can’t promise “an apple a day”
but those apples you do grow will have good
flavour and, with the right choice of varieties,
will keep you in fruit until early next year.
There is something very rewarding when you pick
and eat an apple straight from a tree in your
centres have stocked up with the new season
trees. Most will be container grown but some
will be containerised; this is where bare root
plants are potted into compost and sold before
their roots have made new growth.
well as variety choose carefully the rootstock.
Vigorous trees will be grafted onto M2 or MM111
stocks and are only suitable for planting in
large gardens. M9 and M26 stocks will result
in small trees suited to the smaller garden
or for trained trees grown against a wall.
planting, dig a large hole and add lots of farmyard
manure and compost to the soil as it is being
placed round the roots. Plant at the same depth
as before with the graft union above soil level.
Most free standing apple trees will benefit
from support for a few seasons. To avoid damaging
the roots the stake must be driven into the
soil before the tree is planted.
apples succeed best on a sheltered, sunny, south
or west facing wall. Cordon, fan, espalier or
pyramid shaped trees require more pruning but
will produce excellent crops of well ripened
fruit. Side shoots are shortened to 4-5 leaves
during summer and further reduced to 2 buds
in winter. Over a few years this builds up mature,
fruiting spurs and prevents the plant growing
too far out from the wall.
flavour, the best culinary apple variety is
Bramley’s Seedling with large, juicy fruit
that will store until March. Unfortunately to
ensure a crop, it requires two other varieties
to act as pollinators. Its early flowers are
prone to frost damage. Bountiful has good flavour
and is sweeter than Bramley. It forms a small
tree and is well suited to smaller gardens requiring
one other variety for pollination.
purchasing dessert varieties check that they
are compatible for cross – pollination.
Most stores, nurseries and garden centres carry
a wide range of varieties and final choice may
be decided by skin colour, flavour or recommendation.
space permits I would certainly plant ‘
Discovery’ (red), ‘ Irish Peach’
(orange-red), ‘Katy’ (yellow-red)
and ‘Lord Lambourne ‘(green-flushed
red). ‘Gala’ I love to eat but it
is prone to disease and the fruit is small unless
it is thinned.
years to come you could have your own apples
for Halloween and even Christmas.
Cherrie picked a beautiful autumn morning
to visit Mike Snowden in the orchards of Ardress
where they specialise in the older irish varieties
such as the Greasey Pippon, the Bloody Butcher.
(which as blush pink flesh), and Four Square.
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