Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Monthly Archives: May 2019

Video: How to obtain a soil analysis for fruit trees

If you are moving to a new garden, you will be faced with the question of whether the soil is suitable for growing good fruit trees. To find out the answer, a soil analysis is crucial. It is not expensive, and a soil analysis kit is available from the Royal Horticultural Society soil analysis lab at Wisley. The soil analysis procedure is not complicated: you send them an email, they will send you some containers in which to put some soil and ask you what you are thinking of growing, and within a fortnight, they will let you know whether the site is suitable in terms of fruit tree soil requirements. As trees are comparatively expensive, they can be thought of as a long-term investment, and so they deserve an initial examination of what will become their new home. One of the most important factors revealed by a soil analysis is the pH of the soil. Different plants have different preferences: for example, azaleas and rhododendrons prefer acid soils, with a pH of 4 or 5 (7 is neutral). Apple trees on the other hand prefer slightly acidic or neutral soils, so pH 6 to 7. When you receive the soil analysis report from the RHS, it will show the pH and it will also inform you of the soil’s suitability for what you want to grow and on amending new garden soil if necessary. The analysis will also tell you the type of soil, clay, loam, sand, or a mixture. It will give you the percentages of three substances that are very important for fruit trees, magnesium, potash and phosphate. The recommendations on fruit tree soil preparation are clear and straightforward, and if you follow their advice, the trees will do well. So if you are moving to a new house with a new garden, a soil analysis will help you enjoy tasty fruit that you have grown yourself. The RHS website is

Video: Tydemans Late Orange – a biennial bearing apple variety

Dan Neuteboom compares two varieties, James Grieve and Tydemans Late Orange. The first tree is covered with blossom, the second has none at all – so-called biennial bearing. Why? Tydemans Late Orange is a variety that tends to crop well one year, and very little, or none, the following year. This is part of the tree’s genetic make-up and we have to put up with it. But Tydemans Late Orange has such good eating quality and good storage quality that it’s well worth growing in any case.

James Grieve is a summer apple, Tydemans Late Orange is a late autumn apple. Trees that mature their fruit late in the season often have better eating and keeping quality than the earlier fruiting trees. Another variety that shows the same tendency for biennial bearing is Laxton Superb: like Tydemans Late Orange, it’s worth waiting for.