WHAT TO GROW
LIZ POTTER Editor, Garden Answers A key to growing fruit trees is the tree’s rootstock. They come in various sizes – look for ones labelled M27 or M9. Self-fertile trees produce fruit without the need for another tree to pollinate it. If your tree is not self-fertile it will need to be paired with another. Look for well-developed, fibrous roots. For container-grown trees, check that roots aren’t congested and choose younger trees (up to three years), which establish quicker. Soak the roots before planting. Bare-root trees can be planted late autumn to early winter, when the tree is in its dormant stage, but don’t plant if there’s a frost. Container-grown trees can be planted at any time of year except when frosty. Place your tree in a sunny and sheltered position. Dig a hole a third wider than the roots and to the same depth as the roots, firming the bottom of the hole into a slight mound. Insert the stake and your tree. Fill with soil and mound towards the base of the tree, attaching it to the stake. To make use of limited space, train the tree along a south-facing wall. This gives more ripening time as the wall soaks up heat.