Guide to Choosing the Right Fruit Tree

If you haven't already, now is a good time to plant fruit trees such as apple and plum trees. Bare root fruit trees will need to go in the ground between the end of November - end of February, while they are still dormant and before growth begins. Container grown fruit trees have a larger window in which to be planted: they should go in the ground between September - early May.

We will have a full range of fruit available from mid October including apples, plums, pears, cherries, peaches, raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and many more.

Growing your own fruit can be very rewarding, but choosing the right tree can be very daunting. 

Here is a guide to help you:-


There are 3 main questions you need to consider before choosing your apple tree:

1. How high do you want your tree to grow?
2. What kind of apple do you want?
3. How many trees do you want to plant?

1. Height: Our apples come on 4 different rootstocks. These determine the height your tree will grow to.

Rootstock Height 
M27 1.5m high (5ft) These are best suited to growing in containers on the patio.
M9 2m high (7-8ft) Ideal for growing in the ground in a small garden.
M26 2.5-3m high (10ft) Strong rootstock for growing in the ground.
MM106 3-4m high (12ft) Gives the best crop and also used for fan trained, espalier and family fruit trees.

Table to show the different heights between 4 different apple rootstocks

2. Type: We have a range of both cooking and eating apples. There are also varieties such as Charles Ross, James Grieve and Jumbo that can be used for both cooking and eating.

3. Number of trees you want to plant:  The reason you need to ask yourself this question is because most fruit trees need a pollination partner- another variety which flowers approximately at the same time enabling cross-pollination to take place and fruit to develop. If your lucky and your neighbour has apple trees, then theirs will be enough to pollinate yours.

Some varieties such as Charles Ross, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Ellisons Orange and James Grieve are self fertile - capable of setting fruit with their own pollen.

Apples are classified into 5 flowering season groups so as long as the varieties you choose are in the same group or the group either side, they will pollinate each other. For example, if you choose a tree from group 3; you can have another one from group 2, 3 or 4.

The final thing to look out for is if the variety is classed as a Triploid. These are poor pollinating partners - the most well known being Bramley’s seedling. To enable pollination of these flowers you will need 2 other trees of different varieties.


Pears come from 2 different rootstocks.

Rootstock Height
Quince A 3-4.5m (15ft)
Quince C 2.5-3m (10-12ft)

Table to show the different heights between different pear rootstocks

The same rules apply to pollination as they do for apples. Even though 'conference' is described as self-fertile you will get a lot more pears if you plant 2 different varieties.


Plums also come on 2 different rootstocks.

Rootstock Height
St Julian A 5m (15ft)
 Pixy 3m (10ft)

Table to show the different heights between different plum rootstocks

The only 2 strong self-fertile varieties are Czar (cooking) and Victoria (eating). All the others require a pollinating partner.


Cherries tend to be self-fertile. The two rootstocks available are:

 Rootstock  Height
 Gisela  2.4-3m (6-10ft)
 Colt  6m (15-20ft)

Table to show the different heights between different cherry rootstocks

We hope this has helped you on your way to choosing the right tree. If you are still unsure then come in and see us. There is always someone here who can help.     

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