For the last few weeks I’ve been eating apples from the trees at my allotment. Even if I say so myself, the flavour is SO much better than supermarket-sold fruit, and there’s nothing like picking your own fruit off your own tree for freshness and flavour.
If you would like to grow apple trees in your own garden, then now is the time to plan, as trees should be planted ‘bare-root’ (ie dug out of the ground) in the dormant season (November to March). As well as making sure you don’t buy trees which will outgrow your space, it’s important to choose the right varieties of apple for pollination purposes. All apple trees need a pollination partner, which is another apple tree which flowers at the same time but is of a different variety.
If you want to grow fruit trees in areas where space is limited, you can also think about growing the trees against walls or fences (as ‘Espaliers’), or as low ‘Step-overs’.
On my allotment where we can’t grow full-size trees, I planted ‘Cordons’ which I grow as free-standing columns. A very neat solution, and still lots of fruit to be had.
As well as growing a variety of dessert apple trees, why not consider planting local heritage varieties and a few cooking apple varieties too?
I like to design orchard areas where the grass around the trees is allowed to grow longer and wildflowers can do their thing. Paths can simply be mown where needed.
Bear in mind also another reason to have your own apple orchard – and something which is often overlooked in all that talk about the fruit – apple blossom is one of the prettiest blossoms around. A real bonus for any garden.
Picture credits (blossom & apple): www.photoforsale.co.uk