Cultivation

Video Guides

Click the links below to view our other
cultivation video guides

Site Selection

Orchard Site Selection

Fruit Tree Rootstock Selection

Buying A Fruit Tree

How To Plant A Maiden Fruit Tree

How To Plant A Maiden Fruit Tree 2

How To Plant a 2 year old tree

Grafting Fruit Trees (April)

Reworking Fruit Trees 1 (April)

Reworking Fruit Trees 2 (April)

Reworking Fruit Trees 3 (April)

Thinning of Fruit

Welsh Apple Varieties

Growing Graft Fruit Tree Wood

Grafting Fruit Trees by T-Budding

Grafting Fruit Trees by Chip Budding

Summer Pruning

Apple Diseases

When planting and tending your tree please bear in mind the following:

Bardsey Island From The Mainland

Bardsey Island doesn't have a typical North Wales climate; it is out to sea with its own unique weather. It is much sunnier and drier than the mainland. When siting your tree, I think it would be wise to bear this in mind. Encourage plenty of air movement around and through the tree. A warm airy site will help reduce the likelihood of scab forming on the fruit and canker from causing dieback of the wood.

Both these fungi need humidity to flourish. As yet nobody knows whether the mother tree is disease resistant or whether it is disease free because of the island's unique climate.

2010 Update: Disease resistance is excellent.

Just because the salty air hasn't killed the mother tree, it doesn't mean that it is actually salt tolerant. Be safe and plant your tree away from the sea. If you want to plant something on the beach, try a coconut.

Bardsey Island is frost-free. Consequently there is a chance that your tree might be prone to frost damage. Avoid frost pockets when choosing your site.

2010 Update: No frost problems... One tree has survived at -22 in Austria.

Bardsey Apple Blossom

I don't know how the mother tree on the island is pollinated, but I think its best to assume that it is not self-fertile. Very few apple varieties are self-fertile; they need another different variety that flowers at the same time to cross-pollinate. Obviously you have more chance of success if there are several potential pollinators nearby.

Apple trees prefer a deep loamy, well-drained, slightly acid soil preferably on a south-facing slope. The mother tree has none of these. I think it would be best to give the tree as good a soil and site as possible. Do not try to emulate the soil conditions of the mother tree on the island.

Pruning a Tree

Bardsey Island is extremely windy but the tree itself grows in a slightly sheltered recess on the side of a house. I think it would be wrong to assume that your tree would do well in an extremely exposed situation. Nevertheless, the fruit hangs well.

2010 Update: Exposure isn't a problem.

The mother tree on the island is absolutely hammered by Tortrix Moth caterpillars. At present we don't know whether the tree is particularly susceptible. Perhaps the caterpillars on the island have nothing better to do.

ROOT STOCKS

All fruit trees aree grafted onto rootstocks. The rootstocks determine tree size. Bigger trees are more robust and produce more fruit, but take up more space. Always choose a bigger rootstock if you need extra anchorage, or your soil is poor (very wet, dry or rocky). Small trees can't compete with grass & weeds. If we assume that the Bardsey tree grows with average vigour, then the table below will give you an idea of how big your trees will eventually be and when they will come into fruition.

Root stock Height & Spread (in ft) Age when tree will bear Anchorage Staking Grass on orchard floor
M27 Apple 4 2 Very poor Entire life of tree Needs clean
soil
M9 Apple 7 3 Poor Entire life of tree Needs clean
soil
M26 Apple
Pixy Plum
Quince C (Pear)
10 3 Fair First 4 years Short grass OK once established
MM106 Apple
St Julian Plum
Quince A Pear
15 4 Good First 2 years Long grass OK once established
M25 Apple 22 7 Very good N/A No problem

WARNING. The tree seems to bear extremely precociously. It can produce fruit buds on one-year-old wood. Rub them out. If the tree produces fruit too soon in its life it will exhaust itself. For more information visit the web site of Ian sturrock and Sons.

PLANTING, TRAINING, PRUNING, PICKING, STORAGE

Pruning a Tree

Ask any 10 orchardists about any of the above and you will get 10 different answers!

Rather than add an eleventh I suggest you read:

THE FRUIT EXPERT by Dr.Hessayon @ £4.95.......a good cheap basic book with very clear diagrams

FRUIT by Harry Baker @ £8.99......A thoroughly comprehensive guide from the RHS with excellent precise line drawings

TRAINING & PRUNING OF APPLE AND PEAR TREES@ $29.95 by CG FORSHEY
available only via the internet. Extremely detailed and academic, it is paraphrased on the web site TRAINING & PRUNING OF APPLE TREES

- see the first two entries on the LINKS page.

Pruning the Bardsey Tree

Pruning The Bardsey Tree

The Bardsey Apple

The Bardsey Apple

Careful Pruning

The Bardsey Apple

The Bardsey Light House

The Bardsey Light House