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Fruit Growing A to Z

Fruit General Planting & Growing Advice in the UK
APPLES are essentially a cold climate tree but do not plant them in frost pockets or waterlogged ground. Full sun is good but the trees will tolerate shade. Plant in neutral to slightly acid soil.
 When planting dig a hole about 2 feet (60cm) in depth and add organic material. Ensure there is enough room in the hole to comfortably accommodate the roots. Position the tree in the hole, ensuring it is upright. Cover the roots with soil and firm the soil well in, ensuring there are no air pockets under & around the roots. Water in, if planting into dry soil. Keep the ground beneath young Apple trees free of grass, weeds & decaying matter but mulching around trees is advisable. Stake each tree.

Diseases/Pests = Aphids, Apple Sawfly, Bitter Pit, Brown Rot, Canker,
Codling Moths, Mildew, Scab, Woolly Aphid.


APRICOTS (Peaches & Nectarines) have identical growing needs. They prefer a humus rich sandy soil with a Ph of 6+. They don't usually grow well in colder climates but need a dormant period in the Winter. Can be grown in containers in a sunny position & kept under cover during Winter. Fruit grows on the previous years wood. Plant in early spring (as for Apples)

Diseases/Pests = Leaf Curl, Leaf Spot, Aphids, Birds, Red Spider Mite, Canker, Botrytis.


BLACKBERRIES will grow in most climates and are heavy feeders. They like well drained soil with a Ph of around 7. They are easy to propagate (most varieties). When planting bushes allow 5 feet (1.5m) between each bush and put plenty of organic material into the planting hole. Some varieties fruit on the previous years' wood and some on the same wood, so check your variety for the purpose of pruning. Pick when the Blackberries are about ready to fall from the plant.

Diseases/Pests = Orange Rust.


BLACKCURRANTS will grow in most climates provided too much heat does not dry them out. They require plenty of organic materials and frequent mulching and the addition of compost/manure to the soil will assist them to grow in most soil types. Blackcurrants are shallow rooted keep their soil well drained & weed free. Pruning should be done annually in early Winter, keeping the new wood.

Diseases/Pests = Big Bud, Leaf Curling Midge, Vine Weevil, Spider Mites,
Mildew, Reversion Virus, Leaf Spot.


BLUEBERRIES prefer acidic damp soils in colder climates, with a Ph of 4.5. Blueberries are slow to mature and should be stopped from fruiting for the plants' first 2 to 3 years. Prune from their 4th year, in early Spring, removing spindly, diseased or crossing branches. Heavy regular mulching is adviseable. They are not easy to propagate.

Diseases/Pests = Canker, Leaf Spot, Mildew, Chlorosis, Other fungal diseases.


CHERRIES usually prefer deep well drained well dug soil with a Ph of 6 to 8.
Mulch annually.

Diseases/Pests = Black Fly, Brown Rot, Bacterial Canker, Silver Leaf.

CITRUS FRUITS like Lime, Oranges, Grapefruit, Kumquats & Lemon are not usually hardy in the UK climate. They are probably best grown in containers & kept undercover, frost free in cold weather. Citrus plants need a warm sunny position (full sun). They should be planted and/or repotted in early Spring.
Citrus are heavy feeders, special composts & fertilisers can be purchased for growing & feeding them. Correct watering & humidity is important to Citrus (using rainwater).

Diseases/Pests = Red Spider Mite, Scale Insects, Mealy Bugs, Borers.

FIGS will grow in temperate climates with the assistance of plenty of sun. Well drained soil is required but not necessarily good soil, lime and compost is good for them. Figs can also be grown in containers, they will propagate from layering, suckers or cuttings.

Diseases/Pests = Souring, Blight, Rust, Nematodes.

GOOSEBERRIES are an ideal fruit to grow in pots as well as in open ground, they are self-fertile. Gooseberries wil tolerate various growing conditions, the ideal being cool areas with full sun. Their soil should be moist,  well drained & of good condition. Plant in early Autumn into ground that has had organic matter added to it earlier and has settled down. 5feet (1.6mtr) spacing is best between plants. Mulch annually in Spring and protect from birds when the plants are fruiting. Gooseberries can be propagated from cuttings or by layering.

Diseases/Pests = Aphids, Capsid Bug, Gooseberry Sawfly, Botrytis, Coral Spot, Mildew.

GRAPES will grow best in poor soils, rich heavy soils are not ideal but incorporate well rotted manure or leaf mould when planting ensuring the roots are not pot bound. Grapes require warmth & sunshine in the Summer to develop & ripen, they will tolerate low temperatures in the Winter. A soil Ph of about 7 is required with good drainage.

Diseases/Pests = Mildew, Black Rot, Bunch Rot, Aphids, Birds, Mites. Wasps.

KIWI FRUIT is a vine like plant native to China, some varieties are HARDY some ARE NOT. Plant in Spring into fertile soil with a Ph of 6. Water regularly & keep their growing area weed free. Supports for the plant may be necessary & prune as for grapevines. The female plants which bear the fruit usually need to be pollinated by a male plant.

Diseases/Pests = Root Rot Nematodes, Slugs, Deer, Cats. 

PEARS exist in many types, sizes & varieties. Most Pear trees crop better when other Pear trees are planted close by although some are self fertile. Bare rooted trees should be planted between December & March. Ideal soil should be moist loam. (Plant as for Apple trees). Mulch around the base of the tree in Spring keeping the mulch away from the stem. 

Diseases/Pests = Aphids, Canker, Caterpillars, Midge, Fireblight, Scab.

PLUMS have a wide range of varieties with most European varieties being self-fertile. Plant in Spring or Autumn into slightly acidic soil, a Ph of around 6.5 is ideal.

Diseases/Pests = Aphids, Canker, Silver Leaf, Rust, Red Spider Mite, Sawfly.


QUINCES prefer well drained moist soil, lighter soils need to have plenty of organic matter added to them & be well mulched. Quinces vary in type & size, smaller versions can be grown in containers. Keep Quinces well watered during hot dry conditions but ensure they are well drained. Fruit should be ready to pick by the end of October. Allow the fruit to mature in storage after picking.

Diseases/Pests = Blight, Brown Rot, Codling Moth.

RASPBERRIES grow best in a neutral to slightly acid soil in full sun, although they will tolerate shade. Summer or Autumn fruiting varieties exist. Autumn planting is adviseable through to Spring. Plant into trenches to which compost or well rotted manure has been added. Space the plants approx 18 inches (45cm) apart, firm down & water in. Prune each cane back to approx 6 inches (15cm) from the soil level. Supports are usually required.

Diseases/Pests = Aphids, Birds, Blight, Raspberry Beetle, Wasps.

STRAWBERRIES like a position with full sun on well drained acidic soil. Plant in early Spring covering the roots but not the crown with soil & firm in. To conserve the plants vigour in its 1st year, pinch out flowers to prevent it fruiting. Plants can easily be propagated from runners. I replace all my plants after 3 years fruiting with the added "runners". Mulch plants in Winter with straw to prevent frost damage. Clear weeds & dead foliage away from the plants to prevent mould/rot & allow good air circulation.

Diseases/Pests = Aphids, Birds, Slugs, Red Spider Mite, Botrytis, Mildew 

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