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Fruit Tree Care

Apples

Apple trees need a different variety to act as a pollinator so you will get a good crop of apples. A suitable pollinator can be a few hundred metres away and still be effective, and crab apples make excellent pollinators. There are some partly self fertile varieties which will give a reasonable crop without a pollinator, choose these if you only have room for one apple tree in your garden

Apples are placed in groups according to the time of year they flower. Most apples will pollinate one another if they are in the same group or an adjacent group e.g a group 2 variety can be pollinated by an apple from group 1, 2 or 3, but not an apple from group 4. A few varieties, known as 'triploid' varieties are no good as pollinators to other apples

SF = Partly self fertile

T =  Triploid - will not pollinate other apples, needs a pollinator

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4/5

  • Egremont Russet
  • Lord Lambourne
  • Rev.W. Wilks
  • Ambassy
  • Blenheim Orange (T)
  • Bramley's Seedling (T)
  • Charles Ross
  • Chivers Delight
  • Cox's Orange Pippin
  • Discovery
  • Fiesta (SF)
  • Gala
  • Greensleeves
  • James Grieve
  • Jupiter (T)
  • Katy
  • Lord Derby
  • Queen Cox (SF)
  • Red Windsor (SF)
  • Summer Red
  • Sunset
  • Spartan
  • Worcester Pearmain

 

  • Braeburn
  • Elstar (SF)
  • Falstaff
  • Grenadier (SF)
  • Lane's Prince Albert
  • Laxton's Superb
  • Peasgood Nonsuch
  • Saturn (SF)
  • Sweet Society
  • Winter Gem

 

  • Annie Elizabeth
  • Gloster 69
  • Howgate Wonder (SF)
  • Jonagold (T)
  • Laxton Superb (SF)
  • Newton Wonder
  • Winston (SF)

Most apple trees purchased for fruit production are made from two parts which are grafted together when the tree is very young. The root and approximately the first 25cm of trunk is called the rootstock and this is mainly responsible for the eventual size of the tree. The rest of the apple tree, called the scion, controls the type of apple which is produced. A number of rootstocks can be used, according to how large you want the tree to become. Some other factors also have an effect on the size of an apple tree, such as pruning, soil type and climatic factors but none are as important as the choice of rootstock. Dwarfing rootstocks are the most common ones used today as the old fashioned, standard trees, are less popular because they take up a lot of space and the fruit is higher up and therefore more difficult ot pick

This table gives a brief guide to the most popular rootstocks and their effect on a tree's final size

Rootstock

Approx height

Width

Stake needed

Comments

M27

1m to 2m

1m to 2m

Yes

Very dwarf, produces the smallest mini apple trees but growing conditions need to be very good. Fertile soil with no competition from weeds is required for a reasonable crop to be produced. Apples Trees on this rootstock will need a permanent stake if they are planted out in an exposed position. They make good trees to grow in pots on the patio. Fruits from a young age

M9

1.6m to 2.5m

1.6m to 2m

Yes

Dwarf, produces a small apple tree for garden cultivation as a bush or trained against a wall, but growing conditions need to be very good. Fertile soil with no competition from weeds is required for a reasonable crop to be produced. Apples Trees on this rootstock will need a permanent stake if they are planted out in an exposed position. They start cropping quicker than trees on more vigorous rootstocks. Can be grown in a large pot on the patio

M26

2.3m to 3m

1.8m to 2.5m

Yes

Semi-dwarf, produces a good size tree for a small to medium size garden. Vigorous enough to succeed in a less fertile soil and some competition from weeds. Recommended as a good choice for a bush tree, also as an espalier or cordon tree. Produces a good crop of apples from the third year onwards. Staking will probably needed in most gardens. Regular pruning can keep this tree to about 2 metres

MM106

3.6m

3m

No

Semi-vigorous rootstock producing a good half standard tree for medium to large gardens. Grows too strongly to be used as an espalier or cordon tree. High yielding with around 20 kilos of fruit from a mature tree each season. No stake needed after a few years. Growing conditions can be much tougher with poorer soils and a harsher climate and they will still produce a good crop. If the scion variety is weak growing it can help counteract this problem. Regular pruning can keep these trees to 2.5 metres

MM111

4.5m+

4m+

No

Vigorous rootstock producing a large tree for the larger garden. Slower to produce a crop, typically six years but then can produce 30 kilos of fruit per year once mature. No stake needed after a few years. Grows well in poorer soils and a harsher climate. Pruning this tree will require some climbing or the use of extension pruning saws etc. 

