Latest update Saturday 13th March


Now is the time to consider grafting fruit trees

Collecting 'Scions'

Take the cuttings from LAST YEARS growth of the chosen fruit tree you wish to cultivate

around pencil diameter and length of a standard pencil  is most appropriate ,these scions may be stored in a fridge with some damp kitchen roll round the cut base for up to a month with no harm

OR you can buy Specified Scions from the National Apple/Fruit Collection at Brogdale

e mail them and ask about providing scions'

Essential Kit or Grafting




 You will need a good sharp knife-a carrier bag (most are biodegradable nowadays) a grafting compound 'MEDO as in the pics a "Ready to use" pruning and grafting compound is seasiest to use. A cheap disposable 1/2 inch paintbrush- a bottle 250 Mls of Methylated Spirit (vital) some Kitchen Roll 

A good specialist sharp grafting knife( Opiel or similar) is a seriously good investment £20 is not an  unusual amount to spend on this and should provide a lifetime of use.

A bio-degradable carrier bag substitutes as the most economical wrapping tape, cut this into 1/2 inch strips of 12-15 inch length-DO  keep these in a box as they  will blow everywhere.

Cleanliness CRITICAL IT IS essential in the grafting process, so be sure fill a small jar at least the length of your knife with the Methylated Spirit and immerse your blade in this after every series of cuts AND ALWAYS!!!  before moving tree to tree. The jar of Meths can be stored in a sealed jar for  OR just returned to its original bottle, future use

 -the kitchen Roll is to wipe the knife and maybe clean your fingers-The Medoc pruning and grafting medium can be applied (after you have tied the graft in place) with the 1/2 inch brush it is a messy process ( be sure NOT to let it dry on your skin as it’s a sod to get it off.)

The brush is best binned after use !


The process of grafting

First select a host Apple tree a tree of about 5 years old you choose to graft onto. Most apple trees will accept a properly prepared graft. PLASE NOTE some varieties may be more successful than others. Eating apples DO NOT graft well to cooking apples and vice versa. Most MAY graft onto "Quince " OR Crab Apple stock? 

ANYONE CAN obtain your Scions (from a reputable source ie Brogdale) or reliable  alternative online provider.

or maybe a friend whose apples you have tasted and liked and are a known variety (or not) remember you are trying to acheive a flavour of fruit YOU .

Using good sharp secateurs  (remember these  ALSO need to be cleaned before and after every cut .

Remove a length from last years growth (about a pencil thickness and length "cut square at the trunk end and angled at the growth end "PLEASE DONT THINK YOUL REMEMBER "  (place these in a plastic bag with a label of variety- in a sealed bag they will be ok for a week or so in the fridge if necessary. You will nnd to make fresh cuts immediadiately before grafting.

When you are ready last few weeks of March 1st  few weeks of April is probably about right

On your selected Host tree and selected stem (must be of simlilar diameter to the collected scions) Make a clean cut cut/slice at an angle about 1and ½ inches long and similarly on the scion. Marry the two together VERY carefully bind the two tightly together-tie a secure knot (this is tricky bit in freezing cold weather)- paint on the Medoc medium to cover the binding -JOB DONE! 

These will take several months to fully take (if at all) just leave it well alone till next year!
complete sas any grafts as you can BUT initially its possibly it is best to use only  one variety each season and LABEL IT !!!!!!   Unless of course you are confident  in remembering what you have done in a years time !!!!!

Don't be despondent if some fail it take. It can take years to perfect this skill !!

dont forget to clean your knife before proceeding to the next graft



Pollination of fruit trees are an essential process of successful fruit production, particularly if you have several fruit trees.To aid this essential process I strongly advise your very FIRST purchase may be a TOP QUALITY NAMED  VARIETY "CRAB APPLE" from a reputable grower.

This single crab apple tree should cross pollinate with most apple trees, eliminating any concerns around pollination of various matching groups

It is a good idea to source some cheap fruit  tree stocks on sale over the next weeks in various stores around the town ie; QD- Wilkinsons & Supermarkets just beware these are sometimes wrongly labelled- but when right are a good source of future scions for grafting and at less than a tenner each may make god practice material

Particular varieties to look for are 

El Star a superb eating Apple (in my opinion the best)

Greensleeves a superb dual purpose apple (eating or particularly cooking) 

Pitcarnis Pineapple ( a very small apple {golf ball to Tennis ball size but superb flavour and Juice to die for} 

James Grieve another nice crisp eating apple



Some Reccommended Starter Apple Trees- bearing in mind you may have
a five year growing program before any significant crop may appear. This very much
depends on how much you are prepared to pay for your tree. A one or two year
old tree from a local supermarket may seem cheap, but many things may be
dubious- is it from a disease resistant
stock- is it on a size defined rootstock.

 Allotment rules dictate Fruit trees
should not exceed 3 Metres-and most important is it labelled correctly. I have
fallen foul of all
of these issues in the past, resulting in trees having to be cut down and
disposed after 5-6 years. All that expectation LOST ! for a few £££’s

Fruit tree size (Height and
Spread)  is governed by the Rootstock
your chosen variety is grafted on to. Try to get trees on a M26 Root Stock limited to 3M height

Below I have suggested a few varieties  I like and you may too

‘El Star’ superb crisp juicy eating apple

‘Kidds Orange Red’ Similar to above

‘Ribston Pippin’

‘Golden Noble’ May be difficult to find but (i think) worth
the effort-a true ‘Norfolk’ bred variety

‘Chivers Delight’ another Norfolk Apple of excellent flavour

Greensleeves Dual Purpose with a good cooked Flavour I haven’t
tried it as an eater- but mainly cooked ripens to a 

lemon yellow in September. This one will Store if unblemished
till Christmas

Of course there are many others. I can only repeat earlier
advice attend one of the many Apple Festivals and taste from some of the
hundreds of varieties available. Do make a note of these then search for those
varieties on the web. My preferred supplier is Mail Order Trees in their fruit
section. Buying from them you get a more mature tree in a pot which will likely
bear fruit the following year. To date None of their trees have ever shown any
sign of any disease!!




Now is the time to be planting Onions- Garlic

Pruning  -Mulching spent fruit bushes /Fruit Trees

Spreading compost onto next seasons planting beds -when they become vacant

Emptying Greenhouses of spent tomato plants and just have a good old tidy up etc 

This may also be a good time to order in your farmyard Manure

it is currently available (Nov-16) at £40 a load

Ivan Vincent 07774628122

or Peter Martin 077806228244


Check out your seed packets, bin anything more than three years out of date




Ideally to promote ripening of fruit, Imagine if you will -being able to place a large bowl in the top of your fruit tree with the widest rim upwards- that may give an idea of what your aiming to acheieve

too many branches may prevent sunlight reaching the fruit and delays ripening on the branch it may also lead to production of smaller fruits.

On younger trees trim more lightly and prune again in SPRING to promote the production of fruit buds   (more about this in February/March)

Pruning in Autumn Promotes 'New Growth' 

Pruning in Spring promotes production of Fruit 'Spurs' 

is the general rule

If you NEED to move any fruit trees it should be done in December January- trees up to 6 foot high should survive the disturbance provided they are lifted and immediately replanted within an hour or so!