How do you like them apples?
Here we are in the Garden of England – and you don’t have an apple tree? Autumn is the very best time to get on and plant one.
“Dig a wide hole no more Plant a little apple tree this autumn and it has the winter for its roots to establish before next year’s dry weather.
Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don has around 60 different types of apple tree at his garden in Herefordshire.
In his latest book, Down To Earth, he says apple trees are overlooked as troublesome by many people. He feels that this is unfair.
“They somehow feel it has to be a big tree, but it doesn’t. You can grow stepovers or espaliers, you can grow fans or cordons. You can train the fruit to fit your space,” he said.
“People also get very worried about what are actually quite trivial afflictions. It could be a bit of mould on a leaf or a bit of bitter pit on the apple, but by and large apple trees are robust. They don’t need much looking after.”
Some people are also confused by rootstocks, he observes: “It’s moderately complex because all apples are grown on a different rootstock, so the roots of one tree are joined at the graft to the trunk and branches of another tree. The root dictates the size and vigour and shape of the tree, and the bit above the root dictates the fruit.
“So you could have my favourite eating apple, Jupiter, as a dwarf, a cordon or a great big tree, but you’d need a different rootstock for each of them. All you need to know is, I want it to be this big, my garden is this size, what rootstock do you have? And a good garden centre should be able to tell you.” Down To Earth by Monty Don is published by DK, priced £17.99. Available now.
It is time to plant apple trees
Plant now and trees have the winter to establish