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Planting Fruit

Apples and pears need an open position, well prepared, well drained soil (pears will stand slightly wetter ground) and a slightly acid soil (pH 5.5-6.5). Plums like similar conditions, but do not appreciate a very acid soil.

Peaches, nectarines and apricots prefer a slightly alkaline, but not chalky position. Bushes should be planted in the warmest, most sheltered part of the garden, but the best position in most places in Britain is against a warm, south or west-facing wall.

Cherries do not like heavy clays, but do well in a soil with plenty of substance, deep and well drained.

The method of planting all fruit trees is similar to that for ornamental trees and bushes (see pages 211-12) and timings are the same. Do be careful not to plant the union between the rootstock and scion (seen as a kink or knob at the base of the trunk) below soil level, as the top part will root and you will lose the dwarfing effect of the rootstock.

Bushes and trees require firm staking and tying, at least in the early years. Fans, cordons and esplaiers must be tied to strong galvanized or plastic-covered vire spaced about 18 in. (450 mm) apart or to fit the trained branches. This wire can either be attached to the wall or fence or to stout posts in the ground, Cordons are usually planted and tied in at an angle of 45°. This angle can be reduced as the bushes grow, to enable you to reach the tops more easily.

If you are growing fruit trees and bushes in grass, leave a square of bare earth around the base of the trunks for a year or two until the trees become established.

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