Ap­ple ‘ap­pen­ings

The Daily Telegraph - Gardening - - Front Page -

We are hop­ing to move house early this year, and won­dered how prac­ti­cal it was to dig up a ‘Dis­cov­ery’ ap­ple tree, planted at our cur­rent ad­dress in 2005? It is 5ft-6ft tall, and has just started fruit­ing prop­erly. Could you also please ad­vise us on pro­tec­tion against codling moth? We have used grease bands with lim­ited suc­cess, but many of our ap­ples con­tinue to be blighted by this pest.

Peter Barnes, W Sus­sex It should be just about pos­si­ble to dig up a young tree of this size, but you must do it dur­ing the next month or so, dur­ing mild weather. Once it is out of the ground you should wrap its root ball in sack­ing or a dou­ble layer of weedsmoth­er­ing mem­brane, and pro­tect it from frost un­til such time as you can re­plant it, ide­ally be­fore the tree comes out of dor­mancy. Bear in mind that the roots of the tree will have spread ap­prox­i­mately as far side­ways un­der­ground as the canopy has spread above it.

Dam­age to one or two of the outer roots will be in­evitable, but won’t kill the tree. There will be down­ward trav­el­ling roots, of course, but not a sin­gle, all-im­por­tant tap root. Work fairly gen­tly us­ing a fork at first. You will get a feel for just how ex­ten­sive the root sys­tem is only when you start to dig. This is def­i­nitely a two-per­son job.

As for codling moth – fruit tree grease and bands are re­garded as use­ful bar­ri­ers, but you may have got the tim­ing slightly wrong. There is also a bi­o­log­i­cal con­trol that is ef­fec­tive: pheromone traps you can hang from the branches of your trees to at­tract adult moths – go to the Green Gar­dener web­site for more in­for­ma­tion (green­gar­dener.co.uk).

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