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Thread: Fruit trees for shade

  1. #1
    Gman is offline Seedling
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    Default Fruit trees for shade

    Hey folks,

    Seeking a little advice.

    I am removing a couple of trees from the orchard area of my garden and am planning to plant new fruit trees in their place.

    Only issue is, it is now a slightly overhung and shaded by larger trees (some in my garden, some in neighbours). Canít remove the offending trees easily as it is in a tree conservation area.

    Despite the problems, there are 3 existing plum trees (2 victoria type, 1 much earlier small blue-purple coloured plum) which produce moderate crops of tasty fruit, and an old apple tree (of unknown type) that produces reasonable crops of small sharp-sweet eaters.

    My question is, can anyone advise me varieties that are worth planting that might give me a reasonable crop despite less than ideal conditions?

    One of the trees I will be replacing is a tasteless cherry plum, so canít plant another stone-fruit here. Was thinking perhaps a cooking apple like grenadier.

    Other tree being replaced is a pine. Area slightly shadier and more overhung. Was thinking perhaps a damson- I have read theyíre pretty hardy.

    Any suggestions?

    Graham

  2. #2
    chrisdb is online now Rooter
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    Cooking fruit tends to do better in shade because there's less sugar in the fruit so it needs less sunlight to develop. Some cooking apples can be pretty shade tolerant.

    I've seen reports that medlars are shade tolerant, but I haven't tried growing them in shade.

  3. #3
    TrixC is offline Rooter
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    How about a morello cherry? Theyíre fine in shade. I inherited one on my allotment and itís probably my favourite fruit tree, so many things you can do with the fruit. Damson should be a good option too.
    nickdub likes this.

  4. #4
    Gman is offline Seedling
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks guys,

    So cooking fruit varieties seems wise.

    Trixc, are your morello cherries bothered by pigeons? My brassicas and peas were trashed by wood pigeons. I have read that they like cherries too but is this also true for sour cherries or just sweet ones?

    Graham

  5. #5
    FB.'s Avatar
    FB.
    FB. is offline Early Fruiter
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisdb View Post
    Cooking fruit tends to do better in shade because there's less sugar in the fruit so it needs less sunlight to develop. Some cooking apples can be pretty shade tolerant.

    I've seen reports that medlars are shade tolerant, but I haven't tried growing them in shade.
    Some years ago I tried experimenting with half- to three-quarter shade. My conclusion was that some scion varieties simply don't like.
    Even some cookers - including Bramley or Hambledon Deux Ans on dwarf rootstock - won't crop well in shade.

    However, some very vigorous triploids such as Gravenstein and Gascoyne's Scarlet seem quite happy in half- to three-quarters shade; growing and cropping well.
    Grenadier did well, too.
    Worcester Pearmain and its offspring usually grow and crop well in three-quarter shade. Also James Grieve and its offspring.

    I tried Jargonelle pear in three-quarter shade because of its shade-tolerant reputation but it doesn't blossom. Not that lack of blossom matters now because pear pollination has been declining over the last several years as the bees have disappeared. For the last two or three years we haven't had any pears at all despite thousands of flowers.

    Plums have been OK with three-quarter shade although fruit is smaller and sharper-tasting. Unfortunately, my soil is too dry for plums without irrigation so I no longer have plums.
    Last edited by FB.; 30-12-2018 at 01:43 PM.
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  6. #6
    chrisdb is online now Rooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by FB. View Post
    I tried Jargonelle pear in three-quarter shade because of its shade-tolerant reputation but it doesn't blossom. Not that lack of blossom matters now because pear pollination has been declining over the last several years as the bees have disappeared. For the last two or three years we haven't had any pears at all despite thousands of flowers.
    I haven't had this problem with pear pollination, although I admit that bee numbers did seem to be down again this year. That was despite a nest of the tree bumblebee, bombus hypnorum, deciding that under the shiny new roof on our garage would make an ideal nesting spot and buzzing away in the wall for several months. The main problem I have is that my trees are so weak growing even if I thin the fruit quite a lot.

    Plums... I keep trying, but they keep getting canker or other problems and dying whether I prune them or not and irrigate them or not. This is from multiple suppliers, so I don't think it's a supplier issue. There are a number of street cherries on our road, some of which have canker due to the work of the council chainsaw men, and when we moved in I chopped down a hedgerow plum that was heavily infected. I think there's just a reservoir of the prunus disease in the area.

  7. #7
    FB.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisdb View Post
    .......The main problem I have is that my trees are so weak growing even if I thin the fruit quite a lot....
    Many years ago I started with M9/M26 apples and equivalent pear/plum rootstocks.
    They didn't do well so I 'upgraded' to MM106 apples, Quince A pears and St.Julien plum rootstocks.
    They didn't do well so I upgraded to MM111/M25 apples, Pyrodwarf/seedling pear and Brompton plum.

    Most of what I have now are MM111/M25 apples which grow and crop to about the same extent as I had been led to believe the M9/M26 would.
    The MM111/M25 trees are much less prone to fungal diseases and bitter pit of the scions than medium or dwarf rootstocks, probably because the dwarf or medium vigour couldn't pull enough nutrients out of the soil.
    .

  8. #8
    TrixC is offline Rooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman View Post
    Thanks guys,

    So cooking fruit varieties seems wise.

    Trixc, are your morello cherries bothered by pigeons? My brassicas and peas were trashed by wood pigeons. I have read that they like cherries too but is this also true for sour cherries or just sweet ones?

    Graham
    I havenít had any problems with birds targeting the morello cherries, I canít really fathom it as they look so inviting. Perhaps itís because thereís so much other food around at that time of year.

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