1 Fruit trees TIMING: autumn (fruit)
My first choice of a fodder tree for cows would be a pear tree, and then some apples. Pears grow quite large, making a nice shade tree. If you’re choosing apple varieties, get ones grown on large and hardy Northern Spy or similar rootstock. • both drop fruit in autumn which my cows adore – for them it is mana from heaven – and I can gather some fruit for myself; • birds can eat the fruit (instead of what is in my orchard!); • they drop their leaves in winter, so you don’t end up with muddy areas around them, making them good options on northern sides of gates or races; • they also make great firewood (or smoking wood).
On the downside, the over-ripe fruit can attract wasps and possums and they may get infected with codling moth (althought there are now biological sprays to control the larvae, see next month’s column for more).