Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Care for Dwarf Fruit Trees

By Katherine Kally ; Updated September 21, 2017

Caring for dwarf fruit trees is the same as caring for normal sized fruit trees; they need plenty of sun and a moist environment to thrive. Dwarf fruit trees only grow between 5 and 8 feet tall, but they produce regular size fruit when they are two to three years old. You can grow dwarf fruit trees in containers or in the ground and enjoy fresh fruit throughout the year.

Water the soil around your dwarf fruit trees so the soil stays moist, especially if you are growing your dwarf trees in containers. Your dwarf fruit tree needs at least 1 inch of water each week, depending on the type of fruit trees you are growing as well as the humidity levels in your home or on your property.

Feed your dwarf fruit trees with water soluble fertilizer that’s formulated for fruit trees. Do this once when the spring growth season begins and then again in early summer.

Protect your dwarf fruit trees from winds and frost. Many dwarf fruit trees are hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 8, but wind can damage any fruit tree. If you live outside the hardiness zone for the type of fruit that you enjoy most, grow your dwarf fruit trees in containers and bring them in during the winter season.

Keep mulch around the fruit trees in your yard to help them retain moisture. Organic mulch works great on fruit trees. Apply a thickness of 4.5 to 6 inches for the best moisture retention. In the fall, pull the mulch away from the tree trunk to avoid damage from rodents.

Prune your fruit trees in the early spring, before growth activity begins. There are different pruning techniques for different types of fruit trees, but the basic steps include removing the dead wood and broken branches, remove shoots from the base of the tree, and prune more of the vertical branches than the horizontal branches. Prune your fruit trees with pruning shears just above the buds, at a backwards angle of about 30 degrees.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Insect repelling plants
  • Pruning shears


  • Plant garlic and marigolds in close proximity to your fruit trees to help protect them against insects. Other natural insect repellents include catnip, anise, nasturtium and petunia.

About the Author


Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.