15 Fruit Trees With Non-Invasive Roots

This article was reviewed by Steve Snedeker, professional landscaper.

Who doesn't love fresh fruit picked from your own tree? Or non-edible to human fruits that your bird friends will love. But some fruit trees have invasive roots and wouldn't be suitable for planting near a home. So what are the best fruit trees that don't have non-invasive roots?

We've researched what top gardeners have to say and have put together a list of fifteen fruit trees with non-invasive roots. Let's take a look at what we found.

Close-up of young lemon fruitage on the tree. 15 Fruit Trees With Non-Invasive Roots

1. Dwarf Cherry

 sour cherries after the rain.

The Romeo Dwarf cherry tree (Prunus fruticosa x prunus cerasus 'Romeo') is a welcome addition to any small fruit tree orchard. The thing about choosing a dwarf tree is the smaller tree, the smaller the root system.

Because larger cherries will tend to spread, if you're looking for something to plant near a home or drainage system, go for the dwarf. This particular variety produces up to 25 lb of fruit per plant when it's full-grown. It grows 4-8 ft tall and will survive in temps as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The fruit is deep crimson with incredible sweetness in its flavor and enjoys full sun.

2. Dwarf Pear

Dwarf pear tree orchards

Much like other dwarf trees, the Dwarf Pear ( Pyrus communis) is a smaller version of the larger trees. These dwarf-sized trees grow to heights of 7-10'; thus, the corresponding root structure spreads about the same. They are not invasive like their naughty cousin, the Bradford pear tree. Be sure to select the dwarf size when ordering a pear tree. Like most fruit trees, they like full sun and well-drained soil to produce the most fruit.

3. Pawpaw

Raw papaya on the tree with sky.

The Pawpaw, or Papaya tree (Carica papaya), is best known for its delicious fruit. But to have fruit, you're going to need two of these trees as they are not self-pollinators. The good thing is that their root structure is not invasive, so they're a good choice for planting near a home, driveway, or septic drain field. They like a little protection from the wind so keep that in mind when choosing the location. Papaya trees thrive on full sun, and they like a little fertilizer. Mulching the bases helps to keep their moisture in, as well.

4. Dwarf Orange

Dwarf orange tree display on a balcony staircase

One solution for planting fruit trees where you're worried about the root system is in pots. Dwarf orange trees (Citrus sinensis) are great candidates for this type of planting. They do well in pots and are happy to provide fruit while there. Citrus trees are more sensitive to cold than some other varieties of trees, so having them in pots means in colder climates; you can move them in where it's warmer. When choosing a pot, a porous material is better than a plastic pot as it provides more natural drainage for the tree. They love full sun and can be planted in the ground in USDA zones 9-11. 

5. Dwarf Plum

fresh plums hanging from its branches

The Dwarf plum (Prunus domesticus) is another variety you'll want as a dwarf. Larger tree roots may spread out more than your liking. Whether you plant it directly in the soil or the pot, one wonderful thing about plum trees is the amount of fruit they produce. This sun-loving plant will need about 8-10 feet of room for its canopy. If given well-drained sun and full sun, it should bear heavily and you'll be freeze-drying, canning, and eating ripe plums in the summer.

6. Meyer Lemon Tree

Meyer lemons on the tree

If you're going to plant a small lemon tree, why not make it a delicious Meyer lemon tree (Citrus × meyeri).  This lemon has a taste that is a cross of tart lemon and mandarin orange. It's self-pollinating, so it is excellent in a container. It can bear fruit in as little as two years and will do so either indoors or outdoors. Dwarf varieties will reach from 5-7 feet tall. They're beautiful with their glossy green leaves, fragrant white flowers, and then the brilliant yellow fruit. They're hardy in zones 8-11 but will grow in containers in colder climates.

7. Loquat

Loquat tree,outdoor with fruits

A loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) produces small tart-sweet fruit that resembles apricots in appearance.  Their taste, though, is more like the cross between a plum and a kumquat. Their roots are non-invasive, so if you live in a suitable climate, they can go straight into your ground, and containers aren't necessary. When fully grown, they can be as tall as 20 feet and as wide as fifteen feet. They do love full sun and work best in USDA zones 7-10.  They do like to be well-watered, but they will grow relatively quickly for a tree if treated right.

8. Dwarf Apple

Apple tree fully laden with ripe red apples on a sunny cloudless day.

