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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM

Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit

Herbs & Other
Edible Plants.

Environmental Issues And Going Green.

Vines And Other Climbing Plants.

Fish Ponds

Books By
Alan J Hartley



Problems With Fruit Trees And Bushes.

I have quite a nice little collection of Fruit Bushes on my Allotment now that have mainly been raised from cuttings. Most people don’t realise just how easily Black Currant and Gooseberry bushes will root from cuttings. Yes, to get a particular variety you will have to buy one initially, but then it is so easy to multiply it up by taking cuttings. In fact they make a good bargaining tool on the Allotment to provide “Swaps,” for other things that fellow plot-holders might have, but you don’t. One thing to remember about any plant when you take cuttings is that with some plants, new varieties in particular, they are often grown “Under Licence.” Basically this means that they are Copyright protected and anybody growing them has to do so with the permission of the Licence holder and pay them a fee per plant. It is unlikely that an ordinary gardener producing one, or two plants for themselves would be prosecuted, but technically they are breaking the law and could be. Last year I potted up about a dozen rooted cuttings of Currant bushes from my allotment and took them to my favourite local charity, Oak Tree Farm Rural Project. They will be able to add them to the plants they grow and then sell them. In fact Oak Tree have just had an “Open Day,” when they sold several of my little Bay Trees, so I have bought some more seedlings. Little pots of Bay seedlings were recently being sold for the princely sum of 99p, by a local Greengrocers, simply as a growing bunch of herb leaves to be plucked and then the young plants discarded. However, carefully divided, the pot yielded a dozen tiny little Bay Trees that I can, hopefully, grow on. I have about 8 nicely growing bushes on my Allotment and a row of 9, or 10 against a wall in my garden at home that were divided from a similar pot full a few years ago. I decided to grow some more different trees for Oak Tree as they have definitely created a bit of interest there. With this in mind I got some young Palm trees that had been grown with several in a pot and have divided them with some success, but they don’t look much yet.

The 4 cheap apple trees that I tried to “Bud,” or “Graft,” for Oak Tree with a cutting from one of their trees are not developing as I had hoped. The grafts on 3 of them seem to have taken, but the buds are not breaking. I have tried cutting the tops off the trees above the grafts to force the sap into the last bud on the stem and make it grow, but as yet that hasn’t worked either and the buds are still dormant.

At home I have a young sapling of an uncommon Red Hazel growing on that was taken from a self-rooted underground shoot. It is not just Fig Trees and Hazel tree though, that will grow like this and provide easy young plants, as I have a lovely Variegated Acuba in my garden at home that readily provides self rooted cuttings. Indeed it can be a bit of a nuisance as it does spread by this method a little to readily at times! Of course some trees provide free saplings from their self-set seeds and Hazel Trees are a case in point. However, there is nothing nicer than picking your own Hazel Nuts in the Autumn and they have proved popular at Oak Tree, so I will have to get some more saplings from around my Brothers tree in his garden. I never seem to get any saplings from my tree at home, perhaps because I pick every last nut!

At home I have a special Fig tree called Ice Crystal from which I have managed to take a self-rooted cutting that was emerging from below the soil level. Not only does this give me a “Spare,” plant, but it tidies the tree up as Figs are wont to shoot from just about anywhere and can easily become a tangled mess if not pruned occasionally. I do already have one small Ice Crystal tree on my allotment in one of the special “Root Training,” pots. At home I have another uncommon, Variegated Fig Tree that I am hoping to get a rooted cuttings from. Because the tree is not very well developed yet, there are not many branches to play with, so I am trying “Air Layering,” on one particularly long one. This involves wrapping a part of the branch in a ball of damp soil bound with newspaper, a plastic bag and tied up at both ends with string. Hopefully, when I pluck up the courage to unwrap it in the Spring, next year, I will find some roots coming from the stem and I can cut the shoot off and pot it up as a separate young tree.

It was planned that one, or more of my Mulberry Trees would be planted on my Allotment, but for some reason that never happened and they are growing happily in the garden at home. At least 2 of them are, because, the third tree has been strangled by a tie on label that had been left on and that got to tight round the trunk. The tie cut into the trunk and cut the flow of sap. Quite often when this happens the tree will simply grow over the tie, but in this case it enabled infection to get into the trunk and kill the tree. I did another silly trick when I put a new fence post in too close to my lovely Peach tree last year as I damaged the roots, although it is starting to recover a little. My pride and joy, my exotic Sharon fruit tree seems very brittle as it has had several branches break in the winter winds. I have tried cutting back them back and they are now shooting, but the tree is lop-sided.

My Mini Kiwi vine on the Allotment has been repeatedly damaged by late cold nights with the young leaves starting to unfurl and then turning black and dying. Whereas the one at home on the sheltered house wall is in full growth at home.

Growing fruit trees and bushes can be a lot of fun, but they certainly don’t come without their problems! 


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