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Best Soil for Pear and Apple

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  • Best Soil for Pear and Apple

    Hello everyone. I have just bought a Conference Pear and Red Falstaff Apple and am going to Espalier them against a fence.

    I would like to know how to create the best soil for them to grow in and in addition what to feed them with and when.

    Many thanks......Rob

  • #2
    Whilst you may want the best soil - draining, yet moisture retentive and nutrient rich it is only likely to encourage growth not fruit

    Fruit and seed is a plants way of ensuring it continues to grow even in the form of offspring
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    • #3
      Best soil type for apple and pear espalier

      Originally posted by Norfolkgrey View Post
      Whilst you may want the best soil - draining, yet moisture retentive and nutrient rich it is only likely to encourage growth not fruit

      Fruit and seed is a plants way of ensuring it continues to grow even in the form of offspring
      Thanks. What would you advise on being the best soil?

      Regards Rob

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      • #4
        Treat um a bit mean as far as soil is concerned, if you pamper them they will have fantastic roots and no fruit.
        But once planted and firmed in (best at this dormant time of year and no soil/air gaps) they benefit from no grass etc. near them and a regular or at least annual mulch, wood chil is great or well rotted manure. In both cases keep it away from touching the trunk/bark. Best is lay cardboard and mulck on top the first year to dissuade weeds and grasses.

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        • #5
          Unless you're planning on digging a really really big hole - the soil you have will have to do. The trees ability to cope with poor soil is largely down to which rootstock you've used. (There are some excellent posts from FB. about it). The more wimpy the rootstock the more pampering it will need. eg M27 will need staking, weeding, feeding and watering even in average garden soil. M25 on the other hand plant, stake it for a few years and forget about it.

          My M26 apple espaliers are in poor sandy garden soil, I treat them as ESBKevin describes with the addition of some comfrey juice now and then which they really appear to like. I moved to pyrodwarf for the pears as I was tried of watering in the dry weather.

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          • #6
            I second what Lardman said about pears. Apples I've found very easy to keep happy on semi-vigorous rootstocks (M26 and bigger). Most providers will say that pears on quince are of similar vigour, but I find quince rootstocks to be very finnicky, very sensitive to conditions, and considerably less vigorous than apple rootstocks of a similar class in my conditions.

            Last winter I tried planting a pear on pyrodwarf too. It didn't do much in its first year, but I'm hoping that now it's settled in it will do better than the pears on quince.

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            • #7
              Belated comment, there's a huge difference between soils. I'm on a silt loam tens of metres deep, i.e. a very, very good fruit soil. It's too much of a good thing for most rootstocks. I basically copy commercial growers and use the most dwarfing rootstocks.

              They help counteract the luxuriant growth, giving more balance between vegetation and fruit. With stronger-growing apples, like Blenheim or Jupiter, M9 still gives too much leaf and stem growth. Extra summer pruning can deal with it but it's a chore. Another time, I'd increase the planting distance a bit.

              The problem's worse on pears. The retail nursery supplied most of my pear trees on quince C, as agreed but said that the ones not directly compatible with quince would be on Pyrodwarf. This misleading-named stock should be called Pyro-vigour.

              I later found out that most other suppliers still use an interstock, allowing all varieties to be grown on quince C. Pear trees on quince C are fine with me, i.e. about the same size as apple trees on M9.

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              • #8
                Not much you can do to alter the basic soil you have - though cultivation through compost and getting rid of competitors to the trees like grass obviously makes a difference.

                In some of the old books I've read on fruit tree growing it was mentioned that some growers would use explosives to "break" the subsoil and create a better root run possibility before planting. This was around the war time years so obviously some people then had access to the necessary chemicals and the knowledge of how to use them, as it is I have neither, but have often wondered if there was anything in these stories.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nickdub View Post

                  In some of the old books I've read on fruit tree growing it was mentioned that some growers would use explosives to "break" the subsoil and create a better root run possibility before planting.
                  Fireworks night is just round the corner
                  He-Pep!

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                  • #10
                    *DISCLAIMER* - Aceville Productions in no way encourages or condones the use of high explosives in gardening.
                    He-Pep!

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                    • #11
                      Interesting Nickdub, there was a ready supply of explosives and knowledgable operatives 60+ years ago.

                      I had a friend that worked in a small dedicated engineering company that made a machine to drill down and explode/release compressed air deep into the sub soil. They contracted to do parks and sports fields (the surface usually remained untouched but the subsoil would fracture, a knowledge of underground utilities was vital of course.
                      I wonder if things like comfry roots would do the same over time, you'd then hav eto kill the comfry but the dying roots would leave drainage chanels and worm food. there is probably something better to grow for this.

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                      • #12
                        I'm inclined to credit some of the accounts of using explosives as being reasonable proof of better tree growth at least when they are getting established say for the first ten years anyway. One account commented on a farm visit where they had asked the owner about a certain part of the field where the growth was much better. He attributed it to an air raid one night when a German bomber returning home had ditched some armament in that part of the field some years previously.

                        Interesting to hear about the use of compressed air for a similar purposes, I hadn't heard of that before.

                        Some old encyclopedias contained recipes for homemade explosives - I often wondered whether anyone has blown themselves up trying out these somewhat dangerous ideas.

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