Apple trees for the community

Apple trees for Tehidy

We’ve had a good first season of providing fruit trees for planting in public spaces. Some Cornish apple trees including ‘Cornish Gillyflower’ made there way to Tehidy Country Park as part of the Apple Tree event held on 25th February over Half Term and organised by Charlotte Evans, and rangers Gavin and Stuart all from Cormac. We heard from Tehidy volunteer Andrew Tompsett in the Orchard all about grafting and pruning apple trees and then went on to plant apple trees in the events field. More can be read about the event here.

Portreath Pre School also got in touch seeking advice on planting an apple tree in a container for the children to follow the seasons of the apple tree – from buds, to flowers and leaves opening and then, in time, to see the apples growing too. Fortunately, we had just the tree! The ‘Pendragon’ apple tree had been grafted two years ago from wood that came from a tree at St Ives Community Orchard. As the pre-school already had a resident dragon looking over the garden it was a perfect match. As it’s a couple of years old, hopefully it won’t be too long before they can see it fruiting. It’s an interesting variety as it’s got red flesh inside, so that will be an exciting surprise come harvest time!

Planting apple trees in suitably sized containers is fine if large enough and you have the ability to water them in dry periods. You’d think that a very dwarfing variety would be the natural choice, but as these have been bred and chosen for their ability to be restricted and smaller thus inducing earlier fruiting and less vegetative growth it means they’re already under stress and more stress in the form of less access to water in the ground, as is likely in a container, as well as restricted roots, this will just result in more stress and possibly failure of the tree. Therefore, choosing a more vigorous tree is considered more appropriate. We chose an M26 tree as this is what was available at the time, but we could have equally gone with an MM106. We added John Innes no. 3 to the existing soil and compost, using plenty of soil, rather than all compost is preferred as it’s less likely to dry out too quickly.

Most important will be watering during the growing season from when you see it come into growth until the end of the season and it returns to fill dormancy. Give the roots of the apple tree a good watering every two weeks, or more during very sunny or hot periods.

More information about growing apple trees in containers here.

Finally, we’ve also got some apple trees lined up for East End Park in Redruth, planted another apple tree along Primrose Terrace community garden in Portreath, and a few more will be going in public spaces too.

That brings us to the end of this tree planting season! Fingers crossed we have plenty of grafting success so we have more to plant next year.

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