Tree nursery

This photo shows young growth on apple trees budded in August 2012. Image

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Grafted Hawthorns

These Doyenne du commice pears are growing on a 20 year old hawthorn. The scions were cleft grafted in April 2010.

So far so good!

This Medlar ‘Nottingham’ was budded onto a self set hawthorn in April 2010 and is growing away nicely. The first growth at the beginning of the season got knocked off but it soon regrew and has put on 55cm of growth.

The tree is growing through a hard gravel pathway. I think this is the type of situation where a hawthorn rootstock will be useful!

New Shed


A lot has happened at the nursery since I last updated this blog.

Here are some photos of a shed I built using Douglas Fir and European Larch.

I take commissions for all sorts of woodworking projects. Please contact me if you would like to discuss your ideas.

‘Top Working’

These pictures show different techniques for ‘top working’ an existing apple tree.

On the left shows a successful rind graft of Lord Lambourne.

The right hand picture shows one failed and one successful cleft graft on the variety Worcester Pearmain.

Both grafts have taken very well, putting on some very healthy growth.

I’m surprised at the strength of the union on the rind graft.

I finished off ‘whip and tongue’ grafting Laxton’s Superb and Ashmead’s Kernel onto last seasons growth.  The green tie was used to pull a horizontal stem more upright.

Hedgerow grafting

These photos were taken on the 23rd July.

Left shows a Pitmaston Duchess pear cleft grafted onto a hawthorn. The graft has taken well but hasn’t put on much extension growth. This is probably due to the excessive shade created by nearby trees.

The photo on the right shows my most successful graft this season. It’s a Doyenne du Commice cleft grafted onto a multi stemmed hawthorn of about (or over) 100 years old (I’m estimating this by the 2 foot diameter of the coppiced stool).

This tree is in full sun and the scion has put on over 2 ft extension growth.

This photo on the left shows the same tree before I removed the 6 ft high bracken and the huge amount of thorn regrowth.

This just goes to highlight how much work is involved in such a project. In order to ensure that the scion recieves as much sunlight as possible and as much of the trees food reserves as possible, a lot of maintenance is required in removing excess regrowth and local vegetation.

On the right is a Pitmaston Duchess whip and tongue grafted onto a hwathorn shoot that has regrown as a result of the hedge being laid last year.

Even though this graft was buried deep in nettles and thorn regrowth, it is still thriving.

Tree Nursery

The new nursery site was topped last week.

I decided to top it rather than take hay off it in order to keep the fertility on site.

Today I ran a mole plough through the site. This was a very impressive sight. Three tines are dragged through the soil at a depth of up to 18 inches.

The reason for this was to break up the heavy compaction that has been caused by years of heavy cattle being run on it. The soil will now have improved drainage, better airation, which will encourage increased microbial activity, which will in turn encourage a greater build up of humus, and therefore healthier trees.

The next steps are to rotovate to break up the thick clods of grass, plough, lime and sew the new sward mix.

I will be using prilled lime initially. It was my intention to use a slower releasing lime but I am struggling to find anyone to spread it for me in the next week. (I am told normal fertiliser spreaders won’t spread the larger lime granules)

The prilled lime is fast acting so it will benefit the new sewing immediately. I will then apply a slower releasing lime once the local (and olny, it seems) contractor is in my area.

This picture shows the ‘scars’ left by the mole plough.

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!)