Creative Spacing for Dwarf Fruit Trees

Nurserymen create dwarf fruit trees using grafting techniques. The rootstock of a fruit tree determines that the ultimate size of this tree. The fruit-bearing limbs, or scion wood, decide the type and size of the fruit. Grafting methods are employed for centuries as a means to choose and preserve specific desirable fruiting characteristics. While all fruit trees need proper spacing to create the very best fruit, dwarf trees also lend themselves to various creative landscaping applications because of their easy-to-handle size. Generally speaking, allow at least a 8-foot diameter space for each dwarf tree for healthier air-flow; this spacing could be measured as 8 feet from trunk to trunk.

Improve Yard and Garden

Dwarf fruit trees can be used to conceal unsightly features such as fences, alleyways or sheds. Their dense foliage also buffers street noise or sounds from neighbors as it provides solitude. Taking into account the shadows they’ll cast at adulthood, put individual trees in the corners of their garden or plant them as a backyard border or at a casual row along a walking course. The fragrant blossoms of many trees such as citrus enliven a patio lawn. Not only do the trees offer the beauty of spring blossoms, they provide layers of green summer foliage and colors of ripening fruit and fall leaf which raise garden appeal as the seasons progress.

Enhance View

Plant dwarf fruit trees to frame a view from a window, deck or patio, or mark a boundary with a row of trees. Produce a screen with depth and texture by placing the tiny trees as a layer of mid-level foliage against a low-growing hedge. Space the trees 8 to 10 feet from the hedge and at least 8 feet apart in the row, to allow pristine maintenance. To use dwarf trees as focal points in garden beds, under-plant them with ground covers or reduced growing annuals or perennials. You’ll want to increase irrigation to provide ample water into both fruit trees and understory plantings, and the higher uptake of nutrients in densely populated regions may require additional fertilization as well.


Even though you can plant dwarf fruit trees straight in the ground, many varieties also thrive in containers. Trees in containers could be moved for protection in the harsh weather, making it possible to grow some varieties such as Eureka lemons (Citrus Limonum “Eureka”) year round, even in cooler areas. Utilize container trees to layout non-permanent windbreaks or to give shade from extreme heat for tender plants. Put them close a birdbath to offer perches and nesting places to wild birds. Avoid overcrowding container-grown trees by positioning the containers at least 8 feet apart. Rotating the containers provides the trees sun on all sides, enhancing fruit formation and production.


Design a living wall along a fence, the side of a structure or on a trellis by coaching dwarf fruit trees using espalier procedures. In this form of garden art, you train the trees by pruning them into interesting layouts to your real or imaginary erect airplane. Criss-cross branches, wire them into curved lines, or produce easy candelabra or fan shapes. You can espalier in-ground trees as well as container plantings to configure them to available space.

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