How many fruit trees?

Hi, I have asked this question in another post but, as of yet, have had no replies. I have a raised bed measuring 240cm x 80cm x 40 cm deep and wish to train dwarf stock fruit trees in there. My questions are, how many trees do you think I would be able to put into the space ( I think I read somewhere that some trees as cordons can be planted 2 foot apart)? Can you suggest any trees to go in, I'm thinking along the lines of a dessert apple, a pear, plum or damson trees? Are there any combinations that should be excluded? And, would I be able to grow any other lower growing plants toward the base of the trees? Many thanks for any info' you can give.


  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    What is at the base of your raised bed - does it give access to soil?

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    This is not answer to your question, but just a few points...

    I don't normally think of growing fruit trees in a raised bed. The idea about a raised bed is that it helps you to keep the soil open and well cultivated and provides good drainage. You don't normally cultivate the soil beneath a tree. Growing a tree on a raised bed might provide slightly better drainage, if you are on very poorly drained soil, but hopefully the roots will go deeper than that.

    Presumably the trees will be fairly close together, in accordance with the suppliers instructions, and recommended planting distance. How close will depend on how vigourous the root stock is, and how big the trees are expected to grow. Much of the soil beneath them will be in shade, and you might not be able to cultivate it well for fear of damaging the roots of the trees. So what you can grow there, and well it grows, may be limited.

    But I'm sure that some people do grow produce beneath trees, and they will be able to give you a better answer and some specific suggestions.

    As regards what kind of fruit, then the answer really is - what do you like. You mention damsons, but I don't like them. You need to grow something that you will look forward to eating. Some people with a sweet tooth particularly like plums, or certain varieties of apple. I like cox, much more than other varieites, but it's a matter of personal taste.

    You may need to be aware that many varieties of apple (and possibly other fruits) may require pollinators - other trees that will flower at the same time. The instructions about what you need are usually on tree labels, or in catalogues, or on the web.

  • Hi. Thanks for the replies. The reason they will be grown in raised beds is because underneath the beds it is mainly made up of hardcore. I was planning on training the trees in cordons, and understand that some trees available are able to be put into pots on the patio, so I thought a bed of this size would be ample. As for growing something at the base, I can't envisage there being too much shade cast by the cordons as the wall they will be grown on would be south facing, and the plants at the base would be in front of them. Ref pollinators, would I be ok in planting self fertile fruiting trees there?

    Cheers for your help.
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    Yes, you're right. You'd need a reasonable depth of soil. You say you've got 40cm. That would be more than a pot-grown plant would have.

    And the trees won't cast much shade directly below, so you could grow something along the front.

  • Hi, had a look around at various companies and found this....

    Do you think this would be a better idea instead of training them?

    Also, anybody tried duo fruit trees, and what's the verdict? Cheers.
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    For a cordon you need something to train the tree against, either a wall or wires. That tree is free standing. So it's a lot simpler.

    I'd be surprised if you get anything like as much fruit as is shown in the illustration. It would be very interesting to know if anyone else has such trees, and how well they do crop.

    Three trees - an apple, pear, and plum is certainly an interesting novelty package. For £50 you could buy a lot of fruit from a supermarket.

  • I'd be interested also Gary. As fan or cordon trained trees can range in price between 20-55 pound, plus the need to get 2 plants for pollination, I think ??50 for, in effect, 6 types of fruit doesn't seem too bad. Also, whist thinking about how much space I have available to train the fruit, ie 2.4m, I think I'd only be able to put 2 trees in maximum, so therefore one type of fruit.

    The trellis was only there as a separator for different parts of the garden, so I was only thinking of training something up there to make the most out of the limited space I have. Reading into the subject, it would seem better to get these type of plants to maximise fruit yield for the space.

    What are your thoughts on this? Thanks for the advice so far, as much advice is needed for a complete novice like me image
  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    If you only have a limited amout of space, are fruit trees the best way of using that space. These trees do seem like a novelty, but that doesn't mean they are not interesting to grow, for the fun of it.

    Some people might say that with a raised bed of that size you could grow 'vegetables to harvest all the year round'. That would involve a lot more work, but possibly be more interesting, and more useful. That would still be a 'fun thing', but of a different kind. You seemed to want to grow something beneath the trees. One option would be to forget the trees, and devote the bed wholly to vegetables.

    There are other factors too, beyond our control. This year has been a poor year for fruit generally, and some people with large trees have ended up with virtually nothing.

    I'm sure that many other people do grow fruit in a limited space. What are their views?

  • Hi Gary, the reason for putting in fruit trees is to add a bit of variety. I have devoted ten sq metres to veg beds and wanted a space to get some fruit bearing plants. I can see where you are coming from with regards to using the space for the best cropping yields, and it probably would be more productive to plant more veg, but with 2 kids we get through a lot of fruit in the house, plus I thought it would be fun for them. If you go to my original post here.

    Then you will see what I mean with regards to limited space.

    Hi christopher2, I noticed you mentioned Deacons in another post, and I visited the site. They appear very good value and have a good variety. How hard is it to train trees if I have no pruning experience? Would you suggest to stick to my original idea of putting in self fertile trees to train, or for going for the duo trees I mentioned in my previous post.

    Thanks for all the help, much needed.
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