HARD FRUIT (detail)

Hard Fruit

(Apples -PLums-Pears Cherries) etc)

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Greensleeves  A fully Mature "Greensleves" Dual purpose Apple

 This apple variety is "By far"my most favoured COOKING variety. This apple will hold its shape when cooked and has a sound apple texture and flavour, making it ideal for Flans and apple pies. More importantly when fully ripened to the lemon yellow colour, it requires NO added sugar, if you prefer a quite sharp eating apple give it a try.

 Most of the advice given  here may relate to mature (over 5 year old trees)

Fred's Apple choice

In my opinion these are all really nice apple varieties worthy of your consideration all  are readilly available from reputable growers, but may rarely be found on supermarket shelves.

 

"James Grieve" a very nice crisp juicy flavourful apple

 "Egremomt Russet" a nice eating apple with distinct Russet texture with a rich flavour.

 “El Star" Probably my favourite eating apple, can be bi annual, that is it may do well one year and perhaps less well another year but still worth appearing on "my favourites"

 "Kids Orange Red"  a really nice crisp eating apple with good wholesome apple texture and flavour flavour.

 "Ashmeads  Kernel"  good eater and cooks well- also cider option

 "Pitcarnis Pineapple" -very small fruit between golf ball and tennis ball size but delicious faintly pineapple flavour.  A spendid apple,If you can harvest enough fruit’s , and have the facilities available to you , this variety in my opinion makes the best ever apple juice!!

 "Royal Norfolk Russet"a very nice eating apple with that distinct Russet texture

 "Ribston Pippin" similar "to Cox’s Pippin" but just a shade crisper

 "Clay gate  Permain" a nice firm very tasty eating apple similar to above 

 


Fred's preferred supplier "mailordertrees"

This suplier provvides consistently high quality disease free trees 3-4 year old  potted up tree and they tend to fruit within the first year after delivery- at least a year ahead of most other suppliers I have tried (this factor may be reflected in the slightly higher price) I think it's worth every penny! They will also offer  trees on a wide variety of specified rootstocks. Specifically the M26 rootstock with a 3 metre height lmitation as preferred, in fact specified, by GY&GAA as maximum permitted growth height.


JUNE DROP

During the last week of May and much of June- apples ,pears ,plums and some cherries will discard up to 30% of their imature fruit crop . This is commonly referred to as the June drop. These fruit trees (when mature and fruit bearing) instinctively sense they cannot possibly carry all their pollinated fruit to maturity and so randomly discard it. This ptocedure ensures MOST of the remaining fruits may grow to a moderate size. 

Thininng your Fruit

To enhance your crop AFTER THE JUNE DROP it is reccommmmended that during  JULY,  YOU THIN OUT much of the remaining fruit.

It is  therefore reccomended that eating apples are reduced to no more than 2 fruits per truss, obviously you would choose the larger stronger looking fruit, snip off very carefully all other applets!

 

 

this does sound quite dramatic but failure to do this will result in many fruits in too close proximity becoming diseased and losing everything.

You do ned to do this very carefully with small scissors/clippers

Less fruit- will  allow them to grow larger and stronger and hopefully remain disease free. Your actual remaining mature  "yeild" of mature fruit  will probably be much higher than if you do nothing! Cooking apples should be reduced to ONE fruit per truss - eating applescan be reduced to TWO fruits per truss, all of the above reasons apply.

A similar pruning policy may be applied to  plums PARTICLARLY but with pears exclude the thinning , pears do not normally over produce beyond the already discussed JUNE DROP


Viral infections which may affect Apple trees

This is merely a few detrimental viral infections I have found some ways to deal with- I make no guarantees of success or eradidication merely some control.

 

Blossom Wilt on Apple trees

Where spring blossom and  any new growth dries out and dies. this is quite rare but may just happen once in a trees lifetime, if there is evidnce of a regular affliction. CONSIDER the tree's renoval as it may well spread this virus. OR the tree may recover the folowing season and lead a normal productive lifecycle.

