How to Grow & Maintain Dwarf Fruit Trees


Dwarf fruit trees take up less room in a small orchard than their full-size counterparts. Most fruit trees are available in dwarf varieties and should begin to produce fruit in as little as three years. Depending on the age of the dwarf fruit tree when purchased, harvest can occur the first year after planting.

Step 1

Dig a hole twice the size in diameter than the root ball of the fruit tree. Dig the hole deep enough to accommodate the ball while allowing the graft union of the tree to remain 2 to 3 inches above the soil level. Plant the tree in the center of the hole, spreading the roots out evenly in the diameter. Backfill and tamp down the soil around the tree. Water the tree with 2 to 5 gallons of water.

Step 2

Apply 1 oz. of nitrogen in a circle around the tree, keeping the fertilizer at least 12 inches from the tree itself. Do this two weeks after planting the tree. Water the nitrogen into the soil.

Step 3

Mulch around the base of the tree to a depth of 3 to 5 inches, using pine bark, wood shavings or hay. This will help control weeds and help the soil to retain moisture.

Step 4

Apply herbicide if needed to keep a 2 to 3 feet diameter circle around the tree free of weeds.

Step 5

Spray a fungicide on the foliage and fruit if mold or other fungus problems begin to occur during the growing year.

Step 6

Prune the trees in the late fall to the desired size after the fruit is harvested but before the tree goes dormant for the year.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Chemical sprayer bottle
  • Nitrogen
  • Herbicide
  • Fungicide
  • Pine bark, wood chips or hay mulch


  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Planting and Early Care of Fruit Trees
  • University of California at Davis: Dwarf Fruit Trees Add Variety to Landscapes (PDF)
  • Purdue University Extension: It's Not Hard to Grow Your Own Backyard Fruits
Keywords: planting fruit trees, fruit tree care, maintaining fruit trees

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.