There’s always a space for a fruit tree in every garden, even the smallest of plots.
Fruit trees are grown on a range of rootstocks in order to control the rate of growth.
Apples, for instance vary from M27 (very dwarf – around 2 metres high) right through M9, M26, M116, MM111 up to the biggest, M25 which will grow to in excess of 5 metres. So obviously, if you own a pocket-handkerchief garden, make sure you go for M27.
Likewise, Pears, Plums, Cherries etc. are all grown on a variety of rootstocks. Do make sure you do a little research before purchasing. If in doubt, pop in and one of us will gladly talk you through the options.
If you are blessed with a bigger plot and already have sufficient apples, why not take a look at some other interesting fruit trees. Hazel and Cobnuts, Mirabelles and Mulberries, Quinces and Medlars – these are all superb options, and will give you a varied and nutritious harvest of fruits and nuts.
There is some management involved to keep your fruit trees in tip top condition. As in dealing with all pests and diseases prevention is far better than cure.
Spraying with a fungicide as soon as the trees come into leaf prior to blossom time will stop any mildew and scab from taking hold. These fungal diseases only affect apples and pears, and are not very serious diseases, but to keep your fruit looking and tasting tip top they are best addressed.
Traditionally, pruning of fruit trees is a job for the winter – not always the case in fact, as summer pruning does have its benefits.
Winter pruning is best to re-shape a tree and generally ridding it of old or dead branches etc.
One major point about pruning is that it is far better to prune a little and often rather than taking drastic action every decade or so.
A continual renewal of young replacement branches is possible and better for regular fruiting potential each year. Air and light are important, the former to reduce disease and the latter to ripen the fruit for the best flavour and keeping quality.
As a rule, Apple & Pear can be pruned anytime and hard, Cherries, Damsons, Gages and Plums – summer only and lightly, Medlars & Quines, anytime and lightly.
We have a great range of fruit trees and soft fruit bushes in stock at the moment, and now is the time to plant.
Happy gardening, see you soon,
Simon, Alison, Edith the Jack Russell
and all at Askett Nurseries.