The Tree Planting Season

treesAcross the country we are seeing the effects of autumn; many of our established trees are shedding their foliage and readying themselves for winter hibernation.

The tree planting season has arrived and now, more than ever, is the time for gardeners to start planting Britain’s future trees.

With Ash Dieback spreading across the country and wiping out 100,000 Ash trees (so far) it’s time to re-populate these once abundant areas in order to preserve our great British landscape. Whether it is re-growing healthy Ashes (once the disease is contained and dying out) or another variety that represents our heritage, it is our countryside that has made Great Britain and we need to do our utmost to protect it. What’s best of all is that we can begin in our own back gardens.
In recent years we have all been urged to ensure that we are eating our five-a-day. An alternative to the traditional Ash could be found in planting an orchard. British apples are packed full of flavour and enables us to be self sufficient.

However, for many gardeners growing an orchard is merely a pipedream, after all our gardens are progressively getting smaller with every new build. Nevertheless, there are varieties that are suited to the confinements of a container or placed in a border. For instance, low-trained espaliers and cordon-trained fruits can make for an attractive feature in a small space.

When looking for a fruit tree there are a couple of pointers you need to bear in mind. Not only do you need to be choosey over the plant itself, but you need to take into account the care. Here are a few tips that will help you find and care for your young trees:

  • If you would like to grow apples in containers, recommended varieties include ‘Discovery,’ ‘Pixie’ and ‘Sunset’
  • For good crops it’s best to choose varieties that cross-pollinate
  • Before buying make sure the tree is suitable for container production
  • When buying a pot, many trees prosper in 50cm terracotta containers
  • Good potting compost is essential
  • While growing ensure you feed the trees well and that they are always well watered
  • Re-pot your trees every winter

Although the answer to Ash Dieback does not lie with re-populating areas with alternative trees, it is important that throughout this season we do what we can to preserve our landscapes. Growing alternative trees is just one way that we can protect our countryside from deteriorating, but as Stephen Ashworth wrote in the Guardian, to successfully fight against this disease, “Scientists, geneticists, botanists but also practical foresters, stewards of our countryside and towns – even nurserymen – must work in harmony.”

Mr McGregor

Mr McGregor’s writing can also be found on the Notcutts blog, where you can find useful tips and advice for the garden.

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