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Plant of the Month June - Deciduous Fruit Trees

Plant of the Month June - Deciduous Fruit Trees

Deciduous Fruit Trees
As the dark, mildly cold depths of winter finally descend, it’s a great time to plan out and plant your fruit tree garden. Planting now ensures that your trees get settled in, and have had time to put roots down before the next growing season, allowing them to get off to a flying start.
 
But before getting stuck in, a bit of planning is always useful. For whether you’re growing your own orchard on a massive section, or are squeezing a few fruit trees into pots, it’s worth getting things right now to make sure that you’re set up for success. 
 

THIS YEARS VARIETIES:

APPLES

Grow in full sun, in relatively free draining fertile soil rich in organic matter. Available on full sized (MM106) and dwarf (M9) rootstocks.

Apples

NECTARINES

Grows best in free draining, fertile soil rich in organic matter. Plant in full sun, in a spot with good airflow, to reduce the chance of fungal disease.

Nectarines

PEACHES

Grows best in free draining, fertile soil rich in organic matter. Plant in full sun, in a spot with good airflow, to reduce the chance of fungal disease.

Peaches

PEARS

Slightly more tolerant of damp conditions than other fruit trees. Plant in full sun in fertile soil rich in organic matter. If drainage is poor, improve soil by adding compost and gypsum.

Pears

PLUMS

Grow in full sun, in fertile free draining soil rich in organic matter. Choose your varieties carefully as many varieties need specific pollinators to fruit. Some self fertile varieties are available.

Plums

OTHER

Other delicious deciduous fruit trees that are definitely worth planting include apricots, quinces, figs, and persimmons. 

Decidouos Fruit Trees

FRUIT TREE TIPS

PLANNING

Plan before you plant. If you get everything right now you’ll save yourself lots of time in the future. And in around 4 years you’ll hopefully be enjoying the fruits of your labour, rather than struggling to deal with trees planted in the wrong spot.

SITING AND PREPERATION

Correct siting is key. Growing fruit trees is relatively straight-forward provided that they have enough space to grow, are planted in nice fertile free-draining soil, and get at least 6 hours of full sun a day. 

But if you’re worried about your soil, as long as you put some care into the preparation you can plant into a wide array of soil types, including sandy, volcanic or clay. For more see the planting section.   

SPACING

Fruit trees planted too closely together often struggle as they are more likely to compete for water and nutrients, and are more likely to get disease. So for happy healthy trees, make sure you give them space to flourish.

  • Dwarf Peaches & Nectarines   1.5 metres
  • Dwarf Varieties of Apples   1.5 metres
  • Apples on Dwarf (M9) Rootstock   2.5 metres
  • Apples on MM106 Rootstock   3+ metres
  • Peaches, Plums, Nectarines   3.5+ metres

Short of space? Growing dwarf trees or espalliering trees is a great way to save space. For more info ask an expert in-store. 

POLLINATION

Before planting check to see if your tree is self fertile, if not you may need to plant a pollinator.

Peaches and nectarines are all self fertile (except some dwarfing varieties). Some plums (Damsons, Santa Rosa, and Billington) and some apples (Royal Gala) are self fertile, but if you’re not sure, check our pollination guide online or ask in-store to help you pick out the right combination of trees.
 
Pollination can also be improved by encouraging the insects that pollinate fruit trees (such as bees) to come into your garden. To attract bees and other pollinators plant a wide array of flowers, including: lavender, rosemary, thyme, echinacea, bergamot, and alyssum.
 
Or for more ideas, ask in-store.

PLANTING

Dig a hole twice as deep and twice as wide as the pot that your tree came in. In heavier soils, digging a slightly deeper hole is recommended. 

Backfill your hole and mix in compost, sheep pellets, and either Kings 24+ or Nature’s Organic Fertiliser. In heavier soils add gypsum and break up the sides of your hole as you backfill, as water will often sit in the hole if you leave smooth sides.
 
Plant the top of the root ball at the same level as the ground, or in heavier soils into a slight mound to improve drainage.
 

TRAINING AND PRUNING

Getting the shape right early makes things much easier in the long run.

Open Vase Choose 3 outward facing branches equally spaced around the tree to train into the main trunks. Having the centre open will allow lots of light and air in. Best shape for plums, peaches, and apricots.
 
Central Leader Single trunk with branches arranged around it. As the tree develops branches that come out near to horizontal will start to bear more fruit. Best shape for apples, pears, and quinces.
 
Espalliers Trees trained along wires. Great if you’re short of space.
 

WHEN TO PRUNE?

Prune on a dry sunny day. Prune after planting to establish the shape. Subsequent pruning should generally be done in summer after fruiting, though in most cases pruning when plants are dormant in winter should be fine. 

For more advice on pruning ask in-store or click here

AFTER CARE

Prevent pests and disease by spraying existing trees with Yates Liquid Copper and Aquaticus Glow. Spray thoroughly, covering the whole tree until the mix begins to drip off the branches.

Mulch tree regularly to supress weeds and reduce watering needs.

FEEDING

Keep your trees well fed using Kings Slow Release Fruit and Citrus Food. Or for a natural option, top dress every few months with a handful of sheep pellets and feed with Kings Ocean Grow.