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Fruit Trees

 
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percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 9:24 am    Post subject: Fruit Trees  Reply with quote    

After reading the article on the home page about older fruit trees it got me wondering if I have planted my trees too close together. It is probably too late now anyway as two have been in a year and the other two about 8 months.
So, how far apart should they be apart. I have got three apple and one pear tree. I don't know of their variety as the labels just helpfully said 'apple tree' and 'pear tree'!
Thanks
Sarah

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44144
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It's not (so much) the variety you have to worry about but the rootstock, that's what determines the vigour of the trees and the planting distance, any ideas on the rootstock?

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Any thoughts on how to give some TLC to my two fruit trees - one greengage and one damson? They have been almost ringbarked by sheep - one has a great vertical scar running down the trunk - and I am starting to get quite vigorous growth coming up from the rootstocks of both trees. They are about 12 feet tall, but very spindly - lots of sprouty branches starting from around the 6 foot mark.
They really look dreadful. My instinct was originally to grub them out and start again, but last year the greengage gave me over 20 lbs of fruit! I have given them some manure and wood ashes, and try to keep the grass down around the base.
Anything else I can or should be doing to help?

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44144
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'm no expert but I'd say your instinct is right, plant another couple and keep them protected from the sheep.

Tristan might have a different view.

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We don't have any sheep on the land at the moment, but the last owner let them have the run of the place. Practically every tree has had the bark nibbled to a greater or lesser extent, but they all seem to be hanging in there. I sort of admire their resilience - it seems a shame to pull them out just because they are not so aesthetically pleasing any more!

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44144
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The bark's obviously well healed then. In that case clear a couple of feet around the base and apply some potash and a good thick mulch. Now is not the time to prune them, wait until summer, you need a dry spell to prune them, and a good book if you've never done it before, Growing fruit by Harry Baker from the RHS is my favourite.

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
Growing fruit by Harry Baker from the RHS is my favourite.


Thanks for the tip - I'll look out for it.

Treacodactyl
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Fruit Trees Reply with quote    

percypony wrote:
After reading the article on the home page about older fruit trees it got me wondering if I have planted my trees too close together.


As Tahir says rootstock is very important. Soil also will play a role and you can keep them managable by pruning.

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

?????Rootstock?????
Come on you are talking to a very NEW grower of anything here! LOL!
Seriously what is rootstock?
I like the idea of greengages (I remember my grandad growing them as a child!)
Anyone know any cheap places to buy? We usually go to local auctions but so far nothing interesting like greengages has come up!

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44144
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Auction? No. But it's coming up to the end of the planting season so it might be worth ringing some of the places listed in the Web Links section to see if they've any offers on:

http://www.downsizer.net/option,com_bookmarks/Itemid,54/catid,2/

Ken Muir, Keepers and Reads stock gages (maybe Walcot too).

It might be worth ringing wisley up too in case they have an end of season sale.

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Well worth a trip to Wisley - they sell bare root trees and you can pick your own. Prices are reasonable but quality seems good. We wished we'd known this before we bought a rather disappointing selection from Ken Muir. I now try to avoid buying plants of any type by mail order if I can, although I'd still recommend Reads.

Tristan



Joined: 29 Dec 2004
Posts: 392
Location: North Gloucestershire
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 05 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Came to this one a bit late, Sarah, somewhere on your tree labels should be a code for the rootstock, either M27, M9, M26, MM106 or MM111, and either Quince A or C for pears, if you can find these I can give you a rough idea of spacing and pruning.
Judith, if your trees are only growing from the rootstock then I'm afraid they'll havo to go, if not then follow the suckers back to the root and pull them off (preferably), or cut them off flush with the root. If you are getting very strong upright growth then they'll be fine, just pull the branches as close to horizontal as possible and tie them there. Any work on stone ffruits must be done in early summer to avoid silverleaf.

HTH

percypony



Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 146
Location: Hants
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 05 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

No labels at all on the trees Tristan I'm afriad. They were from an end of season auction and the tags just said apple tree or pear tree! Oh well, I guess we will just have to wait and see then! They look pretty healthy at the moment (seen some shoots already appearing) and are still quite small (about 5ft-6ft tall).

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 05 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Tristan wrote:
Judith, if your trees are only growing from the rootstock then I'm afraid they'll havo to go, if not then follow the suckers back to the root and pull them off (preferably), or cut them off flush with the root. If you are getting very strong upright growth then they'll be fine, just pull the branches as close to horizontal as possible and tie them there. Any work on stone ffruits must be done in early summer to avoid silverleaf.


Tristan, that's very helpful thanks. The main trees are growing from the graft as they should, and I am getting plenty of fruit. It just seems to be where the sheep have damaged the bark lower down, it is throwing up shoots from the trunk, about 9 - 12 inches from ground level. Not really what I think of as suckers. Presumably I should just cut these right back to the trunk?

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44144
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 05 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You should cut them back, they're probably above the union point but you don't really want branches there do you?

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