can benefit from severe pruning. Cut any branch that is weak or growing in the wrong direction during the dormancy season in winter. Additionally, remove all immature fruits in the first year to encourage the root system to establish. In the later years, thin the small peaches, allowing one fruit every 3 to 4 inches on the branch as overcrowding prevents proper ripening.  

5. Cherry Tree

cluster of ripe dark red Stella cherries hanging on cherry tree branch with green leaves and blurred background
Image credits: Thushanth Pakkiyaraja via Shutterstock

Ornamental cherry trees are another excellent addition to your small orchard. You can find them in various sizes, depending on their rootstock. Dwarf rootstock varieties include ‘Meteor,’ ‘Compact Stella’ and ‘North Star.’ Dwarf cherry trees also produce fruits in about a year and can grow anywhere from 12 to 15 feet.

Sour cherries grow best in zones 4 through 6, while sweet varieties thrive in zones 5 to 7. Other than that, they have similar growing requirements needing at least 6 hours of daily sunlight and well-draining soil with a pH of 6 to 7. Water the young trees on alternate days for the first week after planting, reducing watering as the tree matures. About an inch of water from rainfall or irrigation every ten days is sufficient for an established cherry tree. Prune the trees in winter to promote the growth of fruiting wood.

Small Trees for Small Spaces

Dwarf trees are often perfect solutions for small gardens. Moreover, most dwarf trees produce fruits much earlier than their standard counterparts and are easier to maintain and harvest. 

Which of these trees will you grow in your backyard? Have you tried growing dwarf trees? Share below in the comments!