Dwarf Apple Trees – Miniature Fruit Trees for Small Gardens

Many people assume that dwarf apple trees are for small gardens only but this isn’t actually the case at all. Even those with sprawling acres of land often opt for a miniature apple tree as opposed to a huge variety. There can be many reasons for this; they are easier to manage, crops are heavier, and fruits are often bigger too. They are, of course, also ideal for those short on space which makes them a highly desirable option.

As long as the location set aside for your potted apple tree receives lots of sunshine then there’s no reason yours won’t flourish. Dwarf trees are the same as large apple trees except they have been grafted specially onto a dwarf rootstock.

Dwarf apple trees in pots have a lifespan of 10-15 years and fruit usually grows after 2 or 3 years. Spring brings white or pink flowers before the reds and oranges of apples come through.

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Best Dwarf Apple Tree Varieties

Our guide below reveals the most popular dwarf apple tree varieties currently being purchased by UK gardeners. Whether they have a small garden or just simply want a small tree, we reveal the best of the picks below.


Cox’s Orange Pippin

Apple 'Cox's Orange Pippin'

Attractive in appearance as well as taste, Cox’s Orange Pippin are one of the better known dessert apples.

Full of flavour and juicy, this variety is refreshing as a snack or as part of a salad.

  • Best Feature: One of the most reliable croppers.
  • When To Plant Out: November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: August to October
  • Best Growing Position: Plenty of sun

Blenheim Orange

5ft 'Blenheim Orange' Dessert Apple Tree | MM106 Semi Vigorous Rootstock | Bare Root

A colourful fruit producing greens, yellows, oranges, and reds, Blenheim orange apples have a slightly sour taste.

Not overpowering though, and still suitable as a snack but also versatile enough to be used in other dishes. A crispy apple with bags of flavour which is a popular choice with UK green fingers.

  • Best Feature: Produces apples with a nutty taste.
  • When To Plant Out: November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: August to October
  • Best Growing Position: Full sun

Egremont Russet            

5ft 'Egremont Russet' Dessert Apple Tree | MM106 Semi Vigorous Rootstock | Bare Root

A well known apple variety, egremont russet apples produce wonderful displays and the fruit is perfect on a cheese board.

The taste combines sharpness with sweetness and these colourful apples do well in UK gardens.

  • Best Feature: Self-fertile, handy for small gardens.
  • When To Plant Out: November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: August to October
  • Best Growing Position: Full sun

Growing Dwarf Apple Trees

Dwarf apple trees are so versatile and have many advantages over bigger varieties. Miniature apple trees don’t need much pruning and won’t grow too big.

They are not difficult to care for and won’t take up huge amounts of space. They are perfect for a small area and, as well as producing fruit, also make a decorative addition to the garden. You can pot your apple tree for convenience or plant into the ground, whichever works best for you.

  • What Size Pot for an Apple Tree? Your pot will need to be at least 24” big.
  • Compost: Loam based compost
  • Watering: Regularly during spring and summer, less so in autumn and winter.
  • Feeding: General fertiliser early spring.
  • Rootstock: Choose M9 for a 2.5m apple tree.

Common Dwarf Apple Tree Problems

  • Aphids: Such pests can cause honeydew on trees, a sticky substance which can lead to sooty mould. Some aphids affect the leaves and cause them to curl and they can also affect the fruit itself. You can control aphids by maintaining a good garden routine and by welcoming their natural predators.
  • Brown Rot: This fungal disease affects the fruit on trees and causes it to rot in places. Sometimes the affected fruit will fall earlier than normal and any infected fruit should be disposed of to stop it spreading.
  • Apple Scab: Affecting the fruit and the leaves, apple scab causes marks which are visible to the naked eye. This fungus spreads through airborne spores and can be controlled through a good pruning routine.

Pruning Dwarf Apple Trees

One of the biggest advantages to growing a dwarf apple tree has to be the ease of pruning them. They don’t get overly tall so the pruning is really to make sure it stays in good shape and health.

When to Prune Dwarf Apple Trees

You will want to prune your dwarf apple tree during its dormant season, which is between November and March. The idea is that pruning takes place before new growth begins and you can make sure there are no diseases present.

How to Prune Dwarf Apple Trees

Your dwarf apple tree should ideally be as open as possible with no crossing branches. Any pruning should take care of any overcrowding by letting in as much light as possible. Also be sure to remove any damaged branches or any signs of infection. When making any cuts to the branches, be sure to cut at an angle so any moisture can’t collect there.


FAQ’s

How tall do dwarf apple trees grow?

Your dwarf apple tree is grafted on dwarfing rootstock so will not grow taller than 3.5 metres in height.

What is the best compost for dwarf apple trees?

Sandy and loamy soils are best matched to the requirements of your dwarf apple tree. Using poor quality soil may result in poor crops.

How to support dwarf apple trees?                        

You can buy stakes or trellis to help support your dwarf apple tree which helps protect its roots.

How much fruit does a dwarf apple tree produce?                          

You can expect your dwarf apple tree to start producing fruit within its second or third year and you can expect best yields around year 5. Despite being a smaller tree, fruit produce won’t be compromised and you will have plenty of crisp apples to enjoy.

What size pot for a dwarf apple tree?

You should aim for a 50cm pot in diameter for a dwarf apple tree so that it has plenty of space to grow.

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