Planting the orchard – Shepton Mallet

I used to tell my students that even the most experienced gardener will not know everything, in our business there is always something new to learn.  Our seasons are becoming increasingly unpredictable and right now the heavens seem to have forgotten that it is planting time and I didn’t check the weather forecast before collecting my 160 bare root apple trees.  So there is my new lesson!

Planting conditions are far from perfect at the moment however despite the frozen crust I have managed to plant 70 of my trees.  Keeping the frozen soil separate, the ground beneath is moist and thawed.  I am using mycorrhiza around the roots and securing the trees with short hardwood stakes.  My rows face North – South and I am positioning the strongest root towards the North (ref: The Apple Grower: a guide to the organic orchadist; Michael Phillips) as this is how they would probably have been growing on the nursery 10 days ago.