Dwarfing is frequently a consequence of the lack of food materials, or of some particular ingredient in the soil, and in such cases is a diseased condition of some danger; similar results may ensue in soils containing the necessary chemical elements, but in unavailable forms.
Dwarfing may also be brought about by repeated maiming, nipping off the buds, pruning, etc., as in the miniature trees of the Japanese; and the case of trees continually browsed down by cattle, or of moor plants perennially dwarfed by cutting winds, are further illustrations in the same category, as are also those of certain alpine and moraine plants, whose only chance of survival depends on their adapting themselves to the repeated prunings suffered by every young shoot which rises into the cutting winds, since there is no question of lack of food-materials in these cases.
The practice of the Japanese is to pinch out the growing tips of the shoots wherever they wish to prune back, and it is by the judicious use of this heading in, and suitable pot-culture, that the dwarfs are made, 6-20 inches high at from 30-80 years old.
Dwarfing is often brought about by grafting on a slow-growing stock, and this method is employed in practice, as are also heading in, pruning of roots, and confinement in pots.
Dwarfing may also be due to poor or shrivelled - partially atrophied - seeds or such as have had their endosperms or embryos injured by insects or fungi, and although it is possible to nurse such dwarfs into normal and vigorous plants with good culture, they do not usually recover under natural conditions in competition with more vigorous plants.