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fruit border advice needed

Last post 17-09-2013 3:12 PM by poppy1. 2 replies.

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  • 16/09/2013 11:20 PM
    • seneca
    • Birmingham, West Midlands
    • 15 Sep 2013
    • 9
    Not Ranked
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    garden diagram.gif



    hello everyone,


    I've got a border area which is 9m long and 1.2m wide. It runs along a 1.8m tall fence which is north facing, but also has the tops of my neighbours shrubs, making it around 2.2m tall. Interestingly, there used to be some very old shrubs in the border that grew quite tall and leafy before I removed them. This may be because the tops of the shrubs got sunlight for a reasonable part of the day, or possibly the rich and moist soil underneath them. I would say the soil is quite fertile and moisture retentive/slightly water logged (due to lack of light, warmth or the high water table in the area.)


    My predicament is this: I would like to try and grow some fruit in this border. It will be an experiment, so within reason, I am willing to be disappointed! Obviously I would like to do all that I can to minimise failure (choice of fruit, variety, rootstock, training) , but realise the odds may be stacked against me.



    I'm interested in desert varieties of apple, pear and plum, and being ambitious (if a little greedy) would like to get as much viable fruit as possible, as tree numbers, rootstocks, planting distance, forms allow.


    The actual fence is not in great condition either, and due to it's north-facing orientation would not allow any training onto it. Something like a free-standing espalier shape, with some support rigged up around it might work, but I doubt it. My idea would be to grow trees that would be like half/standards, but no more than 4m tall ie. more at the top, above the fence, where the sunlight is. A concern over apples is they fruit on lateral shoots, so would need to be pruned/trained to encourage these, while being high up in the canopy. Maybe fruit trees that have a naturally upright shape might help. Similarly, would ideas like planting more trees close to each other and severe pruning and summer pruning encourage fruiting? despite the not ideal conditions.


    Any ideas or suggestions will be welcome (apologies for the poor diagram.)


  • 17/09/2013 12:19 AM
    • London
    • 12 Aug 2012
    • 736
    Top 25 Contributor
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    A very warm welcome to My Garden.. Now then, before we go any further.  Please, stop apologising.  Look.  We have all been there, done that etc. Firstly I have to admit, despite my wide and varied experience etc, I am no a fuit man.  Believe me.  All this South facing aspect. Give it a miss. I have been at this game for 68yrs.  Even in my tiny garden, I canprove the fallacy of north and south a myth.  Lets establish a home base.  For starters.   The average garden unless you have several acres.  Our workspace is limited.  So. We concentrate on smaller trees etc.  Thankfully, these can be contained in very large pots or containers.  This gives us an advantage.  We can move them around without disturbing the roots. Give it a try.  Believe me, often following the guide books, can cost you a fortune.  Even us scientific bods,play around with ideas,dreams illusions.  Take a gamble.  I look forward to many more posts from you.

  • 17/09/2013 03:12 PM
    • poppy1
    • france
    • 04 Sep 2013
    • 100
    Top 100 Contributor
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    Hi Seneco ,

    Firstly Growmore has given you some good advice ref growing,

    What i'd like to say is more to help you understand a few small "but" worth knowing pointers ref plants/trees & shrubs.

    All plants /trees & shrubs and you can add weeds as these are plants "just unwanted ones" all need the following to live,

    (1) Light

    (2) water

    (3) food

    (4) heat.

    Now as you've already said you dug up some growing shrubs that made it above the fence (here is your light need)

    This water retention you've said is there (2) water.

    Well again two things to think about here, A bit of digging down and see if any form of drainage is there and remember trees /shrubs drink a lot of water so if you do plant tree's in this area you may find your extra water will not be a problem? 

    But again good drainage is important, you'll never see a tree wearing a life jacket, so just check when your next experiencing one of those long rainy days "how long it takes for the water to drain away as you dont want to drown your young trees before you start.

    You'll need to have the ground well dug & manured before planting any long term items such as trees anyway so before you manure check to see if you'd be needing any form of gravel etc for drainage.

    (3) food, We've already talked about long term root feeding "manure" bone meal etc

    But just a note on this subject, planting near a  fence or hedge, ask yourself when do people feed hedges etc ?

    ANSWER, Not very offten if ever and so the hedges have to look after themselves and any food thats near to a hedge is taken by the hedges roots,

    "So think before you plant anything to close to a hedge and if you have a fence deviding you from next door ask yourself whats growing on the otherside of this fence? Will my newly planted shrubs be to close to the fence?

    Hedge roots are under the fence and spread like hell and you cant see them!!!!!!!

    One very last legal point ref fruit or infact any trees your planting near to your neighbours garden,

    think about the overhang, if your tree's branches will overhang into your neighbours garden?

    Whats the legal side of things ref this happening?

    They " the neighbours"  can cut any over hanging wood and return it to you for you to remove to the likes of land fill etc, but if they so wish they can request "you" sort the over hang out as its your wood over hanging in the f place, should any fruit fall (as in wind fall) onto your neighbours garden they are allowed by law to keep it

    , But if your fruit should damage any of their property ie smash their greenhouse glass or the likes of leyandi roots cause damage to their drains etc its your legal concern to pay for these damages and it can be very costly, so if your just starting to plant trees etc ensure you know what your doing And the long term outcome of your actions????

    Having given you food for thought on this subject just one last thing i'd like to add,

    You will not get better value for money than fruit tree's/bush etc,

    For the inital cost of both buying the "lets say apple tree" and the cost of planting it including ground prep and staking in approx 7 years your fruit tree will be fully into fruit production,

    you'll get fruit on the tree before the 7 year period but by the 7th year it'll be producing a good crop,

    when you look at todays cost of a IIb of apples you'll soon understand the true value of a fruit tree ref cost for cost.

    The same goes for fruit bush crops,

    well worth the start up cost and fresh fruit for many many years to come.

    Once your getting your fruit crops you'll be back on here asking about chutney making, how to bottle fruit, make drinks with it,

    you've just taken the first steps into the world of fruit growing Just do the start up correct and you'll never look back.Yes

    Regards   Poppy 1,