Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Monthly Archives: May 2017

The effects of weather on fruit trees, April-May 2017

This year, April and May have been very problematic weather-wise for anyone who is interested in home-grown fruit. On several nights, temperatures dropped to well below freezing. This has affected all the different types of fruit, inflicting moderate to severe frost damage to open blossom. Crop prospects are definitely a lot better on those trees which were covered with a double layer of garden fleece. Because of the tendency to flower earlier in the season, pears, peaches, nectarines and plums are all very badly affected. Apples, which flower later, usually still set some sort of a crop. This year I am afraid that even apples will have been thinned out a lot, particularly in frost pockets. We will know by the end of May for sure about the initial set. By early July we will finally know what’s left; this after the June drop has further reduced the number of fruits. Who said growing fruit is easy?

What to do next? Watch this space.

Evidence of frost damage on leaves

A question on espalier training

Here is a photo of the pear tree I bought and planted in February. It seems to be growing well! And, following advice on your web site, I plan to install the first espalier wire in the next couple of weeks.

young espalier pear

I see the two side branches growing at about 45 degrees to the main stem, with new growth on them going vertically upwards. Instruction on the website says tie them at 60 degrees to the horizontal. My question is, how high above the fork where the side branches come out, should I install the espalier wire? I assume I should do nothing about the tying new growth until August – is that right? At which point I will bend them to go along the wire.

Dan Neuteboom replies:
You have done a first class job of planting your tree. Just do nothing now and let the tree do its growing. By the middle of August adjust the angle of the 2 main side branches to approx. 60 degrees to the vertical centre leader. By August therefore place the horizontal wire at such a height to achieve this. Do not cut back or prune any of the branches.

Read more about espalier training.