 

 

 

Pear Trees

Pear trees give the best crops if they have a different variety nearby to act as a pollinator. A suitable pollinator can be a few hundred metres away and still be effective, and ornamental pear trees make excellent pollinators. There are some partly self fertile varieties which will give a good crop without a pollinator, choose these if you only have room for one tree in your garden

Pears are placed in groups according to the time of year they flower. Most will pollinate one another if they are in the same group or an adjacent group e.g a group 2 variety can be pollinated by a pear from group 1, 2 or 3, but not a pear from group 4

SF = Partly self fertile

SS = self sterile, will not produce fruit on it's own

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

 

  • Louise Bonne of Jersey (SF)
  • Packhams Triumph

 

  • Beth (SS)
  • Beurre Hardy
  • Conference (SF)
  • Invincible
  • Sensation
  • Williams Bon Chretien

 

  • Concorde
  • Doyenne du Comice
  • Glou Morceau
  • Onward
  •  

Most pear trees are made from two parts which are grafted together when the tree is very young. The root and approximately the first 25cm of trunk is called the rootstock and this is mainly responsible for the eventual size of the tree. The rest of the tree, called the scion, controls the type of fruit which is produced. A number of rootstocks can be used, according to how large you want the tree to become. Some other factors also have an effect on the size of the tree, such as pruning, soil type and climatic factors, but none are as important as the choice of rootstock. Dwarfing rootstocks are the most common ones used today as the old fashioned, standard trees, are less popular because they take up a lot of space and the fruit is higher up and therefore more difficult ot pick

This table gives a brief guide to the most popular rootstocks and their effect on a tree's final size

Rootstock

Approx height

Width

Stake needed

Comments

Quince A

1.5 to 2.5m

1.5m to 2m

No

Semi-dwarfing rootstock which produces a 'bush' size tree, ideal for the smaller garden. Can be grown in a very large pot for first few years at least. Fruits from a relatively young age although pears tend to start fruiting later than apples

Pyrus communis

2m to 4m

1.5m to 3m

No

Vigorous rootstock producing a strong growing bush or half standard tree. Very productive, no staking required in normal conditions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plums, Damsons, Gages, Peaches, Nectarines and Apricots are made from two parts which are grafted together when the tree is very young. The root and approximately the first 25cm of trunk is called the rootstock and this is mainly responsible for the eventual size of the tree. The rest of the tree, called the scion, controls the type of fruit which is produced. A number of rootstocks can be used, according to how large you want the tree to become. Some other factors also have an effect on the size of the tree, such as pruning, soil type and climatic factors, but none are as important as the choice of rootstock. Dwarfing rootstocks are the most common ones used today as the old fashioned, standard trees, are less popular because they take up a lot of space and the fruit is higher up and therefore more difficult ot pick

This table gives a brief guide to the most popular rootstocks and their effect on a tree's final size

Rootstock

Approx height

Width

Stake needed

Comments

Pixie

1m to 2m

1m to 2m

Yes

Dwarf rootstock which produces small, 'bush' size trees but growing conditions need to be good. Fertile soil with no competition from weeds is required. May need a permanent stake if they are planted out in an exposed position. They make good trees to grow in pots on the patio. Fruits from a young age

St Julien A

2m to 3m

2m to 2.5m

No

Semi-vigorous rootstock used most often by growers. Makes a good bush or half standard tree. Produces reliable crops and no staking required in normal conditions

Myrobalan

4m+

3.5m+

No

Vigorous rootstock produces a large, strong tree for a larger garden. Vigorous enough to succeed in a less fertile soil and some competition from weeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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