Dwarf Fruit Trees
You can buy a fruit tree to suit any garden or courtyard, and dwarf fruit trees are particularly suited for growing in containers small courtyards.
Grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock these smaller growing trees will vary in final size depending on the type of rootstock used. Flying dragon rootstock in probably the best 'dwarf' rootstock for citrus trees.
Other root stocks will provide a semi dwarf tree, which can also suit particular planting needs. It is always best when buying a fruit tree to ask what type of rootstock is being used to sure.
Dwarfing Rootstocks for fruit trees
What we need to understand is that dwarfing rootstocks vary greatly and just because it has the the name dwarf, it does not mean it will be a really small tree.
We see for instance Quinces on an Quince 'A' type rootstock being sold as dwarf varieties, the real dwarf rootstock would be a Quince 'C' or the newly released Quince EMH.
The same story with Cherries, for a true dwarf look for Gisela 5, it will probably get to 2m, while Gisela 6 will get to nearly 4 (so its a semi dwarf)
With Apple trees look for M27 for the smallest growing trees, however its fruit is a little smaller as well. M9 is widely used, a larger tree, good fruit size but will need support.
And when we move to Plums, Pixy and the French Plumina are the two to look for.
Citrus Trees are also sold on dwarfing rootstock. If you are looking for a dwarf lemon tree or other citrus, look for 'Flying Dragon' rootstock, these should reach around 2m (6ft). In the nursery does not know the name of the rootstock, be wary semi dwarf lemon tree can arch twice this height.
Growing and Planting Dwarf Fruit Trees
Nearly all of the 'true' dwarfing types are well suited to growing in containers, they need a good quality mix and may need some support while establishing a root system. Use a container that is wider at the top, you will eventually need to repot, either due to growth, or depletion of the soil.
We hear the cry, My Dwarf Fruit Tree is growing to quickly, what do I do?
Many gardeners find that the newly planted 'dwarf tree' seems to take off in the first year or two and they rightfully think they have been sold the wrong tree.
It is a habit that these little trees do put on growth quickly until they begin to crop, then they slow down, a relief to many.
Over potting should be avoided, a 'crowded root system' will also slow growth. And remember, just because its a 'dwarf tree' does not mean it will not need pruning