Tree growing and maintenance tips

One of the aims of our Fruit-full Communities project is to demonstrate that you don’t need a lot of space to establish an orchard. You don’t even need a grass area! ‘Restricted’ tree forms such as compact columns, cordons, step-overs and espaliers are ideal for many community spaces and YMCA centres. With the exception of compact columns, these all require a supporting post and wire framework, or they can be trained against a wall or fence. It is also possible to grow small apple trees in pots, although you must remember to feed and water them!

Apples are a well-loved and relatively easy fruit to grow. A single tree could last beyond your lifetime, providing beautiful blossom in spring and you will enjoy watching the young fruits grow and swell through the summer, before harvesting and using the apples in early autumn for eating fresh, juicing or cooking. Pears are more challenging to grow than apples, but given the right conditions will crop well.

Further information can be found in the All downloads section here

The information provided in our fact sheets covers all you need to know for successful fruit growing. Although advice given for sites and soils, planting and some pests and diseases apply to all tree fruits, if you want to grow plums, damsons, gages and cherries we recommend that you have a look at some of the books below:

Baker, H., Growing Fruit (Royal Horticultural Society’s Encyclopaedia of Practical Gardening), Latest edition 1999, published by Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 184000153 4

Baker, H., The Fruit Garden Displayed (Royal Horticultural Society). 9th revised edition 1998, published by Cassell Illustrated. ISBN 030435001X

Bird, R., Pruning Fruiting Plants: A Practical Gardener's Guide to Pruning and Training Tree Fruit and Soft Fruit, illustrated edition 2006, published by Southwater. ISBN 1844762858

Brickell, C., & Joyce, D., Pruning and Training (The Royal Horticultural Society): The definitive practical guide to pruning trees, shrubs, roses and climbers (includes fruit). Latest edition 2006, published by Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 1405315261

Hessayon, D., The Fruit Expert, 1993, Pbi Publications. ISBN 0903505312

Morgan, J. & Richards, A., The New Book of Apples: The Definitive Guide to Over 2000 Varieties, 1992, Ebury Press, published in association with the Brogdale Horticultural Trust). ISBN 0091883989

Woodward, J., Pruning Hardy Fruits (A Wisley handbook), 1990, published by Cassell Illustrated. ISBN 0304311030


Orchard matters..PART 2 A complete guide to looking after your trees and making the most of your outdoor space

This half of the guide focuses on involving the whole community in making your orchard a success!

Download (PDF)

Orchard matters..PART 1 A complete guide to looking after your trees and making the most of your outdoor space

Wanting to create your own orchard? This pack has everything you need to know to plan, plant and care for an orchard in your local space, whether it is small or large.

Download (PDF)

Know your Weeds!

Short guide to help identify common annual and perennial weeds in your orchard - remember they are just plants in the wrong places!

Download (PDF)

More downloads

Good practice on how to take semi ripe cuttings


Good practice for hardwood cuttings of herbs


Tree Council

Free expert advice in looking after your orchard? The Tree Council have a wardens scheme with a national network of volunteers.

More links


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