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Greengage advice


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  • Greengage advice

    We have two greengages on semi dwarf rootstock which have been in pots for the last two years and I wish to move them to our allotment (we have permission).

    I've moved one successfully but the second is very wide in terms of branch spread and it'll be very difficult to move without a dab of pruning.

    Should I do this (prune and move now) or wait till summer, prune then move in the Autumn.

    Ideally I should have tackled this last year but with a new baby I had other things on my mind / plate.

    Any thoughts as I want to keep them together to help with pollination (does it matter?)

    Any experiences and thoughts welcome please.

  • #2
    The branches are usualy far more flexible than you imagine, you can usualy bend them upwards a fair bit and then tie twine around
    another way is to start with the twine and then wrap a tarpaulin around, you can usualy get the branches folded in to a very narrow width by pulling more twine around the tarpaulin to shrink the size
    Living off grid and growing my own food in Bulgaria.....


    • #3
      Agreed - young trees are surprisingly flexible.

      Gages, plums and cherries are best pruned in late spring (just as buds are emerging - probably any time now) to reduce the risk of the tree getting the dreaded silver leaf infection. Esentially the tree should not be dormant when pruned.
      Summer pruning (July) would be used for trees that are excessively vigorous, or up to full size. Pruning in summer would be a very bad idea for a newly-planted and stressed tree on a dwarf rootstock; a dwarf may never recover from the shock.

      When you transplant your tree, beware that the compost in the pot is so much richer than the surrounding soil that the roots will not grow outwards - instead circling around in the compost rootball, eventually suffering from water and nutrient stress.
      I suggest shake off much of the compost on the rootball to "bare root" the tree and spread the roots around a large planting hole. Do not make the planting hole too rich or the roots will not grow in search of food/water.
      You can use a surface mulch to retain moisture and provide slow nutrient release.


      • #4
        Thank you Starloc and FB. so you reckon I could give it a careful prune for the really wide spread branches that won't be ordered by some twine (I did do that for the first and it helped but this has a sizeable horizontal branch) and it should still be alright?


        • #5
          I have three greengages on my allotment, inherited from some long forgotten allotmenteer. They stand side by side two or three apart in a row and are extremely tall. The main bole is about 6 feet tall and the shoots run up to about 12-13 feet. I need to cut them back, and will be doing so in the next few days. The plan is to cut the bole down to about 4 feet and the rest of the tree to about 7-8 feet.

          Will it be possible to salvage the cut off shoots? I don't know the variety (I suspect Old Greengage) but it bears the most delicious fruit and I would like to grow it in my garden or plant the shoots in some public place if possible.

          Last edited by rob the roller; 12-04-2011, 01:21 PM.


          • #6
            If the shoots are really large and pushed into a persistently damp but well-aired (sandy) soil, there is a chance that they will root by next spring. It is said that a shoot which contains two different seasons of growth is more likely to root.
            Most - if not all - will probably die though. A split at the base of the shoot and/or some rooting hormone might help rooting.

            Alternatively, get some suitable rootstocks (they cost about 2) and graft some of your own.
            Or grow up some pips from the trees and use them as rootstocks.
            Or see if the trees are producing strong root suckers which could be carefully cut off for use as rootstock.


            • #7
              I never thought of using a pip. If I can get ione to germinate, will that not eventually produce a tree?


              • #8
                Originally posted by rob the roller View Post
                I never thought of using a pip. If I can get ione to germinate, will that not eventually produce a tree?
                Yes, but you won't know who the father was, so you could end up with very different taste of fruit due to the fathers influence.
                But since a pip will have at least half the genes of its mother, it should be a good compatibility match to use as a rootstock to graft a piece of its mother; a bit like a family member donating a kidney because the genetic similarity reduces the risk of rejection.


                • #9
                  Y'know if they ever invent one of those things you can put on someones head, and your own and abosrb their knowledge.. I'm bagseying FB as my test subject!


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