How do I Choose the Best Dwarf Trees?

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  • Written By: K. Willis
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2019
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Choosing the best dwarf trees depends on a variety of factors. You must first decide whether you want an ornamental tree, or a fruit tree. Factors influencing your choice include how much light, shade, or shelter you have, and how much maintenance and care you are able to invest in the care of a tree. Another factor to consider is whether you plan to grow the tree in open ground or in a container. Once you've chosen the type of dwarf trees you want to grow, you should examine the roots and foliage to make sure you're choosing a healthy tree.

When choosing dwarf trees, it's important to keep the environment in which you intend to grow them in mind. If you live in a hot, dry climate, you should avoid plants that do better in cool, damp areas. If you have limited space, or wish to grow your trees in large containers, it is important to check the variety you've chosen is suitable for container growing; some dwarf trees, both ornamentals and fruit bearers, do not perform well in containers. If growing in containers, you must remember to provide a regular watering pattern, as well as giving regular feed.


Whatever type or variety of dwarf trees you choose to grow, when selecting new stock, it is very important to look at the roots. If the tree is in a pot, carefully remove the pot to examine the roots. If the roots are wrapped tightly together, usually in the shape of the container in which they were contained, this indicates root binding, meaning that the tree has been left in the container too long, and the roots are likely stunted due to their time confined by the container. Root bound trees can take several years to recover, and some will perform poorly, with a low fruit yield and slow growth for the remainder of their lives. Ensure that you choose a tree with healthy roots that are not stunted.

Discoloration of the roots is another thing to look out for. If the roots appear dry and shriveled, or there are large discolored, blemished, or "slimy" areas on the roots, this may indicate the presence of disease such as root rot. In this case, select another tree.

If foliage is present, you should ensure that all the leaves appear healthy, and are a uniform color. Check for indications of insect damage or infestation by examining both sides of the leaves. The leaves should not have holes, as this may indicate the presence of insects.

If the leaves have pale green or white blemishes, this may indicate disease, as will brown blemishes or lesions. When choosing the best dwarf trees, it is important to select a tree with a healthy appearance, otherwise not only will your new stock perform poorly, but you run the risk of introducing disease or infestation into your growing area. Many varieties of dwarf fruit trees offer some disease resistance; if you know your area is particularly prone to specific diseases, the best type of dwarf tree will be one which offers some level of resistance to those diseases.



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