dwarf tree, in horticultural practice, a tree artificially kept to a smaller size than is normal for average members of the species. This is usually accomplished either by limiting its root space and food and by careful pruning or by grafting it on the rootstock of a smaller species. Dwarf trees (their culture is an ancient Japanese art called bonsai) utilize limited space and are grown for ornamental purposes. Dwarf fruit trees are valued for both decoration and fruit production in small gardens. Natural dwarfing occurs among plants growing in areas where only low-growing varieties can survive (see alpine plants).
See G. E. Severn, Miniature Trees in the Japanese Style (1967), M. Kawasumi, Introductory Bonsai (1972).