Growing fruit trees and bushes isn’t anywhere near as difficult as a lot of people think it is. With the right knowledge growing fruits in your garden is relatively easy. In our How to Grow Fruit section, we provide you with all the information that you need.
There are specialised words or phrases (terminology) that are used in relation to seeds, plants and trees. Specialised terminology is in blue and clicking on it will open a popup explanation.
How to Grow Fruit Guide to Choosing Your New Plant
The first step is choosing the plants. It is recommended that you always buy certified stock
where applicable. This avoids virus problems and guarantee that they are true to type
My son recently bought a lovely ‘pear tree’ from a large DIY chains’ garden section to find, later in the year, that it grows amazing apples.
Fruit trees & bushes are usually supplied in one of three ways; each have their ‘pro’s and con’s’
- These plants are grown in open ground which means they tend to be bigger and stronger than potgrown stock
- For the same reason they are less likely to suffer from the family of diseases generally known as “root root”
- Because there is no need for pots, compost and pot specific watering systems they are much cheaper to produce and buy
- There are no heavy rootballs or pots with compost to pack and transport. This makes carriage either vastly cheaper or quite simply, possible.
- For the eco conscious, bareroot plants are generally carbon positive (good for the climate) which potted and rootballed stock are not.
- These plants are lifted from the ground, so they may suffer some root loss. In the long run this is good as root pruning creates a denser rootball, but in the short term it means they take a little longer to start growing after planting than potted plants. Root-loss is less in smaller plants than larger trees.
- Because of this root loss, barerooted plants are more prone to die of thirst if they are not watered when it is dry in the spring and early summer after planting.
- As near-dormancy is necessary for bareroot planting, the season is restricted to the months of November – April (May in a late spring).
- Usually only available in autumn and winter as they have been dug up like ‘bare root’ and then potted into containers.
- More expensive than bare-root, but cheaper than container-grown
- Establish quickly, like bare-root plants
- Some plants are only available as ‘container grown’. Evergreens never go fully into dormancy so are rarely available as ‘bare root’ as they do not enjoy the experience. Others may not be available as ‘bare root’ because they have weak root systems.
- Container plants are always on show at a nursery so that you can choose your own.
- Large mature trees are available as ‘container grown’; the largest ‘bare root’ will usually be around 10-12cm girth (maximum 3-4m tall).
- Container grown plants are available all year round unlike ‘bare root’ which are only available in the dormant season, which varies dependent upon the species.
- They don’t need to be planted as urgently as bare-root plants
- More expensive than bare-root or containerised plants as they need more care and management, they are also heavier to move around.
- Unless you buy from a reputable, quality nursery, the plants may be pot-bound.
For Suppliers of Fruit Trees & Bushes see Seeds & Plants
Understanding Rootstocks (Mainly Fruit Trees)
Understanding ‘Rootstocks’ is central to understanding how to grow fruit, especially in getting the right size of tree to suit your space.
Some cultivars (varieties) of plants do not come true from seeds. The seed from a Bramley apple will produce an apple tree, but it will not produce a Bramley apple tree.
In other words, fruit trees cannot be reproduced “true” to the original cultivar from seed. Only by grafting the scion wood (a cutting of a branch) from the original tree onto another rootstock (the base of another tree with roots) can you ensure that you get the same fruit each time.
Rootstock; is the lower part of the trunk and roots and determines the eventual height of a tree and how vigourously it grows. Specialists then combine then combine the particular variety of fruit which produces the leaves, flowers and fruit onto the rootstock. This means you are able to choose from many fruit varieties, growing at different heights suited for your outdoor space.
How to Grow Fruit - Guide to Rootstock Sizes
Some of the main rootstocks to look out for are:
- M27 – Extra dwarfing- great for containers and small spaces including balconies
- M9 – Very dwarfing – great for small gardens
- M26 – Dwarfing – good for an average-sized garden
- MM106 – Semi-dwarfing – despite its name, better for large gardens where you have lots of space