An or­chard needs plant­ing from late au­tumn on­wards

Country Smallholding - - Ask The Experts -

QI’m think­ing about plant­ing a small or­chard. Any ad­vice please?

AKim Stod­dart says: It is a good time of year to start think­ing about this as bare root ap­ple trees need to be planted from late au­tumn un­til early spring. Do bear in mind, though, that you will need to plant them when the ground isn’t frozen and there­fore able to be dug. Ap­ple trees are ar­guably the eas­i­est of all fruit trees with which to work and once es­tab­lished will af­ford you with a boun­ti­ful sup­ply of de­li­cious home- grown fare year in, year out. As you will see from the cider mak­ing fea­ture (page 66), you can use a mix­ture of both sweet and cook­ing ap­ples to make this pop­u­lar tip­ple, de­pend­ing on what you hap­pen to have spare.

Th­ese fruit trees are widely avail­able to buy from gar­den cen­tres and on­line nurs­eries, although it is ad­vis­able where pos­si­ble to choose va­ri­eties na­tive to your area, as that way they are more likely to fare well. Also, if you live in a re­mote spot, you will need to pur­chase trees that can cross-pol­li­nate each other, a con­fus­ing sub­ject on which your cho­sen re­tailer can rec­om­mend the best com­bi­na­tions.

Oth­er­wise ap­ple trees like a sunny, shel­tered spot in rel­a­tively free- drain­ing soil. If your land is up high and ex­posed, like mine, don’t let that stop you. Dam­son trees grow quickly and are hardy plants which can be used to cre­ate a bar­rier against the worst of the wind. I live more than 700ft above sea level and I was told when I first moved in that ap­ple trees wouldn’t work on the land. I’m pleased to prove the naysay­ers wrong and to re­port that after a few years our trees are ab­so­lutely flour­ish­ing with the pro­tec­tion af­forded them by the dam­son bar­rier.

If you live in a re­mote spot, choose trees that can cross-pol­li­nate each other

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