The Best Fruit Trees For An Allotment

Fruit trees are an essential part of a productive allotment. They are easy to plant and require little maintenance. Grow several different types and you will soon be eating lots of delicious fruit for much of the year. If you’re working towards being self-sufficient and growing your own food then planting fruit trees can really help.

Fruit trees on an allotment usually need to be fairly small so they don’t shade out other plants. We grow lots of exciting varieties that are either grafted onto a dwarf rootstock or are naturally compact so won’t get very big. There are also some trained forms that remain small with a little pruning once or twice a year.

Apple trees for an allotment

We recommend growing apple trees on the dwarf rootstock M27. We grow most of the popular varieties on this rootstock. These trees will only get to about 2 metres tall and generally require very little pruning. It is best to stake them to keep them firmly upright and if the crop is too heavy we’d advise thinning out the fruit to help prevent any branches breaking. Plant the trees about 2 metres apart and mulch around the base to reduce competition from weeds. If preferred, these trees can be kept in containers but make sure to water well in summer and add Natural Tree Feed. Apple varieties that we recommend for an allotment are Christmas Pippin, Bramley’s Seedling, Eden, Herefordshire Russet, Red Windsor, Rosette and Scrumptious. There are many more!

Pear trees for an allotment

The best dwarf rootstock for pear trees is Quince Eline. Similar to the dwarf rootstock M27 for apples, pear trees grown on Quince Eline will only grow to about 2 or 3 metres tall and can be pruned to keep compact. Plant in the ground about 2 metres apart or keep in a large container. The most productive varieties are Conference, Concorde, Doyenne du Comice, Williams’ Bon Chretien and Onward.

Cherry trees for an allotment

To grow cherry trees on your allotment we advise choosing the rootstock Gisela 5. This will control the size of the tree so that it doesn’t get taller than about 3 metres. In good conditions it may get larger but can be pruned in late summer after fruiting. These trees can be kept in a container but will do much better if planted in the ground. The cherry varieties we recommend would be Celeste, Stella and Sweetheart. For cooking, Morello is always reliable.

Plum trees for an allotment

Plum trees make a great addition to an allotment. From July through to September you can pick and eat the fruit fresh from the tree. Plums are excellent preserved in jams and puddings too. To ensure they don’t get too big always choose trees grown on VVA-1 rootstock and plant about 3 metres apart. Plums do not like being kept in containers so always plant in the ground. Suggested varieties are Haganta, Opal and Victoria. It is worth also considering Damsons, Gages and Mirabelles on VVA-1 rootstock.

Trained fruit trees for an allotment

Two forms of trained fruit trees are ideal for an allotment: cordon and step-over. Both of these forms suit Apples and Pears but not other types which are tip-bearing, such as Cherries or Plums. Cordons and step-overs required annual pruning to encourage the development of spurs for flower and fruit production.

A cordon is a column that is usually grown at a 45 degree angle to ensure the full length gets plenty of sunlight. It requires a light prune in July and again in winter to maintain the shape and productivity.

A step-over is a T-shaped tree that has one tier of branches that run horizontally. This form is ideal for borders or along the edges of beds and paths. They are also best pruned in July and winter so that the vertical growth is cut back to two or three buds.

For more information on trained fruit trees and pruning advice click here.

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