Carefully remove any affected foliage-blossom etc and BURN IT

DO NOT PUT IT ON THE COMPOST BIN

Wash your hands -clear up any fallen material and take any precautions necessary to avoid carrying any spores into next year 

There are apparently no known chemical cures for this disorder!!

(if you have any better info olease email me  onezip@hotmail.co.uk)


Wooly Aphid

An aphid that is almost invisible to the eye which colonizes on apple trees like cotton wool- and will spread uncontrollably without some treatment to the detriment of fruit production and health of the fruit tree.

 

  

wooly aphid fungus Again! There is no apparently obvious commercial preventative of this fungus

I may however have found a treatment that removes the immediate issue WITHOUT harming the surrounding growth or the fruit production. Much advice is to just wash it off -this would only serve to compound the problem-the gunk needs to be permanently removed, otherwise it will simply reinfect from where it lands. 

 My method of using “Methylated  Spirit  “ Using a piece of Kitchen roll,  liberally coated with "meths", carefully remove/wipe off the offending “gunk” from the area and dispose of it by burning or other permanent means. PLEASE do not put it on the compost bin.

This  solution is NOT A CURE, but merely an effective  means to clean and remove this offensively sticky gunk thereby allowing the tree to survive without any obvious detrimental effect to future growth or fruit production. This procedure may have to be repeated wherever the infestation may recur. It does however SEEM to inhibit future issues over time.


Peronally I have invested in a BROWN BIN SUBSCRIPTION around £47 a year to disposeof all my allotmnent/garden waste OFF SITE which I prefer not to add to my compost heap . This deals permanently with material like sword/couch grass-bindweed-groundsell  as well as blight infested potato potato tops and many other nasties that make hard work of an otherwise pleasant pastime. This also reduces/ saves on burning waste and the environmental issues incurred by this action


 November is the time to consider fitting GREASE BANDS  to Fruit Trees.

ONLY do this if you have identified an issue sthis past season.

IF you have been having issues with some pests (the female "Codling Moth" is flightless)and  other  bugs and beasties earwigs , slaters, and other NON FLYING insects crawling up the trunk and overwinwintering in bark creviceses where they lay their eggs and the larvae may infest the fruit in spring


Codling Moth


The female Codling Moth is itself flightless, once mated by the Male (the sole target of the Pherimone Trap) she will lay her eggs in the very earliest Spring blossom. These Codling Moth traps need to be in place the instant

(preferably a few days prior)  fruit buds begin to open. 

These moths leave no evidence of their devastating visit until you bite or cut into an infected fruit 😝Urghhh yuk!!!!

 

 

 

 


PEARS

Getting Pears to ripen naturally in a uk climate however is quite difficult,  our British summer is  still aound 3-4 weks too short..  Some "early , varieties ,notably "Williams" may be ready to harest mid to late August .

"Comice "  "Concord" and Conference, our most common varieties, may struggle. This makes it neccesary to pick most pears as they are ready and then, ripen them more fully in a more convenient aand conducive environment, ie a kitchen window cill or shed (just make sure they are rodent proof )

To test if a pear is ready to harvest during Mid to Late September try raising the fruit very gently  above its customary vertical hanging position to just above vertical , if the stem sanaps readily (no effort is necessary) then it is redy to harvest. Most pears will then reqire aother 7-14 days to ripen off fully. To then test if a pear is ready to eat however,  gently press the neck of the pear if it indents readily you will then have a few days to consume rhe pear . More than a few days may lead to a CORE ROT. this condition shows no outward sign of anything untoward until it is cut in half or you take a bite?

                                                                                    The above shows how a pear can look perfectly sound on the outside-yet inedible on the inside

 

 

Some Plum varirties  (where the fruit can hang like a bunch of grapes introcing fermentation and mildew) these need to be carefully thinned

Some other plum varieties may be left without thinning- but only if the fruits  are well spaced out

I can only repeat. This all appears a very harsh action  but following this advice will provide better, larger tastier fruit in the longer term.

