Tree Nursery

The new site for my tree nursery is now ready.

Before I took it over the owner had some drainage work carried out to feed a new wildlife pond.

It is a has been a wet site up until now, mainly due to compaction from the heavy beef cattle that are run ono it every year.

The one acre site is in full sun, 166m above sea level. The grassland is semi improved, with a mixture of rye, timothy and cocks foot grasses. Some white clover is present and there is plenty of creeping buttercup in the wetter areas.

Up until now there has been an annual application of fertiliser.

pH levels range from 5.6 – 5.9.

The soil is a clay loam, with an organic matter content of 6%.

In order to make this a thriving fruit tree nursery my plans are:

– To improve draninge even further by running a mole plough through the site

-Plough the field, add lime to raise the pH and sew a fertility building mix of Red clovers, Chicory, Cocks foot, plantain and yarrow.

The next stage is to get a cut of hay off it. This will be to feed my sheep and to use as a mulch around the newly planted trees.

The nursery will be run organicaly, although with no official certification. (The Soil Association demand over £500 a year, even for a plot as small as one acre!)

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Grafting Success (so far so good)

This is a Transparent Gage I budded onto a hedgerow damson in August 2009.

Despite some rabbit damage it is growing away nicely.

Below left shows the Pear, ‘Pitmaston Duchess’ with the leaves about to open. This was cleft grafted onto a hawthorn in March this year.

The right picture shows the Pear ‘Doyenne du Commice’ with the leaves fully open. This was rind grafted onto hawthorn in March this year.

As well as these successful grafts, many others have taken (mainly Pear, Quince and Medlar onto Hawthorn).

Some of the most exciting are in a woodland clearing on the Welsh/Shropshire border. Here there are many self set Hawthorn growing high up in very poor soil, some even through cracks in rocks. Obviously this is only the first stage in the trial.

The next stage is to observe and record the fruiting quality of these trees.

As well as continuing to graft onto mature trees already existing in the landscape, I will be carrying out trials in my new nursery site to see what varieties of Pear are compatible with Hawthorn. For this I will graft onto young trees grown from seed collected locally.