How to Plant a Semi-Dwarf Apple Tree


Semi-dwarf apple trees are a perfect choice for gardeners with limited space or who want a tree that will start producing fruit quickly. In order to get a better yield of fruit, and ensure that the tree grows to the desired height, it's important to plant the tree properly. The planting method can also affect the tree's eventual shape and growth pattern, which in turn determines whether the tree will be aesthetically pleasing as well as fruitful.

Step 1

Wait until early spring, as soon as the frost has thawed to plant your semi-dwarf apple tree.

Step 2

Choose a planting site that receives plenty of sunlight, does not have any overhead wires and is not too close to any buildings.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is twice as wide as it is deep. It should be large enough for the roots to spread out completely once the tree is planted.

Step 4

Push enough of the dirt back into the hole so that when the apple tree is planted, the graft union is above the hole. The union should sit about 2 to 3 inches above the ground.

Step 5

Place the tree gently in the hole, spreading out the roots as much as possible without damaging them.

Step 6

Fill the hole partway, leaving about the top-third empty.

Step 7

Water the tree thoroughly, allowing the dirt to settle around the tree.

Step 8

Fill the remainder of the hole with dirt, tamping it down gently when finished.

Step 9

Prune any damaged or extremely uneven branches. Don't do any serious pruning at this point--only enough to keep the tree growing healthy and strong.

Step 10

Drive a stake into the ground next to the tree until it is about 2-feet deep.

Step 11

Tie the stake to the tree using garden wire.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant the graft below the surface or the tree will not remain dwarf-sized.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • 6- to 8-foot tree stake
  • Garden wire


  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Dwarf Apple Trees For Home Gardens
  • University of Missouri Extension: Home Fruit Production - Apples
Keywords: plant a semi-dwarf apple tree, dwarf apple trees, semi-dwarf trees

About this Author

Carlye Jones is a journalist, freelance writer, photographer and novelist, with more than 15 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, interior decorating, photography, gardening and traveling. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites, such as Matador Travel. Carlye received her training at Northern Arizona University.