realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Relevant points for the garden orchard in the month of July

This is the best time of the year to carry out summer pruning on plums, pears, cherries and peaches. Watch a video
Check that nets protecting the various fruit crops are still bird proof. Watch a video
Check pheromone traps for apple sawfly and plum sawfly. Replace the lure if necessary. Watch a video
Prepare the ground for planting new fruit trees in the autumn/winter period.
Thin fruits if their density on the tree is too high. Watch a video
Cut out tree canker and paint the wounds to stop re-infection. Watch a video
Spray to prevent bitter pit in apples.

How to thin plums

In late May-early June, if the set of fruit on plum trees is strong, it is a good idea to start thinning out the plums. If the trees have too many plums, size will be disappointing. Use a narrow-tipped cutter to remove some plums so that the ones left are a couple of inches apart. Where there are two together, cut them down to one. When plums overcrop, the branches break, and the fruit is not as good.

Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Further information on the RealEnglishFruit website
https://realenglishfruit.co.uk/

How to grow figs in the UK

Figs do much better if they are in some sort of container, rather than planting them directly in the ground, because they have very strong root systems. Dan shows us a fig that he planted 8 years ago, in a container made with a base of bricks, and soil placed on top of the bricks. This system enables the fig to grow well, but not too strongly. This method of preventing the tree roots from penetrating down into the soil encourages It to convert its growth vigour into cropping, and as you can see in the video, it is bearing a lot of fruit all over the tree. So if you would like to plant a fig primarily for its leaves, then you can plant it straight into the ground. If you want the fig to crop, the most important of Dan’s fig growing tips is to plant it in a suitable container, not too small, or do something similar with bricks or stone.

Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Video: Ladybirds, great friends for fruit growers

A ladybird is the biggest friend the fruit grower can have. They inhabit fruit trees and eat the aphids. Unfortunately, this year – the video was filmed in May 2019 – there are far too many aphids when compared to the number of ladybirds, and so on their own the ladybirds can’t keep them under control. You can help by spraying the trees with a soapy liquid made with a washing-up liquid, at the concentration that you would use to do the washing-up. It won’t kill the ladybirds, nor the ants. But it will finish off the aphids.

Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Further information on the RealEnglishFruit website
https://realenglishfruit.co.uk/

Video: May – Mildew on fruit trees

In spring and early summer, mildew can develop on fruit trees very quickly, particularly in certain weather conditions. It’s a good idea to visit your trees every week, and when you do, be sure to bring a basket with you. Cut away mildew-affected shoots, and put then into the metal basket. From here, the shoots can disposed of, placing them into the non-recycling bin. The whitish appearance of mildew infection is due to the thousands of fungal spores on the leaves. Eliminating infected leaves and shoots helps control outbreaks of mildew.

Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Further information on the RealEnglishFruit website
https://realenglishfruit.co.uk/

Video: May – How to thin apples by hand

Apples are just about the last fruit to blossom. The first to blossom are apricot, nectarines and peaches, followed by plums, then cherry, and finally the apples. Considering apples, there are early and late varieties. At this time of year, late May, you will often find that the early apple varieties have set far too much fruit. For early varieties, late May is a good time for thinning fruit on apple trees.

How to thin apples by hand
Use a narrow-tipped cutter to remove some of the fruitlets so that they are better spaced. Leave the best-sized fruitlets. Cut just underneath the fruitlet, leaving the stalk. Always cut out the central fruitlet in a group, because this is the king fruit and it is misshapen. In this group, Dan reduces the initial 12 fruitlets to 5. There are still too many, but it is still early in the season, so it’s a good idea to thin the fruitlets down to this degree at the present time, late May. In July you can take another look at the tree and reduce the number of fruits – in a group of this type – down to 2 or 3.

Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Further information on the RealEnglishFruit website
https://realenglishfruit.co.uk/

Video: How to control aphids on fruit trees

This is a bad year for aphis. You can always see when you have an aphid attack because the leaves curl up. If nothing is done, the aphids will spread through the entire tree. There are ladybirds in the trees – these insects are predators of aphids and so help control aphid infection – but this year, the weather conditions have favoured the aphid presence and so the ladybirds cannot get rid of them. Ants are also a good indicator of aphids, as they milk them, using the sweet nectar that they exude as a source of food. To get rid of aphids on fruit trees there is a simple organic method. Spray the tree with a dilute washing-up-liquid solution, at the same sort of concentration that you would use to wash your dishes.
Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Further information on the RealEnglishFruit website
https://realenglishfruit.co.uk/

Video: Black aphids on cherry

In late May, we see a fan-trained cherry tree that has set a good crop and has healthy leaves, but it is also showing a problem. The young leaves are curled up, as a result of black aphids. These can be a problem because of the damage that they cause to the leaves, and in addition, the sweet nectar that the aphids exude also attracts wasps. Infected shoots should be cut right out and placed in a basket and eliminated. Don’t drop the cut shoots on the ground because ants will take the aphids back into the tree so that they can continue to use them as a source of sweet nectar. An organic treatment for cherry black aphids is to spray the tree with a diluted solution of washing-up liquid, the same sort of dilution that you would use to wash dishes, to the point of run-off.
Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Video: Grafting apple trees, results and maintenance

In this video, made in late May, we see a 10-year-old apple tree that Dan Neuteboom and William Seabrook grafted in an earlier video, in March. The grafts have taken very well, the branches are healthy with a good set of leaves. If the graft does not develop properly, this may be caused by a hole in the tree wax. If this happens, just fill in the cracks and holes with a proprietary flexible tree wax that you can buy in garden centres. So, if you graft over a tree, it’s a good idea to go back after a few days and inspect the graft, correcting any holes or cracks in the wax. If the graft is completely sealed, it is more likely to be successful.
Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy

Video: May. Tying down apple tree branches

Dan Neuteboom demonstrate how to tie down apple tree branches, a method of forming the tree’s structure and encouraging growth of new shoots along the branches. This is a one-year old tree, with branches growing diagonally upwards and rather bare. Simply tie a few lengths of string at the base of the stake, and then wind the string around the branch and hold it in place with a clothes peg. Stronger branches can be tied down a little lower. When you bend the branch, twist it slightly. This will prevent it from breaking. Trees don’t crop because of pruning, but in spite of pruning: tying apple trees in this way will help the tree to start cropping.. Dan also points out that it is important to have mulch on the soil around the tree. This keeps the soil moist so that the root system can develop sufficiently to feed the part of the tree above ground level.
Narration: Dan Neuteboom
Camera: John Paddy