Saturday 26 February 2011

Pear vs quince

A bit of light pruning on the pear trees today, just to remove some overcrowded branches. I’ve discovered that I have two long quince tree shoots growing from the rootstock below the graft on the Doyenne de Comice. I can't remember exactly what variety the rootstock is, Quince A I think, but it clearly wants to branch out.

Very tempted to leave them growing and have a dual species tree, half pear and half quince, but every expert I consult says the rogue shoots should be removed. Apparently they will grow more strongly that the scion and weaken the tree overall. One did suggest burying a section of one of the quince shoots in the ground to try to propagate it so that I end up with standalone quince tree as well, but since I do already have a perfectly healthy Meechin’s Prolific quince which is living up to its name I have decided against that. So I have now removed the quince shoots and will keep an eye on the base of the tree for any more.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

A Victorian cherry

So my son and I finally planted our cherry tree last weekend. It arrived from Victoriana Garden Nursery back in December when the snow was on the ground and has been waiting patiently, potted up, ever since. Now at last the brambles have been hauled out, many of them tangled up with convolvulus roots snapping off everywhere. Lots of shallow-rooted nettles too to be pulled back and lifted. We’ll find out in a month or two just how well I've managed to clear the ground when the new season’s shoots start showing.

We dug a nice big square hole for the cherry and tried not to cosset it too much with compost. Son hammered in a sturdy stake for it  which is tied to the tree with a pair of old tights – good and strong, but soft so that the tie doesn’t cut into the bark of the tree. We chose the variety Stella for the tree – a reliable cropper rather than anything unusual or exotic, and it’s grafted on to Gisela 5 rootstock, so the tree won’t grow much above 9ft. Small enough for me to be able to cover with a net when the fruit come. I have my fingers crossed for blossom this spring and a small crop - even a handful of cherries would do - this summer.