Gardening: Keen on fruit: Cherries, plums and peaches

IT IS hard to understand why people choose sterile forms of fruiting trees for small gardens. A pink hybrid cherry such as Kanzan provides a spring fix of colour, but a white Morello has a second season of beauty in summer. After the blossom, bunches of red fruit hang from the tree; the cherries that go into Swiss jam and Black Forest gateau. Too sour for the birds, they do not need to be netted. Morellos can be grown as small trees or trained against a north wall (there is a smaller form called 'Stella').

Early and cooking plums will also fruit on a cold wall, but a warm one is better for greengages and dessert plums. In places where frost might damage their blossom, they can be protected with fleece on a wall. Southern gardeners with room to spare can grow plums as trees and will find that they need no pruning to make them crop. Given plenty of water and manure, they may even need to have their fruit thinned or the branches propped - many plums are lavish fruiters. The popular Victoria needs no cross-pollinator, nor does Oullins Golden Cage; but the most delicious of all greengages, Coe's Golden Drop, will need a companion plum like Victoria if it is to be fertile.

Plums can be bought ready trained as small fans. Keeping them in shape is not difficult. All shoots growing out from the wall or in towards it are removed, and all side shoots off the main stems are shortened to six leaves, unless they are needed to extend the fan. After they have fruited, the side shoots should be shortened again to three leaves. It is better to prune in spring and summer when the trees are growing strongly, as they are susceptible to a die- back disease called silver leaf, which is more likely to strike through pruning cuts and wounds when resistance is low.

Peaches are choosier than cherries or plums. They prefer a slightly acid soil to a limey one; they need a place in the sun, and a lot of mulching and watering. The foot of any wall tends to dry out, so constant draughts of water are important throughout the summer. Peaches, like cherries, fruit on the wood made in the previous year, so pruning involves a routine cutting out of old wood and tying in of the new. Wall-trained cherries are pruned in the same way. Early in the year you select a replacement bud or side shoot to grow into the place of the shoot that is going to fruit (growing buds are thin and pointed, fruiting ones short and fat). Replacement buds should be as low down the stem as possible and pointing upwards. During the summer the new shoot will need to be tied in next to the old one as it grows. Shorten its side shoots as they appear and discourage any that grow too close together, as well as those which grow back into the wall. Peach leaf curl is always a danger but this disease can be controlled by winter protection. A temporary roof, or rather ledge, of glass or polythene should be fixed to the wall above the tree to keep the rain away. This seems to work, but if it fails, spraying with a copper fungicide after Christmas and again in autumn should deal with the problem. Peregrine is probably the easiest, most delicious white-fleshed peach for amateurs.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum