GARDENING WITH DEBBI
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.