Archive for the ‘Fruit Questions’ Category

Mulberry orchard at Tiptree Farm, Wilkins & Son, makers of Tiptree preserves, Essex. (Photographs by kind permission of Adrian Baggaley and Wilkins & Sons).



Has anyone any experience in growing mulberries that they can share with us?

Conor McGovern



Mulberries stain the skin very easily

There has been a mulberry orchard on the farm at Tiptree for over 100 years and many of the original trees have branches that appear to have collapsed to the ground but still produce fruit.  New mulberry trees have been added to the orchard, which in 2017 yielded sufficient to make a limited edition of Tipree Mulberry Jelly.


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Sweet Chestnuts failing to develop

We bought a house 12 years ago with a young sweet chestnut tree (among many others) in the garden. The tree is growing well, appears happy, puts out lots of fruit each year. But only ONE year in 12 have the fruit been usable. Every other year, when you risk your fingers by prising open the spiky ball, the nuts inside have not swelled but are little brown crescents.

I assumed this would improve as the tree matured, but after that one good year it’s gone back to being feeble.

What swells the fruit inside the husk? What’s missing? Water? Warmth? Nutrient?

Other trees in the garden include walnuts, which are happy, and we get several buckets of nuts most years from the grandaddy tree and the two youngsters are starting to produce, and old apple and cherry trees, which also crop well. Our attempts to plant new trees have failed, probably because we are not here enough of the year to water them daily in dry periods, we have given up on new trees for now…

The tree is in the Livradois Forez in central France, at 700m, subject to -15 or lower in cold winters, and +40 at times some summers! For the most part, however, mid twenties and well watered with dry spells.

Chris Comley


Sweet Chestnut tree

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Autumn Bliss, one of the best known autumn fruiting raspberry varieties

My Heritage raspberries were planted four or five years ago. My practice has been to cut them to the ground in February but each year I’ve had almost nil raspberries from the whole row. A few have formed but not in time to ripen, except for perhaps about six raspberries by September. I’m now thinking of digging them out and replacing them with a more reliable variety. Before doing that, however, I’m wondering whether anyone has had a more rewarding experience with this variety or has recommendations for a different management system.

I have six varieties of which the autumn fruiting Heritage is the only one not prospering. The other autumn variety is Polka and there are four summer fruiting varieties – Glen Doll, Glen Moy, Octavia and Malling Minerva. The Heritage look fairly healthy but, in my garden, fruit impossibly late. My reading suggests that this was one of the earliest varieties bred for autumn fruiting. I garden in South Lincolnshire.

Janet Galpin

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We live in central Saskatchewan, a bit north of Saskatoon, and have some old maples that will need to be removed soon. I am wondering if it is possible to graft fruit trees, like apples, onto the stumps. If it is possible, where can I learn more about this?

L Kanuski

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Ancient apple tree growing in North Yorkshire

I have five old apple trees growing on the edges of my replanted orchard. I believe they are the remains of a much older orchard probably planted in the 1850’s or 1860’s. Three of the trees are Yorkshire Cockpit, still prolific croppers, and two are unidentified. All the trees are enormous, the size of parkland trees, and far larger than anything that could be manageable in a productive orchard. I assume that at least three of these trees and probably all, are grafts and not seedlings. Does anyone know what rootstocks were likely to have been used for these trees and if they were intended to be this vigorous?

Nick Burrows

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Quince tree showing peeling bark

I have a question about the bark on the quince tree, which I noticed yesterday is coming off in quite large sheets. The wood beneath is smooth. I can see that this has started at the base and is working its way up the main trunk. Would anyone have any idea what the cause is and whether or not it is a natural growth thing (I fear not) or the result of some disease? And if the latter, can it be treated? (I also fear not!) The tree otherwise looks healthy. The leaves are still green and not blighted, although the backs some of the leaves have many tiny black spots on them. There was plenty of blossom in the spring but very little fruit appeared and what there was fell off some time ago. But I put that down to the sort of weather we had in the spring and early summer.

Janet Wolfinden

Quince tree bark

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Beauty of Bath

I have an espalier Beauty of Bath, but the apples are disappointing. Is it worth keeping?

Simon Bishop


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