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

Apple 'Charles Ross'

Planting a Traditional Orchard

Growing top fruit, particularly apples and pears, is a particular joy and this can easily be done at home or in the allotment by using a combination of cordons, espaliers or stepovers. However, if room is available, why not consider the more traditional approach of an orchard of apples and pears using semi-dwarfing rootstocks? By planting such trees a fair distance apart – say 3m (10ft) – you will be able to have grass pathways with the promise of picnicking under the trees in years to come! Using the rootstock M26 for apples and Quince A for pears, trees can be kept to a maximum height of around – 2.4-3.6m (8-12ft) and this is exactly what I have done in three ‘community’ orchards that I have designed and planted. I reckon that if you can find space for at least five trees you have yourself an orchard! Continue reading

Pomona Fruits

Apples & Pears: Growing Guide, History & Recipe

Apples and pears are two of the best loved fruits, and they are probably the easiest fruit trees to grow. This has made them a favourite with gardeners along with the fact that only a handful of varieties are available in shops. Gardeners have a much wider range of cultivars to choose from (there are literally hundreds of known varieties) so there is a world of flavours out there to grow and taste. There are also lots of hidden gems with their origins rooted back in our nation’s rich heritage waiting to be discovered. Continue reading

Choosing Apples & Pears to Plant

With the onset of autumn we can now turn our minds to what new apple and pear trees to plant during the coming winter. This is always an exciting time as there is so much to go and see and taste which will help decision making. All around the country in October there are “Apple Days” at which apples and pears will be available to taste and as these are relatively long term investments it is well worth the research. Continue reading