The ideal time to plant a fruit tree is between October and April. Of course, if the ground is frozen, covered in snow or waterlogged it better to wait for conditions to improve. Wait for a dry afternoon, and take advantage of the low sun to get out into your garden and dig a hole. It will keep you warm at least!
Few of us have large plots of land in which to grown an orchard, but you may not know that these trees can be planted in a relatively small space. An interesting way to achieve this aim is by learning how to train fruit trees to grow in a restricted form, controlling size and final plant shape whilst promoting a healthy supply of fruit production.
There are several types of trained form: espalier, step overs, cordon, fan and so on, all suited to different types of fruit. Step overs, also known as horizontal cordons are especially useful in a confined space. A one year old tree, with very few branches is bent over and trained along a low fence and can literally be stepped over.
This low fence with apple or pear trees growing on along it can look fabulous in your garden. It can also make a very interesting boundary than a traditional hedge or bare fencing, and it has the bonus of being productive. When it comes to harvest, low fences are a lot easier to pick from.
Robin Parker, of Gabriel Ash states:
“Many of our customers are using their gardens and greenhouses to grow fruit. In fact we have designed a range specifically designed for this purpose – the Gabriel Ash Royal Horticultural Society Vinehouse”.
The key to success is good formative pruning in the early years of growth, and regular maintenance in following years. Investing in a fruit growers manual or going on a short course, won’t do any harm either.