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

Pomona Fruits

Winter Pruning Fruit Trees

The only fruit trees that should be pruned in the winter months are apples, pears, quince and medlar. Stone fruits – plums, gages, damsons, cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and sweet almonds – must never be pruned in the dormant season (October to March) to prevent possible ingress of diseases such as bacterial canker and silverleaf. Continue reading

Gooseberry 'Hinnonmaki Red'

Gooseberries: A Forgotten Fruit

In my opinion gooseberries have become a forgotten fruit as I rarely see them grown nowadays. I suppose that in a way I can understand why because most varieties have thorny stems, berries that are regularly covered with mildew and are rarely eaten ripe which means that the intense flavours are missed. But don’t let any of these factors put you off because you can grow gooseberries as cordons so thorny stems aren’t a problem, there are varieties which are resistant to mildew and above all there are varieties which are so luscious when perfectly ripe that you will assume they are exotic fruits! I know that I labour the point a  lot about eating soft fruit, in particular, direct from the bush but this is so true about gooseberries – I promise you! Forget those hard bullets that you may be able to find in the shops – grow some large sweet berries in your own garden or allotment. 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