About Your Order
Most of our trees are supplied as bare root trees. These can be ordered any time, but will be sent out when the trees are dormant between November and April. We are able to supply some container grown trees for summer planting and also gift vouchers. Please feel free to contact us for our consultancy, design, and maintenance services.
We want you to enjoy the experience of planting your trees. As we send out trees over the winter, weather is often a factor, but rest assured we will get the trees to you in good condition within the planting window.
While we send out trees from November to early April, we recommend that you order early and also do ground preparation while the weather is better. That way when the trees arrive, you are ready to plant. Winter does not always have the nicest weather and there is limited daylight, so its worth getting the ground work done prior to us sending trees. We are happy to hold trees safely until you are ready to plant.
All trees are sent "bare-root", i.e. grown in the open ground, and are dispatched between late November- April when dormant. (For the past 2 years we can extend the bareroot season a month or two using cold stores to maintain dormancy.) Orders received before this time will be sent out as soon as possible - usually mid/late November. During the dispatch season, as soon as the backlog is cleared - normally towards the end of November/early December - we aim to send orders within two weeks of receiving them. Overnight carrier is normally used (2 days for highland postcodes), and to ensure a smooth delivery the place of work is the ideal delivery address. We don’t ask the carrier for signatures - as this complicates things if people are out. Please ensure we have a telephone number and any special instructions for the carrier if you are out, e.g. 'please leave by greenhouse'.
Trees are mainly sent as 2 year trees - and range in size depending on a range of factors. Soft fruit and some limited range of larger 3 and 4 year trees are available too - for availability and price please contact us.
Maidens and other forms are also available.
For larger wholesale orders, contact us to get a price.
Our recommendation if you are a novice is to start with one of our Scottish Orchard packs, which will comprise of suitable varieties.
For most gardens, a small-medium tree is required, for apples on either M26 or MM106 rootstock. A vigorous variety on M26 is as big as a weak-growing variety on MM106. Consideration should be given as to how the ground underneath is to be managed – where trees are to be in grass, then this must be mown, and low branches make things difficult. A clear stem of at least 1.2m is required, and a hover mower is preferred. In a very sheltered garden, a 1.2m stem can be created on M26, but normally MM106 would be used, since this is better able to withstand wind.
The bulk of our trees are supplied on MM106 rootstock which is vigorous enough to survive Scottish conditions. We really don't recommend smaller rootstock as it is very prone to failure here - and we think the more vigorous rootstock makes management of trees unnecessarily hard. MM106 is the Goldilocks rootstock... not too big and not too wee.
Most varieties will attain about 1.2m in the nursery and will normally need cutting back after planting. The size of the tree you receive will depend on various factors - and not, some varieties are slow growing.
Where space is limited, cordons and espaliers are preferred (apples and pears). They can be planted alongside a path, fence, or wall. Pruning is easy and is mostly a pleasurable summer job. Cordons in particular offer the opportunity to have many varieties in a small space - they are spaced just 80cm (2.5ft) apart. Another big advantage of trained trees, like these and espaliers, is that they can easily be kept to 6 feet high, so easily sheltered and can be managed without ladders.
The importance of using a suitable variety is of paramount importance, since a good variety for the location will succeed despite somewhat adverse attention. I have an extensive database of varieties known to succeed in various parts of Scotland and northern England.
Where there is only room for one tree, then where other apples are nearby – as they normally are where there are adjoining gardens – pollination should not be a problem. Otherwise, if it is impossible to fit in another tree (even as a cordon), consider a self-fertile variety.
If you are keen to learn more, John Hancox organises (when he has time) training courses throughout the year.
We also have quite an interesting forum of fruit growers on our Scottish Fruit Trees Facebook group. This network of fruit growing enthusiasts will probably help with most of your queries. There is nothing quite like having someone who has a bit of experience to help get you started and enthused.
People can get a bit over-anxious about knowing the right way to plant, prune, and look after fruit trees. While it is interesting to learn how to grow fruit well, note that even if you neglect the trees they can still do surprisingly well. So relax, get planting and enjoy the experience!
Please feel to contact us by phone or email for further advice = 0778 606 3918 or