Planting Guide

Planting Guide

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.


Dig a hole twice the width and depth of the root system, making sure to 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 using a soft flexible tree tie.


All trees need pruning after planting, see pruning guide.


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.


To get a good start, we recommend that trees must not fruit in the first summer after planting. This can be prevented by removing blossoms at the end of blossom time but a better way would be to remove the small fruits that as they set.

Pest & 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:

Green Cluster – just before flowering late April
Petal Fall – just after flowering mid May
Fruitlet Stage – late June


Unless a tree is self fertile it will require a pollination partner in order to fruit. All tree fruits are divided into flowering groups, ie varieties that flower at the same time fall into the same group. A variety from group 2 will cross with any other variety from group 2 and also any variety from adjacent groups 1 and 3. This is the same for all the flowering groups. Some trees are triploids, which means that they are no use as a pollinator and require 2 compatible varieties that pollinate each other. Pollination can seem like a complicated subject but it is not as much of a worry as people think, most people are likely to have good pollination in their garden due to the close proximity of other gardens.