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

The Benefits of Autumn Planting

Over the years there has been much discussion as to whether it is best to plant fruit trees in the autumn (late November/December) or spring. So much so in fact that the novice and often more experienced gardener becomes totally confused! I have always been an advocate of planting in the autumn and I preach this message wherever I go; most certainly I very rarely plant anything in my garden in the spring unless there are real extenuating circumstances. But why plant in the autumn when there is still so much to do in the garden? Continue reading

Pomona Fruits

Selecting & Preparing the Planting Site

In order to grow fruit well – and this applies to any other garden plants and trees – it is essential to carefully consider where you are going to plant your trees and plants and also undertake careful site preparation before planting. Indeed I believe this element is one of four major cornerstones which act as a foundation for either success or failure (the others being the careful selection of the varieties and kinds of fruit to grow, keeping the plants and trees healthy and an early identification of any pest or disease problems). Continue reading