Questions & Answers

On this page we will answer a number of often asked questions. These will be added to over time.

Ordering Maiden Trees

When are trees & bushes available?

They are supplied over the winter bare rooted when dormant from late November onwards, the best time for planting.

If you supply trees over the winter when is the best time to order?

August onwards in the summer or autumn is best. We aim to arrange delivery or collection of earliest orders first from late November onwards, so ordering in the autumn ensures supply. We always supply a wide selection through the winter, but some popular varieties do sell out.

What size are the trees when I receive them?

They do vary. We supply mostly one year pre-grafted bare-rooted ‘maiden’ trees. Apples, Cherries & Pears depending on variety can be 90cm- 1.8m (3-6′) tall. Quinces are usually about 1.8m (6′). Plums & damsons depending on variety can be taller, up to 2.4m (8′). When delivering taller trees we have to reduce them a little to fit in 1.8m (6′) long cartons. They will benefit from being reduced further after planting.

What size will the trees be when they are fully grown?

The full height of a tree is mostly decided by what rootstock it is grafted onto. For most of the varieties we supply, there is a choice of different rootstocks so you can have a tree which will grow to an appropriate size for you. See “I’m asked to select a rootstock […]” below for details.

I'm asked to select a rootstock when I'm ordering a tree. Any advice?

With maiden trees, rootstock refers to the bottom part of the tree you buy from us. Rootstocks control how large the tree grows to when mature. A variety, like Pitmaston Pineapple, is often grafted onto different types of rootstock, and the resulting maiden trees we sell will be suitable for different sized gardens. See the advice page for what rootstock sizes we offer, and which would be best for the space you are planting in.

Not to be confused with the ungrafted rootstocks we supply (see below), which you would need to graft yourself.

How do I know if pollination will work with the trees I've selected?

Pollination is important for fruit trees, as without it most will not produce fruit. To cross-pollinate, trees need to have flowering periods that overlap. However, on some product pages we describe those trees as “self-fertile”, meaning that they can produce fruit from just their own pollen. Please see our advice page for how to check your trees have any pollination they need.

Do you grow older trees?

We usually have some unsold ‘maiden’ Apple & Pear trees. These are allowed to grow on for a summer to become two year trees. They will be detailed in the Rootstock drop down box for each variety if available. However, they are not much larger than the one year maiden trees.

Do you grow trees in containers?

Not many. Being organic we grow trees in soil for the most part. We do grow a few containerized pre-trained espalier trees, which are available most of the year but only for collection from the nursery. You can see them on our website here.

There is a lot of choice. Can I sample some fruits?

Yes, we put together a wide display of mostly apples, many for sampling, during September & October. It is difficult to include many pears beause of their storage requirements. Plums fruit earlier and will not keep. Look out for Apple days in your area. They will often have lots of varieties to sample.

Receiving Trees

Do I have to plant my trees soon as I receive them?

We advise planting within two or three days of receiving (or collecting). They will arrive in a cardboard carton with damp roots inside a polythene bag. Immediately place the carton out of the sun and wind. They will be alright like this up to 2/3 days, but try to plant ASAP.

To prepare mark and clear the site to be planted, have compost / soil improver / stake(s) on site if using. Do not dig holes in advance to save time, if it rains the hole may act as a sump and become very messy.

Do I have to be in to receive my trees?

No. If you can describe a safe place, we can ask the carrier to leave it there.

Growing

I would like to grow fruit trees along a wall or fence. What varieties are suitable for this?

Apples and Pears can be grown as cordons or espaliers. Plums and Cherries are usually grown as fans, which is a little more intricate. See our Successful Fruit Trees leaflet for the basics on training these different forms.

Most of the apples we supply are spur bearers and are ideal for this type of training. A couple are tip bearing or partial tip bearers (e.g. Worcester Pearmain and Tydeman’s Early Worcester), which will produce less fruit because of the pruning that has to be done in late summer. For apples, select rootstock MM106 or M26 for more sites with less space.

The Pear varieties are all suitable for restricted growing. Quince A rootstock is good for larger spaces, and Quince C rootstock is best for smaller spaces.

The Plum varieties are all best suited to fan training for restricted growing. St Julien A is the best rootstock size, but still needs some space.

Ungrafted Rootstocks

When do you supply rootstocks, and when can I order?

You can order rootstocks from us to graft yourself. We can only supply them from February onwards, as we have to wait for the rootstocks to be delivered to us during the winter. See the Rootstocks page for details.

We can take rootstock orders from early December onwards, in advance.

Not to be confused with the maiden trees we sell already grafted onto rootstocks. For advice, see under “Ordering Maiden Trees”.

Can you graft a bespoke tree for me onto a rootstock?

We offer a grafting service. If you wish to propagate fruit trees – perhaps an old tree is declining, you desire a variety that we do not grow, an existing tree is special and you would like another – we may well be able to help.

Grafting is done late February / early March. The cost for grafting is £10 per rootstock. You can arrange to pick up the grafted rootstocks from the nursery once we are done. If you can’t get to us, we can send them through the post at cost. Orders of six rootstocks or less we can generally fit into a postal tube with £12 carriage.

If you are interested please contact us by phone or e-mail to discuss, we can send or e-mail further details and place you on a list to be contacted near grafting time.