Best dwarf pear or apple?

The plot is on heavy but free draining soil, with little else to disturb it.

Some first east sun and then west sun too.

Only space for 1 tree and ideally grafted onto a short trunk, as garden is small!

Especially looking for a good cooking and eating apple, or just a very good eating pear.

Favourites are Cox's Orange Pippin and Conference Pear.

Keeping times not important as house too small to store fruit.

Are the blossoms especailly pretty or certain types of tree?

Are certain varieties really disease resistant? Worth going for an RHS merit tree?

Has anyone had particularly good or bad experiences with online tree nurseries, selling this sort of stock?

Thank you for all your advice - I am a total fruit tree novice image





  • Ryan LloydRyan Lloyd Posts: 391

    Hi Jess,

    I'm also wanting to buy a small apple tree and I'm considering Cox's Orange Pippin. They sell it on crocus, it half price at £17.49 and is a fan type, so it's very small. Also, you can use the gardeners world 20% off crocus offer for the purchase too.

    Your soil should be fine, it says it's free draining:

    thats the link image

  • Thanks Ryan - sounds great, especially the price, but I just had a really bad experience with Crocus on £200 worth of plants which arrived mainly squashed/dead or with nothing in the pots!

    Not sure I want to give them another try...


  • Ryan LloydRyan Lloyd Posts: 391

    Oh god, don't tell me that, I've spent £200 with them in the last 5 days! Did they give you a refund though?

  • steephillsteephill Posts: 510

    What is in your neighbours gardens? I ask because you will need at least one other different compatible apple or pear variety to pollinate your own for best results. Few are reliably self-fertile.  More info here As they say on the Beeb "other supplier are available".

    Crab apple trees will pollinate most apples and as they are chosen more for their blossom rather than fruit they are very common.

    If there are no suitable trees around you one solution would be to try one of those "family tree" trees.

    Pear trees usually take longer to fruit so you would need to be patient.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,612

    Cox's are notoriously temperamental - I'd rather grow a James Grieve - delicious multi-purpose apple .

    We don't have much space and I'm growing a Concorde pear as an espalier - it is 'self-fertile but will be helped by next door's Conference .  Concorde is a cross between a Conference and a Comice.

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • @Ryan - yes, a full one! I was so p*ssed off with the quality I saw in just 2 out of the 6 boxes that arrived, that I couldn't be bothered to unpack the rest, but just called them and got them to take the whole lot back. So much of the order was poor, but I was lured by the Gardeners' World Discount and also, it must be said, their lovely site. Best to order individual plants from specialist growers I think, if I can't find what I want in a garden centre. I guess I was a victim of my own impatience and wanted everything NOW!

    @steephill - I had never even considered that - thank you! And now you mention it, I do already have a crab apple about 2m away from where the new tree would go, so that sounds perfect. I hadn't realised that self-fertile wasn't as reliable as they make it sound, nor that pears take longer to establish. Would I get apples this year from a 1.5m dwarf apple, or would it be next year now?

    @Dove & Brum- why are they temperamental? What results are you getting from your Concorde so far Dove?

    Can anyone recommend a good online nursery at all?


    Thank you image

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,473

    Patience is very much a virtue when it comes to growing fruit trees, Jess!image

    That is particularly true for bare-root trees and even if they do crop in the first year after planting, you should remove the fruit as soon as it forms as it is vital that the roots get established first.  However, if you are really impatient and want fruit this year, you could buy a 3 or 4 year old tree which has been grown all of it's life in a pot (if you can afford it - they come at a premium!)

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,612

    I just wrote a long reply about Cox's and lost it by hitting the wrong key - blame my lurgy - but they need quite a bit of tlc, don't like damp and windy conditions, are prone to disease and in my experience the apples tend to vary a lot in size.  There are lots of nice apples out there, they're just not as well known.

    My little Concorde espalier was only planted last autumn and only has two little branches and a leader, so it'll be a while before I get any fruit.   Concorde is a lovely pear, with the flavour of it's parent Conference, and the sweet buttery texture of a Comice.  I'm so looking forward to picking my own.

    I bought it (and fruit bushes etc) from here an online supplier local to us here.  The website is good and they are very helpful, answering queries and offering advice by email and phone.  I have no hesitation in recommending them.

    I have no connection with them other than as a customer.

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    I think I would go for an apple variety that I don't see very often, one that isn't available in supermarkets, like 'Red Falstaff' which is self fertile or 'Red Sleeves'.   Choosing the correct rootstock for your purposes is very important.  M9 is a dwarf roofstock that needs permanent staking but allows a 6-8 foot tree... and fruits at a young age... buy 2 year old bush type, container grown...

    M27 is even dwarfer and M26 is bigger....

    as others have said, if it's not self fertile then you will need two varieties that flower at the same time... spraying will also be necessary, probably, for either a pear or an apple as both can get infested with maggots from sawflies and ruin your whole crop...

    spray in early June...

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,374
    Would an apple tree and a pear tree fertilize each other, the reason I ask this is because when I lived in Kent, we had one apple and one conference pear in the garden, left over from the orchard, and we had stacks of fruit each year.

    Ps. Morrison's had some lovely pot grown ones for a tenner this morning. I was tempted
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
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