Many of us grow fruit trees, but fewer of us think to plant nuts. It’s true that some varieties develop into large trees that need a lot of room, but there are other more manageably sized species, plus dwarf cultivars developed by breeders, to make nut growing a realistic proposition.
Winter is an excellent time to plant trees, while they are dormant, so if you enjoy a bowl of nuts at Christmas time, why not think long-term, and plant nut trees now for a homegrown harvest in future? Hazelnuts and cobnuts are the easiest place to start, making medium-sized bushes/trees 2-3m tall and wide. Walnuts are another possibility. The common walnut (Juglans regia) grows into a big tree, some 20-30m tall, so this is one for gardeners with plenty of room, and like hazelnuts, pollination is improved if there are two in the vicinity.
Some cultivars are self-fertile, such as ‘Broadview’, and smaller varieties have been bred such as ‘Europa’, which reaches around 3m tall. Lubera say that their dwarf cultivar ‘Karlik’ can even be grown in containers.
The most planted fruit trees are apple trees, but you don’t always have to follow convention. Pear, plum, fig and medlar trees can also produce good results. Different varieties produce their fruit at different times of year. The fruit of early ripening trees tends not to keep well whereas later ripening varieties are suitable for storing over winter.
A key factor in getting a successful crop is the tree’s rootstock. M27 or M26 rootstock are more suitable for smaller gardens, some being suitable to grow in containers. Self-fertile trees will produce fruit without the need for another tree to pollinate it. If your tree is not self-fertile it will need to be paired with another and some with more than one.
Talk to us about which tree is right for you.