Register with us or sign in
in Fruit & veg
I have a small paddock area that I am planning to put in 3 apple trees, (or maybe 2 apple and a cherry) this winter. I understand the issues around pollination well enough to get me going, my question is around tree size that I buy. From what I have read, its better to buy young saplings as these get going quicker and adapt to the local conditions better, but I don't really want to be waiting 5 years for my first apple. What is a good trade off here - what size / age do most amateur gardeners buy trees?
Any other hints are words of advice in this area would be greatly appreciated
Are there any Apple Days being held near you? They are often two day events and they are held all over the country. You do not say where you are. Are you in a good apple-growing area?
Two bits of advice I will give. Avoid run-of-the-mill varieties you can buy anywhere; you will be missing out on all the other wonderful varieties. And secondly do not attempt to grow Cox's Orange Pippin; it is the most challenging of varieties, requiring much care to grow good fruit. Also have a look on Orange Pippin.com for inspiration and the RHS site for good advice on rootstocks.
I'm in a similar position to you, James: I planted about six fruit trees last winter, and am about to order more. They were one year maidens, on MM106 rootstocks, and were between two and five feet tall. They've established well, helped no doubt by the copious rain. I accept that they'll take longer to fruit; I balance that against stronger growth, and considerably cheaper prices (about £12/tree) -- and I can train them to the form I want (half-standards, for these).
I can recommend the nursery I got them from, if you'd like, along with an alternative that can supply a staggering range of apples. I note that you're in Tunbridge Wells: if it appeals to you, there are lots of varieties that originate in Kent, and which might be ideal for your conditions?
Oh: another thought, which occured (typically) to me as soon as I'd posted. Get some mycorrhizal fungi ('Rootgrow') to help your bare-root or pot-grown trees establish. I can't claim to have done a proper controlled trial, but I think it helps.
Jammy2, If you are in Kent why don't you take a trip to The National Collection of fruit trees at Brogdale? At the very least look at their site on the Web.
I would love to go there, but it is just too far from West Wales.
Great advice - thank you for your replies
This might be of interest http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/9610024/Apple-Day-events-2012-Where-to-go-picking.html