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Apple and pear trees should be pruned every winter to ensure a good crop of fruit the following season. Trees that are not pruned become less productive. Pruning is not difficult and the aim is to create an open shape with a framework of about five main branches.
Pruning should be carried out when the tree is dormant, between leaf fall and bud burst (usually between November and early March). Always use a sharp pair of secateurs and a pruning saw .Start by removing crossing, rubbing, weak, dead, diseased, damaged and dying branches .Keep the centre of the tree open by removing larger branches with a sharp pruning saw. If several large branches need to be removed, spread the work over two or three winters as very hard pruning encourages even more vigorous growth.
Reduce the height and spread of any branches that have grown too large by cutting them back to a vigorous lower branch (making sure this lower branch is at least one-third of the diameter of the branch being removed)
Prune the previous year's growth on each main branch and the most vigorous laterals (sideshoots) to the first strong bud. Leave unpruned laterals less than 30cm (1ft) long
Cut back a proportion of older fruited wood to a young shoot or leaf bud to reduce congestion
When pruning your apple trees in the winter you may notice signs of apple canker on the stems. Apple canker is a disease caused by a fungus which attacks the bark of apples and some other trees, causing a sunken area of dead bark and, eventually, death of the branch. New cankers form from mid-spring, and once formed are present all year.
Canker is said to be more serious on wet, heavy and/or acid soils, so pay attention to drainage and raise the soil pH by liming if needed.
Completely cut out all affected smaller branches and spurs. With the larger branches, try to cut out all infected material. All such pruning should remove all brown, infected bark and wood, cutting back to fresh green tissues. Paint immediately with a protective wound paint such as Arbrex. Seal and Heal, to prevent the wounds becoming reinfected.
Spray with the copper-containing fungicides Bordeaux mixture or Bayer Fruit and Vegetable Disease Control, once after picking but before leaf fall and a second time when about half the leaves have fallen.
Feeding fruit trees promotes healthy growth, giving the plant all the nutrients it needs to produce the best possible crop. Mulching helps conserve moisture in summer and prevents weeds from growing.Most fruit trees need high amounts of potassium, which is essential for bud and fruit development. Some fruits, such as Plums, pears and apples, require additional nitrogen for growth.
The ideal time to plant fruit trees is in the autumn / early spring , but container grown plants can be purchased and planted at any time of the year provided the soil is not frozen, waterlogged or extremely dry
Apply mulch mid- to late spring and autumn. Newly planted fruit trees should be mulched annually for the first three or four years with bulky organic matter to conserve moisture and reduce competition from weeds and grass. However, mulches contain very few nutrients compared to fertilisers so are not an alternative but complimentary.
Fertilisers are concentrated sources of plant nutrients. They feed plants rather than feeding the soil. Fruit trees benefit from regular fertiliser. There are many types of fertiliser available, all with different nutrient values.
Sprinkle the fertiliser over the tree's rooting area (that is the area just beyond the branch canopy). Moderate the quantities given if the trees are growing vigorously
Three main elements are need for plant growth: nitrogen (N) to encourage good growth, phosphorus (P) for root growth and potassium (K) for fruit and flowers
Fruit Trees need a balanced general fertiliser in early spring. As a result, sprinkle around the root zone at the rate of 140g per sq m (4oz per sq yd)
It is worth noting that occasional soil testing is helpful in ensuring feeding regimes are effective. Testing every four years is a good idea.
Magnesium deficiency is a common problem. The main symptom is a yellowing between the leaf veins in early summer (more commonly seen in thin soils and regions with high rainfall). It can be rectified by spraying with magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) as a foliar spray at the rate of 226g to 11.5 litres (8oz to 2½ gallon) of water. Using a wetting agent (half a teaspoon of washing up liquid) improves the effectiveness of spraying. Magnesium sulphate could be applied direct to the soil if the problem regularly occurs. Apply at a rate of 65g per sq m (2oz per sq yd) in mid-spring. are particularly
Choosing a planting site.
Apples prefer a sheltered, frost-free position in full sun. You can still grow apples in frost prone areas, just choose later-flowering varieties or provide temporary protection in spring when apples are in blossom. Provide artificial or living windbreaks on exposed sites.
Apples tolerate shade providing they receive half a day's sunshine in the growing season.
Plant when dormant from late autumn until early spring for bare-root stock; containerised plants can be planted at any time of year, though the dormant period is preferred.
Apple Tree Pollination Advice.
Pollination is the process of pollen from a same species tree being added to the flowers of another tree to start the fruit growing process. This comes about by the generous nature of bees, moths, butterflies, flies and also the wind.
Fruit trees can sometimes fail to produce fruit.This is often caused by a pollination problem. We hope the following tips will be of help.
Some types are Self-Fertile: This means they will produce fruit without the need of pollen from another tree. You can plant this in the middle of nowhere and it will still produce fruit.
Partially Self-Fertile: Will produce some fruit without the pollen of another tree but more fruit is produced with a pollination partner e.g. another tree of the same species .
Apple Trees are divided into groups.The group a variety is in depends on when the plant flowers.A variety will produce fruit if pollinated with pollen from another tree in the same group or one group above or below it.eg Discovery is in group 3.It can be pollinated with another tree from either group2 3 or4.
Flowering Crabs eg Malus Evereste are excellent pollinators as they flower for a long period.
There are numerous varieties and the ones we supply are listed below in Red.The varieties in Black are ones we can source should you require that variety.
Beauty of Bath
Bramley's Seedling - Triploid
Cox's Orange Pippin
Jonagold - Triploid
Lane's Prince Albert