Growing Trees on the Allotment

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When growing fruit trees on an allotment there is much more to consider than just the type of fruit or the varieties you choose. You should give some real consideration before you plant any trees on an allotment. In fact some councils don’t permit trees on plots at all, so make sure you check before doing anything.

You should also make sure you and your plot are fully established before you plant any trees.  They are a permanent feature and can take 5 or 6 years in some cases before they start to bear any fruit, so planting them in the wrong place can cause you real problems. 

Even worse, what if you decide you cannot cope with your plot and give it up after a couple of years? – unless the plot is taken on immediately by another keen grower then left unchecked the tree you planted could grow much bigger than originally intended and shadow not only your plot but your neighbours plots too.

Once your plot is established and you are certain that you want to plant fruit trees then you can start to plan where to put them.  Trees take up a lot of space and whilst they may look small and innocent now, in a few years they will cast a big shadow, so try to find an area that is not going to stop you growing anything else… and above all else make sure that any trees you plant won’t be in a place that casts a big shadow over your neighbours plot.

If space is going to be an issue then consider training the trees into espaliers along the border of the plot, or what about step-over trees along the borders of your beds? Both methods allow you to grow a substantial amount of fruit in a small space without casting too much of a shadow. These do require some time and commitment from you to keep them in check however.

Finally when choosing your trees, make sure you choose ones with suitable rootstocks, choosing dwarfing rootstocks where possible to keep trees small.

There are also other methods you can use to keep your trees small.  I have planted some of mine in root control bags. These are great for the allotment, as they restrict the root growth, but allow the small fibrous feeding roots to find their way through the bag so the tree can draw nutrients and water from the surrounding soil.  It also means that the tree can be moved even after 10 years or so.

Phyl @ The Allotment Gardener

Lifelong gardener and allotment enthusiast. Now have 3 allotments!

More in this category: Fruit Tree Rootstocks »
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