Renovating & Restoring Neglected Fruit Trees

Many people move to new homes where the previous owners or even the builders had planted fruit trees. In pre-war years there was often an emphasis on providing new homeowners with two fruit trees – an eating apple and a cooking apple. The reality is that these trees usually get left unpruned or get hacked about as the garden owners have no time or knowledge to manage the trees. The results of this neglect are either small trees, part dying through branch suffocation or large, unfruitful trees that are completely out of control and are an unsightly mess. And, of course, quite a few gardeners plant fruit trees themselves only to lose control of them very quickly…. this is where I often take over as much of my business nowadays involves restoring old orchards and garden grown fruit trees. Continue reading

Festooning a young cherry tree

Dealing with an Unfruitful Tree

Every now and again you may find that one of your fruit trees fails to produce fruit and this may well happen after several years of good fruiting. This is not terribly unusual and can happen at any time and there are usually very good reasons for this. Alternatively a tree may not want to start fruit production at all so let’s consider what you might do to get your tree into a fruiting habit. Continue reading

Cordon fruit trees growing in pots

Potting Up & Re-potting Fruit Trees & Soft Fruits

It is quite possible to grow most fruit trees and soft fruit plants in containers; however to do this you do need to carefully prepare in the same way that you would prepare the open ground before planting out. Unfortunately many people acquire a tree or plant and then just shove it in a pot or container without any thought and that usually ends up with the poor thing hardly surviving or perhaps dying. Continue reading

Pomona Fruits

Planting in Wet or Frozen Conditions

In an ideal world, when it comes to planting bare root fruit trees and bushes, soil and weather conditions will be perfect, but, of course, in reality, this is rarely the case. We therefore have to manage as best we can as we need to ensure the planting of bare rooted stock is undertaken in what is often the worst period of the year for weather – December to March! So how can we obviate the problems caused by adverse weather conditions? Continue reading

Morello cherry will grow well on a north facing wall.

Fruit Trees & Bushes for Problem Places

Unfortunately many gardeners do not have what they perceive should be ideal growing conditions in their gardens and therefore quite often do not grow anything useful in what might seem to be the most challenging places. This is very unfortunate as almost anywhere in the garden can grow plants well except, perhaps, very dry and very dark places. And from my fruit growing perspective I can advise you that fruit can be grown almost anywhere in your garden other than the two places I have just noted. Continue reading

Quince-blossom-0900494

Quince & Medlars: Two Unique Fruits

Quince are one of those fruits which are fairly well known yet not often grown in the garden – possibly because they are not actually fit for eating raw unless your palate is non-existent, as they are extremely bitter and astringent. I contend that quince are well worth growing in the garden but before we go any further I must clear up the difference between the ornamental quince and the quince grown for its fruits. Continue reading

Cordons are ideal where space is limited. They can be planted as vertical cordons or at a 45 degree angle and trained against a wall, fence or on supporting wires.

The Best Cooking Apples to Grow

Most countries have a collection of apple cultivars which they cook or eat as they see fit but the British chose to distinguish between those which adorned the tables of sumptuous dinner parties and those which finished in the kitchen for cooking purposes. This has ensured that we now have a rich vein of cooking apples which can be used for apple tarts, apple pies, baked apples etc., and those to be enjoyed especially for their unique flavour and colour. Continue reading

Pomona Fruits

Summer Pruning Made Easy

If you are growing restricted forms of top fruit trees – cordons, espaliers, fans, pyramids, stepovers or even bushes – you need to undertake your pruning in the summer to help ensure maximum fruitfulness and vigour as well as for keeping your trees in good shape. Additionally, the removal and shortening of shoots and thereby leaves will allow more light to get the fruit which is essential for late ripening varieties. Continue reading

Empathy ‘mini meadow’ seed mix is the ideal way to achieve the perfect habitat for pollinating insects (bees, bugs and butterflies).

Pollination of Fruit Trees

The flowers of the ‘top’ fruit trees that we grow in the UK – apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches and nectarines – have both male and female parts and for a fruit to be created these female parts must receive pollen from the male parts of another flower – usually from another tree. In the majority of cases this means that you cannot grow a single top fruit tree by itself – unless you happen to have another close by in a neighbour’s garden. Continue reading

Pheromone traps set up in your fruit trees at the end of May through to August will help control maggot damage.

Organic Controls for Fruit Garden Pests

It is interesting to note that the last few years have seen more and more gardeners growing their plants organically and this is being reflected commercially with a considerable number of growers doing likewise. But why is this happening? Is it just a modern fad or are the public generally becoming more concerned about the number of chemicals that are being used in the food they are going to eat? Continue reading