I grow Worcester pearmains and Cox’s orange pippins, as well as Bramley apples to cook with.
If you want to grow pears, choose a conference pear because it self-pollinates. Likewise, self-fertile cherries are the best option. I grow Cherry Stella.
How do I plant a fruit tree?
First, remove any grass or weeds growing on the soil around where you want to plant the tree. I mark my space out with a plastic hula hoop, and remove any grass growing inside the ring.
Dig a hole that is double the size of the tree’s root ball. Then dig over the base of the hole to loosen up the soil. This makes it easier for the tree to grow new roots fast.
Stand the tree in the hole, making sure that the surface of the soil on its root ball is at the same level as the surrounding soil. A tree that is buried too deep will suffer poor growth.
Backfill the hole with the soil you dug out. If your soil is quite poor, it helps to mix in some compost before you put it back in the hole. Use your heel to firm it all down.
Stake the tree to stop it being damaged or uprooted by strong winds. Drive a wooden stake into the ground just outside the root ball, tipped backwards at a 45 degree angle towards the trunk. This will ensure the stake doesn’t damage the roots.
Tie the tree to the stake using a special tree tie, which is like a belt buckle, or an old pair of tights. These are soft so they won’t cut into the tree as it grows.
Finally, water in the tree really well. You can also add a weed-block material across the ring of bare soil around the tree, or put down a mulch of bark chippings. This stops water and nutrients being stolen by grass and weeds.
Now you’re ready to enjoy the year-round benefits of a mini-orchard – blossom in spring, leafy canopies in summer and rich, sweet fruit in autumn.
For more garden planting ideas, check out my blog:
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.