How to Plant Fruit Trees in a Small Space


Plucking a fresh juicy pear from your backyard, biting into a crisp apple straight from the tree or enjoying the succulence of a peach still warm from the sun are treats you can enjoy if you have your own fruit trees. It's not necessary to have acres of land to plant fruit trees. And you don't have to spend all your free time tending to your orchard.

Step 1

Pick a variety of dwarf fruit tree that do well in your hardiness zone. Trees like apples, pears and cherries require a long chilling period to produce fruit. Others like peaches, plums and nectarines require a much shorter chilling period. Citrus trees require no chilling and are in fact frost tender.

Step 2

Choose a location that receives full sunlight. Since the tree is a dwarf, it most likely won't grow over 5 feet tall. The trunk of the dwarf tree is genetically limited to how tall it will grow. It's grafted onto a sturdy root stock then the full-size variety of the selected fruit tree is then grafted onto the dwarf trunk. Since the tree won't grow very tall, make sure it's not shaded by other trees or bushes.

Step 3

Consider a hedge of dwarf fruit trees in lieu of shrubbery. Plant the trees 3 to 4 feet apart.

Step 4

Dig a hole that is 3 feet wide and deep. Add one quarter as much compost or organic matter as there is soil removed from the hole. If additional amendments are needed, such as sand to loosen clay soils or gypsum to counteract alkaline soil, add them as well.

Step 5

Fill the hole with water and let the water drain. Add back enough soil so the remaining hole is only as large as the container of the fruit tree.

Step 6

Remove the tree from its container. Lightly score the sides of the root ball to loosen up the roots. Plant the tree so the soil level in your garden is at the same level as the soil was in the container.

Step 7

Mound the soil so there is a well around the tree about a foot away from the trunk. Fill the well with water every day for the first week after planting, then once a week for the next month.

Step 8

Prune the tree by removing any crisscrossed branches. Remove one-third to one-quarter the length of the branches right after planting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't prune more than one-third of the tree in any one season.

Things You'll Need

  • Dwarf fruit tree
  • Shovel
  • Soil amendments
  • Pruning shears


  • The Country Garden; Charlie Ryrie; 2003
  • The United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
  • University of Arizona: Fruit Trees: Introduction
Keywords: dwarf fruit trees, small fruiting trees, trees small spaces

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.