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Thread: taking the fruit tree plunge

  1. #1
    bikermike is offline Cropper
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    Default taking the fruit tree plunge

    We are going to go for it this winter

    bare-rooted trees seem to be the way to go

    I've seen a number of things, and wondered what the view was
    1) double-grafted (ie two varieties of pear on one root-stock) - do they last? will they need more attention?
    2) traditional varieties - these look to be more complicated (not self-fertile) with a lower yield
    3) pears advertised as self-fertile - is this possible (absent of growing two sorts on one tree).

    The allotment rules say any fruit tree has to be dwarf form - presumably any reputable nursery will be able to tell me this and I should avoid any that don't

    In general, I am planning to dig a big hole, fill it with compost/soil and put tree in. What else to I need to do?
    - watering?
    - feed?
    - pest control? (I understand you need grease bands over-winter when it's fruiting, and general observation of plant as it grows)
    - magic incantations?


    On a depressing note - someone on our allotment group has complained about a tree being stolen. Anyone ever had this? any ideas? I am thinking about putting the usual tree stake supporting stake and collar, but putting some metal crossbars in below ground to make it harder to lift.
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  2. #2
    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
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    Default

    Yep Wassailing is compulsory with growing fruit you have to tell us all which night you plan to dance naked round the trees(just so we can avoid the area lol).
    My only serious comment would be that this so called self pollinating is not as good as proper pollination, make sure you get some disease resistance and make sure the varieties are of the right pollination groups. Dwarf root stocks are common enough, but be aware that pears can be more vigorous than apples and will need some maintenance.
    Snoop Puss and bikermike like this.

  3. #3
    bikermike is offline Cropper
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    Thanks Burnie


    *cancels woad order* Lucky escape for the other plot-holders there...

    Noted re self-pollination. With non-self pollination do you need two different trees or can you have two the same? If you have different, do you end up with cross breed? (I looked at one nursery table and I couldn't immediately see this).
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  4. #4
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bikermike View Post

    In general, I am planning to dig a big hole, fill it with compost/soil and put tree in. What else to I need to do?
    - watering?
    - feed?
    - pest control? (I understand you need grease bands over-winter when it's fruiting, and general observation of plant as it grows)
    - magic incantations?


    On a depressing note - someone on our allotment group has complained about a tree being stolen. Anyone ever had this? any ideas? I am thinking about putting the usual tree stake supporting stake and collar, but putting some metal crossbars in below ground to make it harder to lift.
    You raise some interesting questions - I'll do my best, but please bear in mind that a people have written books trying to cover this topic - there is a lot of information needed to fully explain things.

    -- bare-rooted trees seem to be the way to go ---- usually cheaper and a wider range of varieties available, places like large supermarkets etc offer occasional bargains - I bought a v well grown plum tree recently at B&Q recently for 6


    1) double-grafted (ie two varieties of pear on one root-stock) - do they last? will they need more attention?
    Can be v tricky to balance the tree if one variety grows more strongly ---- I'm not sure they're worth the extra cost - you can always do a bit of DIY grafting later, if you can obtain scions from somewhere.

    2) traditional varieties - these look to be more complicated (not self-fertile) with a lower yield

    I wouldn't say that exactly, though it is true that popular modern varieties are usually more heavy croppers - some would say at the cost of flavour.

    3) pears advertised as self-fertile - is this possible (absent of growing two sorts on one tree).

    Fertility is a complicated issue with any fruit tree - on the other hand you seem to be in a city location, so its probably less of a problem where you are as bees don't care who own trees and will fly a few miles collecting pollen - weather at flowering time and late frosts are probably bigger potential problems


    The allotment rules say any fruit tree has to be dwarf form - presumably any reputable nursery will be able to tell me this and I should avoid any that don't

    If the nursery don't know if a tree is on dwarfing stock or not its time to buy else-where - usually the on-line catalogue will state what stock trees are on - personally I've not had much joy growing pears, so I'd tend to go for apples and plums first, then consider how much space I had left. BTW don't crowd the trees together - you can grow other stuff between them when they are small but as they grow bigger they need light and air to stay healthy and fruit - eg two 12' high tress should be 24' apart.

