Growing fruit trees can be a delicious, nutritious and juicy experience. But to ensure you make the most of your trees (and to avoid things going pear-shaped) it’s important that you plan ahead.
Thankfully the first task is incredibly enjoyable and this needs doing now! Go forth and eat, so that when deciduous fruit trees become available (around June/July) you know what varieties you like. Though before you gorge yourself too much it is worth narrowing your choice down by considering a few other factors.
What to consider:
If you only have space for one tree it’s worth choosing a self-fertile variety. Or if you have space for multiple trees make sure you choose varieties that pollinate each other. Note all full size peaches and nectarines are self-fertile. Self-ferile varieties of plums include billington, santa rosa and damson.
Where you will plant
Most fruit trees prefer fertile, free-draining rich soil and will need at least six hours of sun everyday.
For healthy peaches or nectarines, choose a spot with good airflow (though shelter from high winds is needed). Apples and plums aren’t as particular, but they still need fairly free-draining soil. Pears will deal with significantly damper spots than most other fruit trees.
For best results trees need enough space to grow.
- Dwarf peaches and nectarines — 1.5m
- Dwarf varieties of apples — 1.5m
- Apples on dwarf (M9) rootstock — 2.5m
- Apples on MM106 rootstock — 3+m
- Peaches, plums, nectarines — 3.5+m
Fruit to look out for
(and taste if you can find them)
- Plums — billington, santa rosa, damson, fortune
- Peaches (all varieties are self-fertile) – golden queen, pixzee, flatto, blackboy, Scarlet O’Hara
- Apples — peasgood nonsuch, initial, oratea beauty/gravenstein
For more advice on planning an orchard visit our website or ask instore.
Words: Billy Aiken, Kings Plant Barn