Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Big trees, little trees, can they compete?

Photo courtesy of Moreland's emerging urban food gardens/

Photo courtesy of Moreland’s emerging urban food gardens/

It’s not tree planting time yet. But, if you’ve already ordered your trees, this is the time to start thinking about how to ensure that the new tree will survive in your garden. In this post, I’m thinking particularly of situation in which you already have healthy, well-established trees in your garden, and you want to fill a gap with a new tree. In this case, you have to follow a certain procedure to give the new tree or trees a chance to compete successfully with the trees already there, and ensuring them a constant supply of moisture, light and nutrients throughout the growing season. Here we go:

1) Choose the correct fruit type, rootstock and variety compatible and vigorous enough to compete with the already established and larger trees in close proximity. If you need advice on which trees to purchase, there is some basic information here. Otherwise, take a look at our Tree Varieties page, fill in the form, and provide some information on your situation in the box ‘Special instructions or local conditions.’

2) Use a mini digger to prepare the planting hole, and cut and remove all the roots of surrounding trees that are crossing the planting hole. The size of the planting hole needs to be 1 metre square and 45 cm deep. (If you don’t have a mini digger, well, it’s going to be spade work… take your time, take it easy, do some warm-up exercises before you start. If you have back or heart problems, ask someone who is fit to do it… or hire a mini-digger.)

3) Next, loosen the subsoil but do not take that soil out of the planting hole.

4) Remove and cut back all overhanging branches of other trees, which will be taking away the light of the newly to be planted tree or trees.

5) Mix plenty of garden compost or well rotted straw based farmyard manure into the soil.

6) When planting your trees make sure the union of the trees is at least 4 inches above soil level once planted.

7) Plant the trees well away from any building or wall, which might create shade.

8) Firm the soil around the roots, but with only moderate force. No stamping. Stake the trees with a 6 foot, round, 2” diameter stake, which has been treated against fungi. If it is not treated against fungi, it may rot off at soil level.

9) During the growing season do not forget to water the trees weekly, with 10 litres of water for each tree.

10) Apply “Growmore” spread evenly over the 1 square metre area, twice a year, in February and June. Do not allow any weeds or grass to grow on your specially-prepared soil area, around the trunks of the trees. Mulch the trees if possible. Follow instructions on the packet of the fertilizer. Do not exceed the stated rate of application.

If you do all the above you will succeed. Good luck and all best wishes!

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