Fruit Trees and Vines FAQ

Fruit Trees and Vines FAQ

Fruit Trees 

When should I plant fruit trees?
Fruit trees supplied as potted plants can be planted at any time, those supplied as bare rooted plants should be planted in the ground during the plant’s dormant season (late autumn to early winter). No planting should be attempted during frosty periods as the frosts will kill the roots, and if the ground is frozen the roots cannot establish themselves in the soil. The trees can be stored in moist soil until conditions improve. If you already have your plants in pots, use frost fleece jackets to protect plants in containers.

Where should I plant fruit trees?
Fruit will grow best in a sheltered site with full sunlight. Their location should be carefully considered as they can develop into large trees if allowed to, so space is a big consideration. If you only have a small space, dwarf patio varieties can be grown in pots. Alternatively through pruning and training, the plant can be trained against a wall into an espalier.

Can you grow fruit trees in pots?
If you want to grow fruit trees in pots make sure you choose a dwarf variety. For apples, cox’s pippin and James Greave are ideal, and conference and invincible pears are perfect for growing in pots. Citrus trees are also ideally suited to growing in pots, as they can be easily moved depending on the weather conditions.

What varieties of fruit tree are available?
There are numerous different varieties of fruit tree that are suitable for growing in a garden – these range from cooking varieties to sweet dessert varieties. You should choose a variety which suits your taste or cooking requirements. Our favourite is cox’s orange pippin (apple) although this is susceptible to disease. ‘Discovery’ AGM has very good flavour and is disease resistance, and for something a little more unusual try apricot ‘aprigold’ for a patio container.

Are there dwarf varieties of fruit trees?
Dwarf varieties of apple and pear are readily available at most garden centres or nurseries. Citrus trees and olive trees are not dwarf, but due to their slow growth habit they will tolerate being grown in a pot, on a patio with few problems. The plants will need very little water, and they will tolerate a certain amount of dryness but not for long periods. Citrus trees need to be moved inside over winter, while olive trees are hardy down to around -10C.

When should I harvest fruit from trees?
This will depend on the variety. As a general rule, most fruit trees will flower in the spring and develop fruit through the summer ready to be picked in autumn.

How do I harvest from fruit trees?
When fruit is ready to be harvested it will come away from the plant with ease. To harvest you should cup the fruit in your hand taking care not to bruise the fruit and gently tug. If it’s ripe, the fruit will come away easily from the tree. Many fruit will be out of reach, which should be picked with a fruit tree picker.

How do I store fruit?
Apples store particularly well provided they are kept in the correct environment. They will need to be cleaned with a cloth before stored in a cool and frost free place with good ventilation – don’t store any fruit that has been bruised. Apples stored correctly will keep for up to 6 months, and we store our harvests in an Apple Storage tray.

Citrus fruits will store for a couple of weeks if they are kept in a fridge, but stone fruits will not keep for more than a few days – we make the most of these fruits by making preserves and Jams. Fruit will need to be stored in a well-ventilated tray to prolong the lifespan.

 

Vines

When should I plant vines?
Vines should be planted during their dormant season which is November through to March, although no planting should be done when the ground is frozen.

Where should I plant vines?
Vines are hardy in the UK, although to produce edible fruit they will need long hours of heat and sunlight during the summer. To get useable fruit you should consider growing the vines in either a greenhouse or conservatory.

What varieties of vine are available?
If you can guarantee warm conditions ‘new york muscat’ grapes provide good flavours and are disease resistance, and as a bonus they provide attractive foliage. In cooler areas ‘pinot noir’ is a good choice as this will need cooler climates to fully develop its flavour – this would be perfect for growing in the UK.

When should I harvest vines?
The specific time will depend on the variety. Grapes are ready when the fruit is slightly soft to the touch, the easiest way to check if they are ripe is to taste them – they should be at their sweetest when they are ripe.

How do I harvest vines?
Vine fruit should be cut from the stem in bunches that are still attached to the stalk. Use a sharp pair of secateurs.

How do I store fruit?
Grapes can be stored in a cool location for up to one week. If storage for longer periods is required, they can be used to create preserves such as jam or fermented to create wine.