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Spacing of fruit trees

JudyNJudyN Posts: 119

My son has just bought a flat and his small garden (about 80m3) is very overgrown. The previous owner was in his 90s, once a very keen gardener but obviously hadn't done much recently. It's quite exciting making inroads to it - I'm half expecting to meet Dr Livingstone at any moment!

Anyhoo... one bed contains two apple trees, and an apricot, plum and pear tree. I think there's a fig tree close by too! The trunks of these trees are not much more than 3' apart from each other so, of course, the branches are all crossing. The plum and apricot tree are already producing delicious fruit, though the two or three gooseberry bushes in the bed don't help with picking it!

The man who lived there before must have been extremely regular... there are at least two more apple trees and a pear tree elsewhere in the garden, and white, red & blackcurrant bushes!

My question is, is it possible to keep all these fruit trees growing healthily and productively when they're so close? Presumably their size would have to be restricted. Or would it make more sense to sacrifice/rehome one or more? It seems a shame to have to lose any, particularly as my son has gone from having no interest in gardening and wanting to pave most of it over to getting excited at all that free food!

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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626

    THE PREVIOUS GARDENER PERHAPS BOUGHT FRUIT TREES WHICH ARE GRAFTED ONTO DWARFING ROOTSTOCKS. THESE TAKE UP LESS SPACE. BUT EVEN TREES GRAFTED ONTO DWARFING ROOTSTOCKS NEED PRUNING.

    HOWEVER, THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO IS HARD PRUNE THE PLANTS IN ONE FELL SWOOP. THE MORE YOU CUT OFF, THE FASTER THE TREES WILL TRY TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE. SO, TRY TO APPROACH THE GOAL OF THE PRUNING REGIME AS A JOB THAT WILL TAKE SEVERAL YEARS TO ACHIEVE.

    BUY YOURSELVES A REALLY GOOD BOOK ABOUT FRUIT PRUNING, SUCH AS THE VERY CLEAR AND EASILY UNDERSTOOD "GROWING FRUIT" BY HARRY BAKER. I SAY THIS BECAUSE APPLES AND PEARS ARE PRUNED AT DIFFERENT TIMES FROM PLUMS AND APRICOTS AND IN DIFFERENT WAYS. FAR TOO COMPLICATED TO EXPLAIN HERE.

    ALSO, OF COURSE, THERE IS ONE WAY THAT YOU CAN CLEAR SPACE AND THAT IS TO REMOVE FRUIT THAT YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO EAT. IF YOU DON'T LIKE GOOSEBERRIES, FOR EXAMPLE, THERE ISN'T MUCH POINT IN GROWING THEM.

    I HAVE SIX GOOSEBERRY BUSHES, TWO PEAR TREES, SEVENTEEN APPLE TREES, TWO PLUMS, A DAMSON, A QUINCE, A MULBERRY, A PEACH AND TWO CHERRIES.

    I LIKE FRUIT.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • JudyNJudyN Posts: 119

    Thank you Pansyfaceimage So you think we'll be able to maintain them at this spacing? That would be brilliant. I'll have a look at that book, though my son prefers to read on the internet. I think he wants to compile a list of all the plants in the garden with a guide of what to do when, so I might make a start on that.

    I think the gooseberries will be coming home with me in the autumn as he likes his fruit to be really sweet. Not that he'll be averse to a jar or two of jam!

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626

    I HOPE THAT YOU FIND THE BOOK.

    READING ON THE INTERNET CAN BE A GOOD SOURCE OF INFORMATION BUT IT CAN ALSO BE LIKE CHINESE WHISPERS, ONE ERROR BEING ADDED TO ANOTHER,

    HARRY BAKER IS LIKE THE OLD BLOKE YOU MEET AT THE ALLOTMENT. FULL OF KNOWLEDGE BUT NOBODY YOUNG HAS THE PATIENCE TO LISTEN TO HIM.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • JudyNJudyN Posts: 119

    I found a second-hand copy on Amazon for £2.81 inc. postage so have ordered it - it seemed silly not to!

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 18,626

    THE BEST £2.81 YOU EVER SPENT.

    image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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