An orchard needs planting from late autumn onwards
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