Autumn is the best time to plant fruit trees and shrubs

A growing number of British gardeners are turning to ‘grow your own‘. Read our 10 top tips on planting your own fruit trees this autumn, with advice from plantsman Chris Collins

1. Know when to plant
Late autumn is the best time to plant fruit trees and berries, so start choosing your varieties now

autumn

2. Prepare your trees
Soak the roots of your new fruit trees before putting them in the ground. Select a sunny, sheltered spot for your trees to maximise the time the fruit has to ripen, and ensure the soil has plenty of drainage

3. Use your space wisely
If you only have a small space to plant, try strawberries-their trailing habit makes them excellent for growing in containers or hanging baskets. For trees, try dwarf varieties such as apples, cherries or plums

strawberry hanging basket

4. Find the best spot for shrubs
Blackberry and raspberry shrubs prefer a sunnier area of your garden to grow in, while strawberries and cranberries are happy growing in partial shade

raspberries

5. Encourage pollination
If you grow different varieties of the same fruit close together, they’re likely to improve pollination and therefore produce a better crop

5. Try unusual varieties
In our milder climate, there’s an increasing number of varieties that can be a great success in British gardens. As well as traditional fruit, try gooseberries or loganberries

gooseberries

6. Stagger your growth
If you select your varieties carefully, your fruit trees will have a long producing season throughout the summer, ready for storage in the autumn

8. Be patient
Growing small fruit and berries is fairly low maintenance, but don’t expect instant results—it can take several seasons before the fruit appears

fruit netting

9. Protect your berries
Pick your berries as they ripen and cover them with netting to protect them from insects and birds

10. Don’t forget to prune
Prune your fruit trees in late winter or early spring to encourage further flowering and fruiting, and prune berry shrubs each year after fruiting to ensure regular crops in future

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