Pop down to the nursery to explore our orchard range. We have an array of fruit trees from the usual finds like apples and pears to the more unusual Black Mulberry (Morus nigra) and Quince (Cydonia oblonga). September through to early May is the perfect time to plant fruit trees.
Don’t forget, it’s always easier to select a new tree whilst it’s still in leaf. If you need some help deciding what plants or trees to use, we’ll be delighted to offer some ideas and advice. There are lots of options and we can also deliver and plant for you.
Our half standard fruit trees have been grown on semi vigorous rootstocks. This range of rootstocks provides larger more robust tree forms and helps to compensate for situations where trees are likely to be under stress, for example if they are planted in an area of poor, thin soil.
Semi vigorous rootstocks include:
- Apple (Rootstock MM106)
- Pear (Quince A)
- Plum (St Julien A)
- Gage (St Julien A)
- Damson (St Julien A)
- Cherry (Colt)
Fruit trees should be planted in a sheltered, sunny and, if possible, south-facing position. Avoid planting in an exposed location, as cold winds will damage blossoms (from which you get your fruit) and discourage bees, which are vital for pollination.
Uses for fruit trees
- Why not make some Greek style Quince jam? To download the recipe <click here>
- Use branch trimmings on your BBQ to give the meat a rich flavour <click here>
- Fill a new raised bed with a layer of pruned branches and leaves before adding compost. This will cut the cost of filling bed as well as improving the soil quality over time
Regular pruning of fruit trees is necessary to promote more fruit bearing growths and therefore more fruit. Pruning is not complicated and fruit trees are very resilient – so don’t be put off if you are not experienced!
Why do we prune?
- To remove unwanted parts i.e. shoots, branches, roots, fruit buds
- To let in sunlight and air – by removing congested and crossing branches to enable the tree to produce better quality fruit in appearance, flavour and size
- To deter pests and disease – by removing damaged or diseased wood
- To control the size and shape to the space allotted to each tree
Summer is a good time for pruning because…
- The weather conditions make it more enjoyable
- If apple and pear trees have a visibly heavy crop, heavier pruning can be used to lighten the crop load and encourage some replacement growth (heavy crops can break branches, especially on young trees)
- Heavier pruning also helps to cure apple and pear trees that have a tendency to biennial bear
- Stone fruit will suffer fewer disease problems if pruned when in leaf
- It is the most effective way to contain the tree size
Always use a good pair of secateurs for a clean cut. A Grecian saw is invaluable for pruning in those really awkward spots. It’s similar to a general purpose pruning saw except that it has a curved blade and only cuts on the pull stroke, as this is where you can apply most pressure in a restricted space.
Our more unsual fruits
Medlars (Mespilus germanica) are closely related to apples and are easy to grow, productive, generally problem-free and need little pruning. They are attractive trees, producing large white flowers in late spring, followed by small rounded fruits (about 5cm/2in across) for picking in autumn, and fiery-tinted autumn foliage. They usually reach 4–6m (13–20ft) tall and wide, grow well on most soils and crop best in full sun. The fruit will need to be *bletted before they are consumed.
*Bletting is a process where the fruit is left to “mature” before picking, it should be softened past the point of ripeness before harvest.