How to grow fruit in the UK | pruning fruit trees | apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricot, peach, nectarine, sweet chestnut, walnut, crab apple, cob nut, medlar, black mulberry, quince and many more
How to grow fruit in the UK
This website provides extensive information on how to grow fruit in the UK, including pruning fruit trees, thinning, fruit tree pest control, planting fruit trees, training fruit trees as espalier, fan, cordon or stepover, and much more.
You will find knowledge regarding the principal factors to consider for a garden orchard. Here they are in summary:
- Find a suitable site for growing fruit trees. It should be free from spring frost and hail, and should be reasonably sheltered. Read more about the ideal site for growing fruit trees.
- Check that the soil is suitable for growing fruit trees. It should be moisture retentive, rich in organic matter, and well drained. Read more about the soil for growing fruit trees.
- Protect the trees from deer, rabbits, mice, badgers and other animals. A tree guard is a simple and very effective way of protecting a fruit tree. Watch a video tutorial on how to plant a fruit tree.
- Have access to water in drought periods. Regular watering is essential for newly-planted trees in spring and summer, and for all trees when rain is scarce. Read more about weather effects on fruit trees.
- Control pests and diseases when necessary. Many problems can be solved without chemicals, by optimizing the action of natural predators. It is well worth visiting your trees regularly so that you can see the onset of any problems early on. Click here for our interactive tree care index.
- Have a means of storing fruit once picked. Read our tips on when to harvest, how to store fruit, ethylene filters, and how to ripen pears.
Trees in trouble
Sometimes, you may run into fruit tree problems. Perhaps you want to know how to prune an apple tree. Or a tree may have stopped growing, its leaves may have discoloured or curled up, or perhaps it simply doesn’t produce much fruit. Just contact Dan Neuteboom by email (email@example.com) or by using this web form, describing the fruit tree problem. Specify your location (fruit trees are site specific, and site visits are possible depending on your location), and include some photos if possible.
Principal tasks in a garden fruit orchard
Problem trees: if you notice a significant change in bark colour of one or more trees with respect to normal and other trees of the same variety, there there may be a drainage problem in the soil. Mark those trees and dig an inspection hole to check ground water level.
If you have ordered new fruit trees, dig a trench now, so that you can heel in the trees once the trees have arrived if you have no time to plant the trees properly. In any case, trees should be planted by the end of February or by the very latest in early March. Protect the trees from damage caused by hares, rabbits, deer, mice etc.
The infection risk of peach leaf curl disease is now high due to the development of the fruit buds on peach, nectarine, apricot, and almond. Cover your trees up now so the buds stay dry. Fix a polythene cover to keep the rain off. Keeping the shoots free from moisture helps prevent the infection by spores of this disease.
Dan Neuteboom on fruit trees
“It has been my pleasure to live and work with trees all my life. Each tree has to fight its own battle in order to survive and make the best of each situation that may occur, be it drought or flooding, severe winter frost, or an attack of insects, and the various diseases. I have had the good fortune to be able to observe the various ways trees cope with these situations. On this website, I provide advice on pruning fruit trees with videos on aspects including winter pruning, summer pruning, and the basic principles on how to prune fruit trees.”
The videos published on this website illustrate the critical stages of fruit development, from the period from blossom to fruit formation, in a chronological sequence throughout the year. Click here to see the videos currently available.
Fruit trees and climate change
What contribution can we all make to combat climate change?
Every day we are hearing that planting trees is one of the factors that can help combat climate change. In the UK the latest government manifesto includes a commitment to planting 15 million trees over the next 5 years.
But we can all make positive contributions that help slow down climate change. Apart from limiting use of fossil fuels, we can plant trees in our own garden if we have one. Planting a fruit tree is beneficial in many ways, with the extra benefits of being able to enjoy home-grown fruit free from artificial chemicals and wasteful plastic packaging.