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If you are thinking about getting a new fruit tree for your plot you might like to look at the folowing suggesions:

  • Some key types to be aware of include:
  • Rootstocks can be placed into five main categories: extreme dwarfing, dwarfing, semi dwarfing, semi vigorous and vigorous. These are usually distinguished in a nursery by a combination of letters and numbers such as M26 or M9, and these differ between fruits.
  • The majority of the fruit trees sold now are provided as grafted stock and include a scion (which relates to the variety of tree) and a rootstock. The rootstocks are the foundation of the tree and control the vigour of its growth and the ultimate height. The join between the two is identified by a bulge in the stem, which shows where the wood has knotted.
  • Start with what type of fruit do you like - soft juicy stone fruits like plums or apricots, or would you prefer something from the pome family such as an apple or pear tree? There isn’t a great deal of difference between these two types and maintenance and pruning tasks are more or less the same whichever you choose.
  • It’s a long term investment, once planted they don’t like to be moved so take the time to think it.
    • For apples: Trees grown on M27 rootstocks will reach between 1.2 and 1.8m high, while trees with M26 rootstocks will grow to around 2.4 to 3m high. Those on M25 rootstocks will grow over 4.5m.
    • For cherries: Trees grown on Gisella 5 rootstocks will grow to around 2.5-3m whereas those on Colt rootstocks will grow to approximately 5-6m high.
    • For pears: Trees grown on Quince A rootstocks will be around 3-4.5m high, whereas those grown on either Quince C or Quince Adams will end up at roughly 2.5 to 3m high.
    • For peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines: Trees with St Julien rootstocks will grow to around 4.5m high while those on Ferlenain and Mont Clare will grow to 3m high.
  • Fruit trees need to be pollinated in order to create fruit, and while some varieties are self fertile (which means they will set a crop of fruit without any interaction with another tree), some aren’t. These types will need exposure to pollen from a different variety of the same tree type. Sometimes a neighbour’s tree can pollinate your own, but this is not always a failsafe method. Ideally, if you are looking at trees that require a pollination partner, you should buy two different varieties which flower at the same time of year. Some cultivars – which are known as ‘triploids’ – need a third pollinator nearby as they are poor pollinators.
  • With most fruit you’ll find some varieties that proclaim to be early or late cropping. This means you can expect fruit either before the usual harvesting time, or after, and it’s worth considering when you would like your fruit gluts. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some types taste best eaten as soon as they are picked, whereas others can be stored for a considerable time.
  • Pest and disease resistance: Like vegetables, some fruit varieties show resilience (and susceptibility) to certain pests and diseases. It’s worth talking to fellow growers and seeing if there are any issues that are prevalent in our area.

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