    "In general, I am planning to dig a big hole, fill it with compost/soil and put tree in. What else to I need to do?"

    I wrote a short piece in a thread about 9 months ago on planting trees which you might find useful.

    - watering? --- Yes in the first summer may need to be weekly
    - feed? - as long as the ground is OK not usually necessary until they start cropping

    - pest control? (I understand you need grease bands over-winter when it's fruiting, and general observation of plant as it grows) -- pests can build up, but you usually have a few years before anything needs doing
    - magic incantations? Optional, though I do sell a very inexpensive magic crystal which guarantees .... :-)


    In general I'd advise anyone planting fruit to try to grow varieties that you like, provided they are suitable for where you live eg Bramleys are good croppers but not many people enjoy them raw, whereas Comice is a lovely pear but in my garden I reckon it would be hopeless due to the cold and wet.

    Finally late ripening apples store for much longer, so if you get a bumper crop you have a couple of months to enjoy them - my favourite is Ashmead's kernel.


    PS barbed wire buried in the planting hole to deter thieves ?
    Last edited by nickdub; 07-11-2018 at 10:44 AM.
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  5. #5
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    veggiechicken is offline Warning!! Contains Nuts
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    Assuming there are other fruit trees on the allotments, I wouldn't worry too much about pollination partners, the bees will find some!
    I'd plant cheap and cheerful fruit trees on an allotment and spend "real" money on trees for home - especially if you're concerned about theft.
    What is a dwarf tree? Does that mean it mustn't be taller than a specified height, rather than on a dwarfing rootstock? I keep all my trees to a reachable height by festooning the branches down - it also seems to improve cropping.
    Make 2019 the Year of Random Seed sowing
    All we are saying is..........Give seeds a chance.
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  6. #6
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    Pollination.
    The time of blossom will have more of an impact on what trees you can grow. Too early and a late frost may burn the fruit. I wouldn't expect that to be a problem in London - best check your last frost date against the blossom dates.

    Self Fertile.
    Fruit Trees in built up area are easier to grow because there is nearly always a pollination partner close by. Using Self fertile trees reduces the risk, but since there are other fruit trees on the Allotments, I'd expect you to be alright. You could ask what trees they have and ensure you grow a tree that is a partner. Even with self fertile trees you will get a larger crop with a partner close by.


    Root Stock

    Apple
    M27 - Very Dwarfing - 1 -2m (don't grow on poor soils)
    M9 - Dwarfing 2-3m
    M26 - Semi Dwarfing 3 - 4m
    MM106 - Semi Vigorous 4-5m
    M25 Vigorous 5-6m

    Pear - Quince A Semi Vigorous 4 - 5m
    Cherry - Colt - Semi Dwarfing 3 - 4m
    Plum St Julien A - Semi Dwarfing 3 - 4m

    Spacing.
    Height of tree between trees. Grow soft fruit under

    Weather.
    I've to watch that fruit will tolerate wet conditions to prevent canker. Again should not be a problem with you.

    Duo trees - hear say is that one tends to take over. Grow if space limited, but better with a true tree.

    So bottom line from here looks like - If there are lots of fruit trees on the Allotment or if many gardens around, grow any fruit you like the taste. Check the root stock and enjoy. You could always stick a crab apple tree label on them to stop theft in 1st year.

    Look for some of the rare tree perhaps.


    All best
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  7. #7
    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
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    Default

    Until recently I had the only 3 apple trees in our village(more are now growing on a community space), I have had a look round a few modern housing developments of late and fruit trees are absent from most. I wouldn't rely on someone else's trees for pollination round here.

  8. #8
    Mark_Riga is offline Rooter
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    Default

    Hello Mike, I would agree with Nick that apple and plum (Victoria does really well) are more reliable fruiting than pears but you may know what does really well locally. If there is a good garden centre/nursery nearby, they may be able to advise. I know there is a really prolific conference pear next door to my daughter in Manchester so one of those should be OK in London. Looks like it has been battened down like VC suggests. My daughter bought a dual pear that is conference and Williams I think, and the conference side looked far more vigorous at the end of its first year just. I went to Aldi a couple of years ago to see if they had a conference but they only had some other varieties. I bought 2 and have spread their branches out using a long cane but have only had a couple of pears off them so far.

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