 


Pruning 

Unless you're fruit  tree  is growing in a manner you disagree with there is no immediate benefit from pruning a tree that's less than three years old. By all means trim any branch that is intruding in your space.
Young fruit trees may fruit in the second year, at this stage only allow 1 fruit  per truss to mature

More mature trees will benefit immensely from a good winter prune in February/March . When pruning avoid rough careless cuts. Use good quality sharp tools to avoid disease getting into the open wound. I highly recommend keeping a jar of "methylated spirit" to hand clean your tools diligently after every cut to avoid spreading any disease and certainly before moving from tree to tree . Leave any wound (on the tree??) to callous over naturally - I choose to wipe ANY cut surface with a rag/peice of kitchen roll well lubricated with Methylated spirits" this seems to help prevent infection and doesn't harm the tree.


Pruning 

Cut  out any dead or diseased branches try to create an open habit in the centre of the tree to encourage air and sunlight to circulate.  Remove any crossing branches , these may rub in the wind and the resulting wound  may lead to disease

To encourage fruiting spurs- trim new growth back to two to three leaves (or nodes) 

All the above may be applied to most fruit trees

             Fruit Tree rootstocks 

Rootstocks

Apple Tree Rootstock Examples

Rootstock M27 (Miniature Tree) - A miniature 'bush' type tree which is ideal for 18" patio pots or the smaller garden or as an intensive orchard. Trees mature to around 6' in height and can yield up to 30ibs when established. Plant 6-8' apart. Yields early in life.

Rootstock M9 (Dwarf Tree) - A bush type rootstock, growing to around 8' in height. Heavy crops - up to 25% more than M27. Great for the intensive orchard. Plant 8' apart. Yields early in life.

Rootstock M26 AS SPECIFIED BY GY&GAA (Semi Vigorous Tree) Semi dwarfing bush type tree. The standard choice for orchard planting these days. Growth an average  (3 Metres) 10-12' high and wide - plant 12' approx. apart

Rootstock M106 (Vigorous Tree) A bush rootstock for a half standard tree. Grows 14' plus high and wide. Good for larger areas, heavy cropping.

Rootstocks M111 and M25 (Very Vigorous Tree) For large grassy areas, paddock, traditional orchard etc

 This is a  SIMPLE guide to the most common apple tree rootstocks. When buying apple trees from  an established reputable stockist you do not need to worry about choosing the right rootstock you should be able to specify which rootstock you want for your location and purpose  - each trees is grown on the most suitable one for its intended final shape and size. 

Apple Fruit Trees do come with a range of rootstocks so a more vigorous rootstock makes your fruit tree grow bigger (and more diffiult to harvest your fruit) . The mature sizes shown are approximate maximums: the variety of apple, the soil type, the amount of sun and the way the tree is pruned will have an effect on how big the tree can potentially grow to.

 

APPLE ATTRIBUTES

It is widely accepted there may be in excess of 8000 different varieties of APPLE TREES including those of wild Crab Apples in their many cultivars from which all apple trees originally derived across Europe and Asia.

 

Apples have a huge nutrient spectrum, polyphenols (anti-oxidants) abound to say nothing of the pectins, fibre and vitamins A, B, C, E and K and potassium.

There are research claims that an apple a day MAY be as effective as “Statins” in reducing Cholesterol levels. Hence the VERY old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor/dentist away” !

 

 


Apple Pollination

 

To ensure a good crop of almost ANY garden produce good pollination by insects OR artificial inseminator is essential.

Mostly this comes as a natural seasonal process via MOSTLY flying insects commonly honey bees but it can be many other sources from beetles to birds.

As gardeners we may have many options to influence how to enhance the pollination process. We could build bird boxes and or insect hotels or take a course In beekeeping.

A little thought about our fruit tree planting may help resolve the issue with very little effort for years to come by selecting the appropriate fruit trees.

 An appropriate “Crab Apple” such as “Golden Hornet” and or “John Downie” are very popular these both look good as ornamental varieties and produce fruit suitable for “Crab apple Jelly” BUT more importantly in this context, when in proximity to other fruit trees of many varieties, they significantly improve pollination making for bigger and better crops.

You only need one  "Crab Apple" tree in the 20 metre vicinity of your target trees to succeed. It may also do your neighbors fruit trees a favour too.