Once your trees have arrived, remove from the packaging carefully. Plant immediately, if possible. If you are unable to plant immediately, leave in 9 cm pot; remove plastic packing and water as required.
The leaves will naturally fall off at this time of year so do not be alarmed if they arrive bare.
Plant so that the compost in the hole is level with the soil. Dig in peat, compost, manure or bone heal, then heel in after to make sure the tree is stable. Place a stake alongside the tree, avoiding the roots when placing, to give support to the tree. Always water in well.
Use a minimum 30cm size container with drainage holes in the bottom. Place an inch or so of crock such as washed gravel in the bottom to help with drainage. Use loam-based potting compost and mix with a litre of normal potting peat as an added extra if available? Plant so that the compost in the pot is level with the soil and firm in well. Place a stake alongside the tree avoiding the roots when placing to give support to the tree. Replant each winter as the tree grows using fresh compost to a maximum of around 50 to 55cm. Water in well and never let them dry out
Plant in a sheltered position with good sunlight. During the winter containers can be moved to a sheltered less sunny spot but should be moved back in early spring to full sunlight to aid pollination. In areas where winters are hard, relocate containers to a sheltered spot to avoid freezing solid leading to root death and eventual loss of the tree.
Plant so that the compost in the pot is level with the soil. Dig in peat, compost, manure or bone meal, then heel in after to make sure the tree is stable. Place a stake alongside the tree, avoiding the roots when placing, to give support to the tree. Always water in well.
Feed well in early spring (February) and consistently every three to four weeks using a standard feed. Alternatively, apply a top dressing of a six-month slow release Fertiliser such as osmocote so you not to have to feed so often.
Apple and pear trees do not need a lot of pruning.
Summer pruning is done around August time where the main aim is to maintain the columnar shape of the tree. Excessive side shoots and growth can lead to too much fruit for the tree to cope with which will lead to poor quality. It can also lead to shoots breaking if they are too long. Excessive growth can also limit the amount of light, which can inhibit the growth of fruit. Side shoots that grow from the main stem should be trimmed back to three leaves. Shoots that grow from existing side shoots should be cut back hard and removed.
Winter pruning is done to shape the plant and keep the correct height and also to remove some of last year’s growth to promote more growth for the following year. It is normally done in late winter. These columnar trees will grow to a height of around 2 metres if well maintained. Remove around third to half of last year’s growth of the main leading stem, just above where a bud is. Once the required height of the tree has been reached and you do not wish it to grow any higher it should be cut back every Winter to approx 1 cm above the point where growth from the main leader (top end of the tree) started its new growth each year.
Pests and Diseases
Early spotting of pest and diseases is good practice and trees should ideally be checked regularly The main pests and diseases are listed below:
Codling Moths: (Apples mainly)
Small white maggots/caterpillars that are part of the life cycle of the moth, enter the fruit and are hard to spot until too late. Eventually, you will see a hole appear on the outside of the fruit.
Spray using a tree extract based more friendly spray around the times the petals shatter or (Mid-Summer) to kill the maggots hatching from eggs of the moth that burrow into the fruit. Apply several times at three weekly intervals. Use moth traps in mid to late Spring to prevent caterpillars from hatching later in the year. They are also great for early spotting to judge when to spray.
Aphids Assorted: (Apples & Pears)
Aphids build up mainly on fresh growth such as the internodes of leaves and the tips of the shoots and cause distortion in new growth.
If numbers build up then apply a recommended general spray for aphids.
Sawfly: (Apples mainly)
Small flies that lay their eggs in the developing flowers causing early fruits to drop away.
Destroy all affected fruits if seen. Spray using a suitable chemical prior to petal fall.
Tiny midge that lays its eggs on the blossoms leading the resulting young fruits to turn black. The maggot will be in the centre of the fruit.
Destroy all affected fruits if seen. Spray ideally using a tree extract based more friendly spray around mid summer at three weekly intervals.
Distorted growths on the stems and wounds of the trees eventually leading to branches dying off.
Avoid damage when pruning. Remove and dispose of the affected material. Use a recommended control to paint over wounds.
A fungus that affects young growth and over-winters if affected material is not destroyed. Prefers damp wet and humid conditions.
Avoid damage when pruning. Remove and dispose of the affected material. Use recommended sprays to control as the buds start to open.
Apple Powdery Mildew:
A fungus that affects leaves and new growth. It is seen more in warmer and drier parts of the UK. Appears as a thin white mould and can cause distortion of new growth if not attended to immediately.
Prune trees well and if seen use a recommended spray.
Once picked, store in a cool sheltered place for 24 hours. Remove any bruised and damaged fruit as they will not store well and will affect the other apples. Then wrap individually in newspaper and place in trays in a cool dark frost free area. Do not store near other vegetables especially potatoes.