Dwarf fruit trees are designed to bear a fruit the same size as a standard sized tree's fruit, but on a more easily managed tree. The management, pruning and harvesting, is easier done on a dwarf fruit tree due to their average size being only 20 to 25 percent that of a standard fruit tree. Likewise, dwarf fruit trees reach maturity and begin bearing fruit at a younger age than standard fruit trees, but they have a shorter lifespan than a large tree.
Most fruit trees can be found in the dwarf sized variety. Dwarf fruit trees are ideal for small yards, hobby gardeners and container gardens.
Native Dwarf Fruit Trees
To choose the best dwarf tree for your garden, first consider dwarf fruit trees which are native to your area. A native tree will grow better than a tree grown in a climate which does not meet its needs. If you live in a cold climate, choose dwarf fruit trees which require the cold to cycle them through a dormant period. Trees such as apples, apricots, cherries, peach, pear, persimmon, plum and pomegranate do better in colder climates. Adversely, unless you live in a warm climate, avoid trying to grow dwarf citrus, avocado, papaya and fig trees.
Dwarf Fruit Tree Needs
As with a standard fruit tree, when choosing the best dwarf fruit tree, consider what the tree needs from you and what you need from the tree. Match the needs of the dwarf fruit tree to the type of soil, sun exposure and wind protection you can give your tree. Similarly, choose the best dwarf fruit tree for your needs by considering the sweetness to tartness of the fruit, the season the fruit will ripen and the expected maintenance of your dwarf fruit tree.
Container Dwarf Fruit Trees
If you do not have good soil (or any soil) for planting your dwarf fruit tree, most dwarf fruit trees can be grown in containers. For the best dwarf trees for a container garden, consider how much space, sun and protection from the wind you can give your tree. Container dwarf fruit trees will be more susceptible to the cold than a tree planted in the ground and may not do well in colder climates. Likewise, moving your container tree back and forth between the indoors and outdoors will require much care and consideration.
Self-Pollinating Dwarf Fruit Trees
If you are growing dwarf fruit trees due to a shortage of space, consider self-pollinating dwarf fruit trees as the best option for your garden. Purchase a self-pollinating dwarf fruit tree such as an apricot, avocado, sour cherry, citrus, fig, nectarine, peach, persimmon or pomegranate tree to make the most of your limited space. Another option is to purchase a tree that has been grafted with another type of tree in order to be self-pollinating.