Is the best place to buy fruit trees online??
Best place to buy fruit trees online? Its a hard one to answer.. If you are equipped with some basic knowledge then you can get some real bargains but like most purchases let the buyer beware. If you consider a fruit tree to be a natural/organic occurrence then you need to recognise that what you get might not be the what you expect, in our bare root guide we talk about how this process is achieved and its advantages and disadvantages. Also have a look at this for some sound guidance.
Key Planning Points to consider before purchasing.
1. Rootstock – The rootstock determines the overall size of the tree. (Nearly) All fruit trees are in fact at least 2 trees joined (grafted) together, through experimentation (initially by the Romans) it has been found that when stuck together the growth characteristic of the rooting element is passed to the top bit.
Popular Stocks are
MM106 for Apple – Vigorous but not overly, in the right soil you get a tree about 400cm tall. Used a lot for trained trees its a bit of standard stock and reasonably reliable.
M9 for Apple – If you live in a area with fruit production you may have noticed rows and rows of new trees going in, M9 is stock of choice for farmers, generally you get a tree about 300cm
QA for pears – Quince A (quince works as pears are very closely related) – bit like the MM106 in apples its used as a 400cm tree in many settings including training for Fans and Espaliers. Sounds odd but trees on this type of stock look like ‘trees’ but don’t dominate and are easily cropped. A old fashioned stock would produce a huge tree needing ladders to pick.
Colt for Cherry – Like QA and MM106 400cm, great for training.
G5 for Cherry – Gisella 5 is very dwarfing
SJA for Plums, gages, damsons and mirabelles – Again like QA, MM106, Colt its that 400cm trainable reliable stock.
2. Soil and climatic conditions – Sounds obvious but it is equally important what happens underground and overground in the life of a fruit tree. Soil is a foundation… watering, feeding and supporting the tree.
A dwarfing tree will have matching roots, smaller with less vigour.. a larger scale tree will have larger thrusting roots. A good example is putting a dwarfing tree like a G5 Cherry in very heavy clay soil.. (the type of soil you get in London for example) the tree will sulk and sulk and sulk, just pulling enough nutrient from roots it has squeezed through the soil to live, we would suggest a Colt stock for this soil type. Thrusting roots with a bit of umph! If you dont have space for a tree with a 400cm canopy get a trained tree to run along a fence! Climatic conditions have a effect on how a tree grows, strong wind, cold or excessive rain can stunt a tree.
3. Pollination – Certain fruit varieties, take apple, have self fertile varieties.. Cox self fertile, Red Windsor.. this means they can produce fruit in isolation of other apple trees. Insects pollinate fruit trees, insects have territories, if you don’t have another apple tree close within the territory then your tree wont pollinate.. you wont get any apples. A pear will not pollinate a apple.. for a non self fertile fruit tree to produce fruit it must have another similar species of fruit within a insects territory blossoming at the same time and of course active insects. Different varieties blossom at different times, blossoming times are placed in to groups
4. What Kind of fruit do you want/need – Think about what you and your family like, do you want to try to make cider? Do you want to cook with the fruit? Its all about how the fruit fits in to your needs? Do your really need 20 Victoria bushes? There are thousands of varieties, consider reviving a local classic variety or some thing from your childhood. I grew up eating Egremont Russet, I now have one in my allotment and its just as I remember. We would encourage you to go beyond the supermarket favourites, not bad fruit within themselves but they are popular for one reason.. they are easy for the supermarket to handle.
5. Home chemical Treatments for pests and Diseases are nearly gone – Thankfully for the benefit of wildlife a lot of sprays and potions are gone, the future of varieties will be disease resistance and us excepting that physical perfection does not mean the best flavour. Be careful of what you purchase or talk to us, we deal with a lot disease issues and inside knowledge goes a long way in making the right choice.
A final top tip – Be very careful of buying fruit trees from shopping channels or the back of the Sunday supplements that claim a extremely dwarfing rootstock. The number of people we have visited with huge trees clumped close together is considerable through the pruning season. Also do not trust the variety offered is what you get.