Dwarf fruit trees benefit gardeners in several ways, according to the University of California Calaveras County Cooperative Extension. Their full-sized fruit matures more quickly than that of standard trees. Small stature makes them suitable for confined spaces and at the same time, it simplifies pruning, harvesting and spraying. Dwarf fruit trees also produce blossoms with the same color, fragrance and size of their larger counterparts.
Dwarf Apple ‘Thornton’ Starkspur Winesap
‘Thornton’ Starkspur Winesap is a dwarf apple (Malus pumila) hardy to minus 20 degrees F. A hybrid from Missouri's Stark Brothers, it stands between 8 and 10 feet high and wide. Its showy, fragrant white blooms appear in May, attracting bees and butterflies. The red fruit on trees in the coldest parts of its hardiness range--USDA zone 5--ripens in mid-October. While ‘Thornton’ is relatively resistant to common apple diseases and insects, it may require spraying to prevent pest damage, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. This tree needs full sun and prefers well-drained, acidic (pH below 6.8) deep loam. Good fruit production requires pollination from another apple variety.
Dwarf Plum 'Johnson' Starking Delicious
Also hardy to USDA zone 5, dwarf plum (Prunus domestica) ‘Johnson’ Starking Delicious reaches up to 10 feet high and wide. Its fragrant, white, April blooms give way to red-skinned, mid-August fruit. These are clingstone plums, with red flesh firmly attached their pits. Because it blooms early, ‘Johnson’ benefits from spring frost protection, notes the Missouri Botanical Garden. This plum is susceptible to several diseases and pests, including brown rot and leaf spot. It likes well-trained, averagely moist soil in full sun and needs pollination by another plum variety.
Dwarf Pear 'Moonglow'
Dwarf pear (Pyrus communis) ‘Moonglow' is a fire-blight resistant cultivar reaching 8 to 10 feet high and wide. Its abundant, dense, flat clusters of white blooms appear in April or May, states the Missouri Botanical Garden. Mid-August brings Moonglow’s red-tinged, yellow fruit on trees cross-pollinated with another pear variety. Hardy to USDA zone 5, this tree needs early spring frost protection. Regular chemical spraying is essential for preventing the numerous diseases and pests that affect this tree. Moonglow performs best in a sunny location with sand- or clay-based loam and averagely fertile, well-drained soil.
Dwarf Nectarine 'Mericrest'
'‘Mericrest’ dwarf nectarine (Prunus persica var. nectarina) produces August fruit with the smooth skin of apricots and peach-like flesh. The reddish-yellow fruit follows Mericrest’s pale pink April blooms. This 8- to 10-foot tree, hardy to zone 5, requires chemical spraying to prevent a host of diseases including canker, leaf curl, aphids and peach tree borers. Unlike many dwarf trees, Mericrest is self-pollinating, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It needs full sun and averagely moist, well-drained soil. The best locations for ‘Mericrest’ are those where no other stone fruit trees, such as cherries, peaches, pears or plums, have grown.