Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - WITH DEBBI GIB­SON, HOR­TI­CUL­TUR­AL­IST

WIN­TER is a time of rest for the gar­den, but not for gar­den­ers.

Win­ter is the sea­son for plant­ing de­cid­u­ous bare rooted fruit and or­na­men­tal trees, vines and roses.

Buy­ing and plant­ing at this time of the year is not only cheaper, but gives the plants plenty of time to es­tab­lish be­fore the sum­mer heat.

Bare rooted plants are only avail­able dur­ing June, July and early Au­gust.

Pro­duc­tion nurs­eries grow the plants in the ground and while dor­mant, the plants are dug up and the soil re­moved from around the roots, hence the term bare rooted.

They are then bun­dled and trans­ported to re­tail nurs­eries ready for sale.

Hav­ing no soil means less weight and less space is taken up dur­ing trans­port, re­duc­ing costs com­pared to reg­u­lar pot­ted plants.

Once in the nurs­ery, the plants are ‘ heeled’ in hold­ing beds with their roots cov­ered with sand, saw­dust or soil to keep the roots moist.

When pur­chased, the plant is tem­po­rar­ily pack­aged.

They are also avail­able ‘ bagged’ from some nurs­eries, where they are pack­aged in plas­tic bags filled with saw­dust to keep the roots moist.

Fruit trees are avail­able in three main forms; the tra­di­tional stan­dard sized tree grow­ing to around 4m high x 4m wide.

These trees need space to grow and ma­ture.

Dwarf fruit trees grow to a smaller size around 2.5m x 2.5m with full size fruit.

Minia­ture fruit trees may only grow to 1.5m x1.5m but the fruit they pro­duce is full in size and flavour.

These are suit­able for grow­ing in pots and tubs.

Multi- grafted trees are avail­able with two or three dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties grafted on to the one trunk.

If space is lim­ited, try plant­ing two or three dif­fer­ent trees in the same plant­ing hole, pro­vid­ing cross pol­li­na­tion and in­creas­ing the amount and va­ri­ety of fruit.

Fruit tree va­ri­eties in­clude ap­ples, apri­cots, peaches, nec­tarines, plums, cher­ries, pears, nashi pears, quinces, Chi­nese goose­ber­ries, fig, med­lar, mul­berry, persimmon, pome­gran­ate and prune.

Nut va­ri­eties avail­able in­clude al­monds, chest­nuts, wal­nuts and hazel­nuts.

Find a spot for some in your gar­den.

Happy gar­den­ing.

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