Growing Fruit Trees: A Fruitful Task

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A change in spray regime can have a big effect. Orchards that had a strict, frequent, spraying regime which suddenly stops will often produce a diseased crop and then the following year the quality will pick up immeasurably.

A common reason for no fruit is a late frost, so if the tree’s life is in the balance, wait a year or two to be sure. Plums do tend to peg out or become weak and unproductive as they age; be ruthless and replace. It used to be said that pears were “planted for heirs”, inferring they take ages to be productive, but modern root stocks should mean fruit in two to three years. If pears are not fruiting, it is more likely to be cold conditions; they thrive in warm, sunny, sheltered sites. In colder areas try 'Conference’ or 'Winter Nelis’. Nick Dunn of Frank Matthews Ltd (wholesale fruit growers with a fabulous range,, 01584 810214) advises not to prune them hard in the first two or three years, as this inhibits fruiting.

Many of us have delicious apples of an unknown type and if you want to get another, genetically identical, Frank Matthews provides a tree rescue service. If you send the firm some suitable grafting wood it will graft it on to an appropriate rootstock and send you a new, genetically identical tree; or it can sell you the root stock and kit to graft yourself.

Because apples are such good survivors, mature specimens often occur in prime spaces in older gardens. Seize the opportunity they provide – their smallish scale and often relatively open branch structure is ideal for slotting a tree house into the canopy, albeit usually supported on independent legs. Alternatively, consider a large seat around the trunk, a climbing rose up its boughs, a low swing from a sturdy branch or just sowing some mistletoe berries in a crevice.

Keeping sweet

Removing dead or diseased branches opens up the framework; combined with a good feed, this should give any tree a new lease of life. The extra sunshine will also boost the sugar levels in the fruit, so the crop will taste sweeter.


Fruit trees - 1 apple 'Braeburn', 1 pear 'Conference', or 1 plum 'Victoria' for £22.95. Buy two and get the third one free [total £45.90 free p&p]

These trees will be perfect for large patio containers for a number of years and so you can have your own fresh fruits even if space is limited! These trees are on a dwarfing rootstock and are easy to grow and crop reliably.

Buy the fruit tree collection from >>

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