Latest posts by seneca

8 returned

dwarf plum rootstocks

Posted: 05/09/2014 at 09:55

I'm looking to buy two trees, one plum and one gage - one for a large container and for the open ground, both to be trained as dwarf pyramids. When looking for the regular pixy rootstock, as mentioned in most books and websites, it seems to have been replaced with two others - WA-1 (dwarfing) and WA-VIT (semi-dwarfing.) Has anyone any experience of these? I wondered how they compared. Apparently WA-1 is a bit smaller than pixy, but has better quality fruit, and WA-VIT is a bit larger than pixy, and nothing else is known. WA-1 is now recommended for dwarf trees, but WA-VIT is said to produce something a bit more vigorous and should be grown as a bush or small half-standard. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who had grown any of these, those realize if they are very new, they won't have matured yet!

Disease resistant pears?

Posted: 31/08/2014 at 09:09

Whilst much mention is made of disease resistance for varieties of apples, there is less said about pears. Is it merely the case that pears are less prone to disease, less are generally grown compared to apples, or there really aren't many that have good tolerance. I'm planning on growing a variety or two and having looked at many of the surrounding gardens and area as a whole, most of them look pretty poor, to the point of dying. Canker, scab and rust seem the most common ailments. Conference, which is the most popular, seems to have fared worst. Has anyone any particular varieties they'd care to recommend? What's the story with "Invincible"? Is it as it's name suggests? How about Onward or Louis Bonne Jersey?

Also, whilst pears in general have a more upright form, compared with other fruits in general, are there any which have a notably upright growth habit and produce taller, more slender trees? There is a Conference a few gardens away that looks like a rocket! Alternatively, there's a Clapps Favourite that is low and sprawling. Again, anyone have any ideas?


low fruiting hedge ideas

Posted: 29/08/2014 at 18:59

Hi everyone, 
Need a bit of advice: I'd like some ideas on growing a low fruiting hedge of around 1m tall to screen off part of the garden. It's to create a border between a play area at the back of the garden with the front section that is more ornamental and has family use. As the kids area can get a bit messy, it would be nice to have it separated, but not being more than 1m, is easy to look over and does not block the back area off completely, therby making the garden seem smaller.

Ideally I'd like to grow apples, as they are eaten and liked by all the family, and we can eat everything that's produced. The garden is approx. 5m wide (excluding the path) so the eventual height, with any pruning, is 1m.

I've seen some dwarf apple bushes that are around one meter tall, and can always trim them level at the top. Also, apple cordons if arranged in a line as a series of X figures either side of a wire look good. I wondered if the cordons could be curved at the top of the wire to give it a more formal look. It might be useful to have the cordons of different varieties and ripening at different times. It will take a few years to establish, but hopefully will develop with age.


Growing pears in shade?

Posted: 27/08/2014 at 15:57

I recently came across an article by Bob Flowerdew in an old gardening magazine in which some asked for advice on what fruit they could grow in shade. He suggested pears were a possibility, as they could be ripened in a bowl after picking. Whilst he said they would not achieve the taste of one that had grown in full sun, they would not be very different to similar supermarket pears, if marginally better. You'd sacrifice flavor, but have something you'd grown yourself. What do you folk think? The reasoning sounds plausible and quite sound, and who am I to question him, but it still sounds odd. Has anyone any experience of any similar shade experiments? Someone once told me something similar with a gage fan trained against a shaded wall. Again, less flavor, but still viable fruit that ripened on a warm windowsill a while later.

I'm considering planting a cordon or two of pears and seeing what happens. Worst case, I'll dig them up in a few years and replant them in a sunnier border... if things do/don't go pear shaped!
(I'll also write an indignant letter to dear old Bob, telling him his advice was lousy!  )

growing an apple or pear pyramid

Posted: 24/08/2014 at 22:04

Thanks for the encouragement BizzieB. Your espaliers sound interesting, which varieties and rootstocks did you chose and how have they performed. Espaliers look great, but I've often thought what if one of the branches/arms does not form as the shape requires. It would spoil the overall form wouldn't it? I imagine fan growing would make hiding problems and mistakes a bit easier. I would also have to consider a suitable support structure eg. posts and wires, as my existing fence is not strong enough. How do you support yours?


growing an apple or pear pyramid

Posted: 21/08/2014 at 14:31

I fancied having a go at growing a pyramid tree, either apple or pear, or maybe both. I've seen a few recently and think they look superb. A very elegant and I imagine efficient form for ripening the fruit, thereby producing great flavor.

