River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Garden Talk

December 2001

Fruit Trees

The most popular type of fruit trees are still the old favourites; Cox's Orange Pippin' for an eating apple and 'Bramley' for the culinary apple. There is, however, an increasing interest in the more traditional Norfolk apples (such as 'Adam's Pearmain' and Norfolk 'Royal'. Several other types of fruit trees are available including plums, apricots, peaches and pears (including Norfolk varieties such as 'Blickling' and wonderfully named 'Hacon's Incomparable', which originated in Downham Market), cherries, quince and the 'Medlar', a very old fruit mentioned as far back as 300BC. It's main use is as an accompaniment to meat dishes when cooked. To be used, the fruit must be almost rotted or bletted, as the naturally ripe fruit is far too sour.

Planting of trees should take place between November and March and, when deciding which apple trees you want in your garden, you should remember that very few trees are self pollinating and so you will probably need two different types (avoid Bramley's as these do not help pollinate other trees).

The rootstock will determine the ultimate size of the tree and, to a certain degree, a tree can therefore be tailor made for the size of your garden. When planting, prepare a hole carefully, making it large enough to accommodate all of the trees' roots; fork over the bottom soil and incorporate some well-rotted organic matter. Whilst this preparatory work is undertaken, be sure not to leave the tree roots to dry out; keep them covered. Knock in a stake and offer the tree to the prepared hole, making sure that it replanted to the same depth to which it was grown in the nursery.

Backfill the soil, ensuring that there are no air pockets. Attach tree ties to stake and tree, firm the soil well and water if necessary. Staking is not necessary for dwarf varieties. Many trees fail in their first year due to lack of water whilst they are trying to establish a new root system with which to support themselves. Please don't forget to water your tree regularly if the season is dry. Although care should be taken not to over water, remember that as many trees are lost to overwatering as there is to underwatering.

Don't allow your tree to fruit in the first year of planting; this will help the tree to establish itself./ You can allow the tree to fruit a little in the second year.

More information is available from Ramworth Trees.

Neil Thomas

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.