There’s nothing quite like the taste of home-grown apples. We’re not talking about trees which will be 20 feet high, but ones that will only grow to about eight feet in 10 years and look great on a wall or fence without the worry of roots damaging property.
These trees are well-bred and very well-behaved. If you decide to have a go, there are so many varieties to choose from.
If you buy Sunset or Idared, both early and juicy, you may also have space for the popular Cox’s Orange Pippin, which tastes at its best at Christmas.
Then there are the excellent cookers Newton Wonder and the good old favourite Bramley Seedling. They can be grown three feet apart at the base of a wall or fence and on a single trunk grown as cordons.
If you are new to gardening, you will have to take my word that this is probably the best way to grow them in a small garden.
I wonder if you’ve seen the way in which apples and pears are grown in horizontal tiers on fences or walls?
These are known as espaliers or fans and they really do look attractive.
To cover as many contingencies as possible and to encourage more fruit tree planting, these shapely trees can be grown on a trellis or fence which can be used to divide a garden.
It’s also an alternative to a hedge. Imagine getting fruit you can eat from a hedge, rather than having something which has to be cut all summer and there’s nothing at the end of it.
The fruit tree main stem is tied into a cane in several places to ensure the tree is kept in place.
Training commences during the first summer when all the side shoots which grow from the main stem are reduced in length by about half during the middle of July.
This causes buds to form on the part which isn’t cut off.
In winter, each of the side shoots is pruned again back to only three buds so that the main stem looks as if there are short sticks left intact.
The tip is now cut off by about a third. In spring, the new side shoots will appear and year after year this procedure is repeated.
The results are plenty of flowers in spring with lovely fruit if the weather is warm enough for the flowers to be pollinated by the bees.
There are so many advantages to this idea. Imagine when it comes to spraying, no ladders to climb.
When it comes to picking, no falling off the steps. And as for birds and wasps attacking the fruit, well the fruit trees can be covered with fine netting to stop the attacks before they even start.
If you’re considering pollination, remember that if there are fruit trees in your neighbourhood, the bees will perform their work so that you will be assured of a good crop.