Course tutor: The course is led by fruit tree specialist Tom Nancarrow from Pip & Stone Fruit Tree Services, a specialist pruning and planting service of fruit trees and orchards. Tom also works for Adams Apples, growing over 200 varieties of fruit trees on their nursery near Honiton.
Course detail: Are you looking to plant a small orchard for yourself and your family? Or maybe a community orchard in your local town? Perhaps you have greater ambitions of starting a new juice and cider enterprise?!
They are many things to consider before planting a new orchard - choosing the best site, understanding pollination, selecting a rootstock, the best varieties, potential yields, when to plant, how to protect from rabbits/sheep/deer… and that’s before you’ve even dug the first hole!
This one-day course will put you on the right path to planting an orchard of healthy and productive fruit trees suitable for your location and needs. It will be predominantly classroom-based learning with slides and discussion, with some practical sessions for tree planting and formative pruning.
Session 1: Big trees or small trees? - Covering the pros and cons of different rootstocks and their management requirements, including tree protection and understory management - scythe, lawnmower or sheep.
Session 2: Site selection and considerations - The effects of aspect, altitude and soil types on the growth and health of fruit trees. This should help you to identify the best location for planting a new orchard, and suggest the best ways to grow fruit trees on a less-than perfect site.
Session 3: Choosing trees and planting the orchard - The pros and cons of pot grown/bare-root, whips/feathered trees, pollination and how to design and mark out a new orchard. We will also do a practical demo on how to plant fruit trees properly.
Session 4: A discussion on fruit varieties and types - What’s best for you, traditional or modern varieties? What makes a good juicing/cider apple? Which are the most disease resistant fruit trees to grow in the West Country? We will discuss all of these questions and more, with preference given to varieties best suited for pesticide-free and organic growing.
Session 5: Formative pruning and healthy establishment - what is the best shape for fruit trees, open centre or centre leader? This session will cover how fruit trees grow and the best way to prune young fruit trees for productivity and health. To include a practical demo on formative pruning.
Course price: £60 for the day including lunch £54 for LWA or CSA Network members
*If you would like to book accommodation the night before or after the course please contact Monkton Wyld Court directly on firstname.lastname@example.org