Apple trees (Malus domestica) have such a gorgeous appearance with their gnarled trunks and beautiful flowers in the spring. There are hundreds of varieties available, from modern hybrids to delicate and rare heirloom trees. As a whole, apple tree root structures are not wide-spreading, so containers aren't a consideration. But if you do need a smaller tree for a smaller garden, dwarf varieties are available. These deciduous trees prefer a cooler climate than citrus trees though some long-season varieties can go as hot as Zone 8. For your best bet, though, plant if you live in Zones 3-5. 

9. Peach Tree

peach tree brunch with ripe fruit at an orchard

Peach trees (Prunus persica) are so beautiful. In the spring, they flower with lovely lavender flowers, which produce the delicious fuzzy orange and yellow fruit we know as peaches. These trees are not invasive, though they need about 10-20' of space for their canopy and root spread. Peaches tend to be hardy in zones 6-9, but a late freeze in the colder climates can zap the fruit if they are already in bloom. Peach trees love full sun and rich, loamy soil. If you care for them as they prefer, you'll end up with a gorgeous harvest of fruit in early summer.

10. Crabapple

One beautiful flowering crab tree

Crabapple trees (Malus) are not often planted specifically for their fruit but for their blooms. These lovely small shade trees have a pleasing shape and, in the spring, are alive with blooms. They bloom early, so they provide color when other trees still look bleak. And in the fall, they get gorgeous colorful fall foliage.  They do produce fruit, though it's not eaten raw. Some people do make crabapple jelly or jam with the fruit, and it provides food for wildlife. 

11. Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

Cornelian cherries on a tree in summertime

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood (Cornus mas) is a small, 20-25 foot tree or shrub that thrives in well-drained urban conditions. Because its root structure is non-invasive, the planting options are more widespread when it comes to location. The berries (or cherries) which appear in the late summer are edible and thought to be good for preventing the common cold or flu. They're high in antioxidants and Vitamin C. The plant itself enjoys partial shade to full sun and well-drained loamy soil.

12. Feijoas

Feijoa fruit plant. food backgrounds and textures

The Feijoa tree (Feijoa sellowiana) is a member of the crepe myrtle family. It's native to Brazil and other areas of South America and is planted widely for its ornamental appearance and fruit. Feijoas have a sweet flavor reminiscent of guava crossed with pineapple and quince. This small evergreen tree grows to about 15 feet tall and has leaves that look kind of like an olive tree's leaves. These plants are heavy eaters and like fertilizer and good mulch to keep growing. 

13. Bay Tree

Bay leaf Bush. Green juicy Bay leaves

Though not technically a fruit tree, the bay tree (Laurus nobilis) is used for culinary purposes. This compact evergreen tree is best known for its fragrant leaves that are used for spice in stews, soups, and other dishes. It can be used as a small shrub, a container plant, or a tree that reaches about 10 feet in most US locations (in its homeland of the Mediterranean, it can grow as tall as 50 ft). This plant is sensitive to frost and is only hardy in zones 7 or higher. 

14. Heirloom Apple

Apple tree in an orchard

Many an old farmstead boasts a beautiful heirloom apple tree (Malus pumila). Full-sized apple trees do not have invasive roots, but they will need a bit more room to spread out than their smaller cousins, the dwarf apple. Heirloom apples, the rare old varieties, tend to run toward smaller tree sizes anyway. Apple trees prefer cooler climates than citrus, with most liking to be between zones 3 and 5. These trees are deciduous, losing their leaves in the fall and bearing blooms on bare branches in the spring before producing fruit in the summer and fall. They need full sun.

15. Lime Tree

Lime green tree with fruits grows in wooden tub

Like other citrus trees, the lime tree (Tilia) will need to be pot-planted to contain its roots. Luckily this lovely little tree does just fine in a container and will still bear fruit. There are dozens of varieties of limes, each with a unique flavor, so factor that in when you choose your favorite tree to purchase. Lime trees need full sun and are hardy outdoors in zones 8-11. 

An Orchard Of Your Very Own

Hopefully, you've gotten great ideas of fruit trees to plant in your own garden within these choices. If you enjoyed this post here at GardenTabs.com, please check out a few of our others below:

11 Beautiful Trees Under 10 Feet

8 Cat-Safe Indoor Trees You Can Keep At Home Without Harming Kitty

One comment

  1. Pawpaw and Papaya are two different fruit trees. Pawpaw of the moderate weather is related to cherimoya of the tropical. Papaya (of the tropical) stands alone; I don’t know if it is related to anything.

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