I have a 6m wide space and would ideally like to plant 3 trees (2m for each)

Anyway, I have a few questions I need a bit of advice on:

1) As they are a restricted form and I'll like a large tree, which would be a good rootstock to go for (apple and pear.) I would imagine m26 and QC being the obvious ones, but how about m106 and QA?

2) Are there any particular traits I should be looking for when choosing a variety? I imagine free-spurring as opposed to a tip bearer.

3) Any recommended varieties I should consider?

4) Should I start with a one year old maiden or should I think try and adapt another form?



fruit border help/advice needed

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 22:51

Thanks for the replies folks - keep them coming - let's have some fruity brainstorming!

I've realised that the idea I had in mind was poorly conveyed in the posting (and especially the diagram.) Here's goes with another attempt... and another poor diagram!



My standard tree idea was to have the clear stem out of the light and the top branch sytem (leaves & fruit) to be in sunlight. This may encourage some fruit to form and possibly ripen. The stem section may be wasted, but it does not get enough direct sun to allow fruiting from low down to high up, as most trained fruit has (cordons, fans espaliers.) However, the idea of a tree trained to be like a tall step-over (one tier espalier) might work, but it wastes a lot lot of space and would need some training! A big T - tall stem and long laterals. It will also look "ahem" bizarre (no laughing please.) I would ideally like the overall height of the tree to be around 4m and pruned so that most of thefruiting branches hang over my side of the fence. Don't mind climbing a ladder. I used to go up an old apple bush tree that had an open goblet shape that had a 1m tall stem in my old garden. That tree would do well in this situation if I removed the brances that would push into the fence.

Regarding varieties I've tasted and enjoyed: Apples - Sunset, Egremont Russet, Discovery, Scrumptious, Spartan, Fiesta, Red Falstaff. Pears - Comice, Concorde, Beth, Conference, Williams. Plums - Jubilee, Opal, Victoria, Green Gage, Ouillins Gage. Currently I'm thinking of 2 apple trees, 2 pear trees and forgoing plums for lack of space and ripening conditions. As I don't want any culinary only varieties, and if desert varieties are difficult in semi-shade or sun for only half the day, then how about dual purpose variety as a compromise. Then it could be left to ripen for longer and eaten as a desert. Or maybe planting early varieties and just leaving them to get sun for longer and picking later. Suagrs may have developed by then.

fruit border help/advice needed

Posted: 16/09/2013 at 08:49

hello everyone,

I've got a border area which is 9m long and 1.2m wide. It runs along a 1.8m tall fence which is north facing,  but also has the tops of my neighbours shrubs, making it around 2.2m tall. Interestingly, there used to be some very old shrubs  in the border that grew quite tall and leafy before I removed them. This may be because the tops of  the shrubs  got sunlight for a reasonable part of the day, or possibly the rich and moist soil underneath them. I would say the soil is quite fertile and moisture retentive/slightly water logged (due to lack of light, warmth or the high water table in the area.)

My predicament is this: I would like to try and grow some fruit in this border. It will be an experiment, so within reason, I am willing to be disappointed! Obviously I would like to do all that I can to minimise failure (choice of fruit, variety, rootstock, training) , but realise the odds may be stacked against me.

I'm interested in desert varieties of apple, pear and plum, and being ambitious (if a little greedy) would like to get as much viable fruit as possible, as tree numbers, rootstocks, planting distance, forms allow.

The actual fence is not in great condition either, and due to it's north-facing orientation would not allow any training onto it. Something like a free-standing espalier shape, with some support rigged up around it might work, but  I doubt it. My idea would be to grow trees that would be like half/standards, but no more than 4m tall  ie. more at the top, above the fence, where the sunlight is. A concern over apples is they fruit on lateral shoots, so would need to be pruned/trained to encourage these, while being high up in the canopy. Maybe fruit trees that have a naturally upright shape might help. Similarly, would ideas like planting more trees close to each other and severe pruning and summer pruning encourage fruiting? despite the not ideal conditions.

Any ideas or suggestions will be welcome (apologies for the poor diagram.)


8 returned

Discussions started by seneca

dwarf plum rootstocks

Replies: 0    Views: 66
Last Post: 05/09/2014 at 09:55

Disease resistant pears?

Replies: 2    Views: 98
Last Post: 31/08/2014 at 22:26

low fruiting hedge ideas

Replies: 2    Views: 131
Last Post: 30/08/2014 at 12:55

Growing pears in shade?

Replies: 1    Views: 86
Last Post: 27/08/2014 at 16:45

growing an apple or pear pyramid

Replies: 2    Views: 159
Last Post: 24/08/2014 at 22:04

fruit border help/advice needed

Replies: 5    Views: 616
Last Post: 16/09/2013 at 23:50
6 threads returned