Wildlife habitat, Permaculture, Orchard, Edible Lanscape and Garden Design. Cambridge.

Orchards (2). Poor pear trees.


Today I went up to the community orchard and pampered some young pear trees which have suffered badly from some human, weather and pest vandalism. They were planted to grow as espalier trees but are all over the place, Some have shoots everywhere except where they should be and some have virtually no side shoots, in fact one has no branch side shoots at all – just fruit buds on a stick.

Young pear tree not thinking of being trained at all

Not only are they all over the place – they just aren’t growing, so I thought the first thing was to pamper them. I have mulched them with compost followed by a layer of thick cardboard followed by a layer of the free soil improver that is made from recycled green waste. Hopefully the worms will start to mix in the compost so the soil is in better shape come spring and the cardboard and soil improver will slowly get incorporated over time. Mulching is super important for newly planted young trees especially when they are on a dwarfing root stock like these pear trees; dwarfing rootstocks are whimps when it comes to a bit of competition. Mulching at this stage isn’t so much about improving soil condition (although it does) as reducing interferance from the roots of other plants – particularly grass. The grass roots are dense and compete for space, water and nutrients but in addition to this they use up oxygen and produce carbon dioxide leaving the tree roots short of oxygen for respiration and plant growth. So all in all grass roots are very bad news for a young trees – effectively constricting, dehydrating, starving and suffocating them.

So much for the romance of planting a new orchard in a wild flower meadow.

Posted in Orchards

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