Planting & Pruning
Choice of Variety: It is essential to consider cross pollination when choosing varieties. Select suitable varieties from our wide range by referring to pollination tables.
Where to plant: Choose a warm, sheltered position. Avoid badly drained sites and low lying areas where spring frosts are likely to damage blossom. Morello cherries and cooking plums are the only trees that will thrive on north facing walls.
Soil preparation: Dig the area to be planted and make sure soil is clear of perennial weeds. Add lime to acidic soil, add peat or compost to light sandy soil. On heavy clay mix in some sand and plant on a raised bed to help drainage. In all cases, spread and dig in a general fertiliser and a handful of bone meal at each planting position.
When to plant: Bare root trees can be planted any time during their dormant season – November to March. Unless the ground is very wet or frozen it is advisable to plant them as soon as you buy them. If you cannot plant straight away, stand them in a cool place such as the shed and keep roots moist until planting.
Planting: Dig a hole 1ft deep and 2ft across, loosen soil at bottom of the hole. Drive a stake in the hole and place tree close to the stake. Replace enough soil to cover the roots. Shake the tree up and down to get soil around the roots. Check that the union will be at least 3 inches above eventual soil level. Gently firm soil around the roots, replace remaining soil, firm and level off. Tie the tree to the top of the stake.
General Care Guide
Mulching: To help the soil stay moist, mulch the surface around the tree in spring: straw; peat; compost; forest bark or black polythene are suitable materials. A 2ft circle around the tree should be kept free of weeds or growth will be affected.
De-blossoming: To get a good start, trees must not fruit in the first summer after planting. This is prevented by cutting off the blossoms at the end of blossom time in mid May.
Pests and disease control: We suggest spraying at least 3 times a year, using a fungicide to control scab and mildew. Include an insecticide to control aphid and caterpillars if these are present. DO NOT spray with an insecticide during flowering as this will kill the bees. Some varieties are particularly susceptible to mildew, fungicide sprays may be required in early June and July as well as the 3 spraying times mentioned below:
1. Green Cluster – just before flowering late April
2. Petal Fall – just after flowering mid May
3. Fruitlet Stage – late June
Soft Fruit Planting & Pruning Guide
Blackcurrants: Plant 5ft (1.5m) apart, with 5ft or more between rows. Plant firmly and deeply so that strong young growth will come from the base. After planting bare root plants always cut back all the shoots to about 1 inch (2.5cm). Pruning in subsequent years means removing about one third of the old wood to encourage young basal shoots.
Redcurrants, Whitecurrants and Goosberries: Plant 5ft (1.5m) apart with 6ft (1.8m) between rows. These plants are normally grown with a short stem or leg and any suckers should be removed from the root system before planting. The bushes should not be planted too deeply. After planting shorten the leading shoots by about half their length, to an appropriate bud. Subsequently fruiting is encouraged by spur pruning the young lateral shoots to about an inch in the case of red and whitecurrants, and 3 inches for gooseberries. Leaders are shortened by one third of their length each winter.
Summer Fruiting Raspberries: Plant the canes about 18 inches (45cm) apart with 6ft (1.8m) between rows. Avoid planting canes too deeply, a covering of 3 inches over the roots is ample. Cut the canes down to 4 inches (10cm) above the soil, immediately after planting. When new shoots appear in spring the 4 inch stub should be cut away. The young canes are tied in to a wire fence system for cropping the following season. Subsequently all canes which have fruited are cut out at ground level immediately after fruiting.
Autumn Fruiting Raspberries: Plant in the same manner. Autumn raspberries fruit on one year wood so all canes are cut out at ground level each year.
Blackberries, Loganberries and Tayberries: Plant 6-10ft (1.8-3m) apart with 6ft (1.8m) between rows. These plants should not be set too deeply and after planting they should be cut back to 3 inches. The young shoots arising from the base of the plant are tied in as they grow and the old stub can be removed. Subsequently canes are cut out immediately after fruiting.