Val picked up a couple of fruit trees when she was in Lidl, a plum and a pear. Although it’s a little late for planting bare-rooted trees, these are in pots so can be planted out at anytime. We’re not 100% certain where they’re going to end up in the orchard area, which needs a lot of work anyway, so we’ve moved them into larger pots for now.
I must admit I’m never too keen myself on bargain trees. When you buy from a good nursery you know what rootstock etc and are sure of the quality. You can even select the correct rootstock for your situation. If you’re tight for space and have good quality soil or are container growing, then you buy a very dwarfing rootstock. For larger gardens, a less dwarfing stock etc.
Most fruit trees are grafted onto a different rootstock. This means that the fruiting part of the tree may be vigorous or slow but the plant’s growth is controlled more by the roots.
Anyway, the reason I’m unsure of bargain buy trees is that it can be years before you know if you’ve a bargain or a lemon. In a garden you may only have room for one tree and five years wasted is a shame. We’re lucky now in that we’ve loads of space so can afford to take the risk.
The plum is a variety called Opal. It’s an early plum with medium-sized dusky red fruit which become blue when overripe. It’s considered to be one of the best-flavoured early fruiting plums. Early fruiting is a bit dangerous here with the altitude and winds we get to wipe out early blossoms, but it will end up in a walled and very sheltered orchard.
Going by the size given on the label, we’re pretty sure its grafted onto St Julien rootstock which produces a tree which is substantially smaller than a plum tree grown on its own roots. It is roughly equivalent to the apple MM106 rootstock in the size of tree it produces and should grow to about 4 metres.
Pot Grown Tree or Not?
Bare Rooted Tree or Pot Grown?
Inevitably bare-rooted trees suffer damage to their roots when they’re dug up. This is why you want to plant them out when the tree is dormant and not making much demand on the root system. Fingers crossed, these will be OK.
The pear is a variety called Concorde. Concorde is said to be one of the best pears for growing in the UK. It’s a cross between Conference and Doyenne du Comice. From the Conference Pear it gets its reliability and cropping potential and from Doyenne du Comice Pear its better flavour.
Pears are usually grafted onto a quince rootstock, either Quince C or Quince A. Quince C gives the smallest pear tree and produces a tree of about 3 metres high and bears fruit after 3 years.
Quince A produces a larger tree of up to 4 metres. This produces a tree which is roughly comparable to an apple on MM106 rootstock and bears fruit after 4 or 5 years.
We think (why can’t they provide proper info on the label?) this is on Quince A but we’ll know in a few years.