realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Monthly Archives: December 2013

Fruit growing tips – top ten tips for December

Stake, rabbit guard, the area around the tree cleared of weeds

Stake, rabbit guard, the area around the tree cleared of weeds

Some important points for December:
1) Check apple trees for canker on the stem and branches
2) Check that rabbit guards are in place
3) Check fruit held in store; remove rots
4) Do not prune plums, gages and cherries in winter
5) Prune apples and pears. Improve light entry
6) Plant replacement trees. Winter is the ideal time for that.
7) Check for grown-in or restricting ties around tree trunks
8) Replace broken stakes
9) Apply farmyard manure around the trees
10) Remove stinging nettle and perennial weeds.

Tree height restrictions and how to deal with them

How do you deal with height restrictions on trees?

How do you deal with height restrictions on trees? Photo courtesy of Darkroom Daze/flickr.com

Many people with new-built houses or allotments are keen to grow fruit trees along their border line or separating fence or wall. But often they run into a problem: due to legal restrictions or rules, the trees are not allowed to grow any taller then 6 feet.

In this case, it is best to follow a modified planting procedure:

1) in the case of apples use the rootstock M26,
2) in the case of cherries use the rootstock Gisela 5,
3) In the case of plums, the rootstock Pixie is not always suitable,
4) In the case of pears, use a root control bag.

When you are ordering trees, specify any height restrictions you may have in the special requirements section of the web form, and we will give you advice.

In any case, an alternative method is also available. Use an 16 to 18-inch clay pot or plastic pot with good drainage holes. Sink the entire pot into the soil with the rim of the pot protruding above soil level by 1 inch, and plant the tree in the pot. This will prevent the tree-roots escaping over the top of the pot. To stop the drainage holes getting blocked by roots in future years, it is essential to cover the drainage holes with broken bits of terracotta pots or the equivalent. Blocked drainage holes kills trees!

This method will effectively reduce the root run. This in turn will limit the tree height to around 6 feet. However, if this method of growth control is chosen, it is most important that the trees are routinely watered once or twice a week depending on weather conditions.

Another method is to use a root control bag. These are suitable for all types of fruit trees. These bags reduce root circling and result in an altogether more fibrous root system. Excellent root bag products are obtainable from:

GardenSelect Ltd
http://www.gardenselect.co.uk
enquiries@gardenselect.co.uk
Tel. 01908 631594

November Top Ten fruit growing tips – complete list

A tree guard. Photo courtesy of Villa root barrier.com/flickr.com

A tree guard. Photo courtesy of Villa root barrier.com/flickr.com

1) Check the gutters of any building for blockages near your mini orchard. A leaking gutter that causes soil to become waterlogged is death to the fruit tree.
2) Remove all rotten fruit and scabby leaves as these diseases will overwinter and will affect next year’s crop.
3) Check your tree guards, replace guards that are too tight ones or broken.
4) If you have ordered new trees, mark out the planting positions with tall bamboo canes.
5) Use Bordeaux mixture if fungi have been a problem. The copper in the mixture will stop the damaging spores of these fungi from getting a hold in your trees.
6) Even though the trees will be looking bare, it’s important to apply cotton threads to pear and plum trees as soon as the leaves have fallen. This is a good method of deterring pigeons and bullfinches who otherwise will eat the fruit buds, essential for next year’s crop, in pears and plums. Ordinary cotton is fine, just wind it around the tree (slip the spool onto a rod or dowel to make things simpler) so that the threads are about six inches apart. What happens is that the bird flies towards the tree, doesn’t see the thread, touches it with its wing, gets a fright, and flies off. No damage to the bird is done, and it helps your tree!
7) Cut out any tree cankers and paint the wounds with Arbrex or “Heal and Seal.”
8) Replace broken stakes; renew broken tree ties
9) It is a good idea to keep a fruit diary, in which you can record the cropping and flowering record of the different trees. If trees did not crop well, they were probably short of water, food or light. Otherwise, the problem may be connected to cross-fertilization or pollination..
10) If you noticed some dead wood in your trees during the season, check now for canker, or for waterlogged soil. Canker has to be cut out: waterlogged soil has to be improved by means of effective drainage.

November fruit growing tips – growing diary

20131027-064452.jpgIt is a good idea to keep a fruit diary, in which you can record the cropping and flowering record of the different trees. If trees did not crop well, they were probably short of water, food or light. Otherwise, the problem may be connected to cross-fertilization or pollination. If you noticed some dead wood in your trees during the season, check now for canker, or for waterlogged soil. Canker has to be cut out: waterlogged soil has to be improved by means of effective drainage.

November fruit growing tips – tree maintenance

Canker on Golden Delicious, courtesy of Alan Biggs/flickr.com

Canker on Golden Delicious, courtesy of Alan Biggs/flickr.com

Cut out any tree cankers and paint the wounds with Arbrex or “Heal and Seal.” Replace broken stakes, and renew broken tree ties.