There’s nothing sweeter than freshly picked fruit, the Summer brings an abundance of crops for the Gardener to harvest. One of the most rewarding harvests is sun ripened apples from Orchard to table, a sweet reward for the hard-working fruit and vegetable grower.
If your view of Apple’s is large orchard trees and apples on branches that appear to reach for the clouds, then perhaps it time to change your perspective of apple production?
If we take a leaf from the commercial side of Apple production then you will notice that the trees are grown in neat rows and allowed to grow no more than 6 ft high. These apple tree varieties are grafted or budded onto a slow-growing, dwarfing rootstock that along with careful pruning limits the trees potential size.
Keeping apples within reach of-course makes picking easier but it also prevents the tree from producing un-necessary woody growth and masses of leaves. Instead the apples are encouraged to grow horizontal and their stems cut to 2-3 fruiting spurs for next years flower and therefore fruit development.
Translating this commercial method of training fruiting apple trees to our own garden or orchard, especially where space is limited can be tricky, but fortunately help is at hand.
Apple trees lend themselves to training their delicate young grafted stems to various shapes, namely Espalier tiers, Fan trained or Cordon fruit trees. So whilst many of us don’t have room for an orchard we can often create frame-work or clothe a sunny wall with professionally trained fruit trees.
Careful planning and the ability to look towards the future of your garden is a talent that develops over time, a skill that can only be mastered by experiencing the seasns first hand. Getting out in the garden to keep things orderly also peaks the keen gardener’s observation skills, as you feel the crisp air of Winter’s chill it’s time to start thinking about planting more fruit trees. Order your bare root fruit trees and trained cordon’s and espaliers before the rush, growers have limited stock and the popular varieties are often pre-sold before they are lifted from the growers nursery beds or fields.
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Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consultant
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“