Sunday 30 January 2022

A good Apple Tree Book

I'm quite often asked about recommending a good apple tree book. Especially about training and grafting.

There are hundreds out there, some great, some not. One I often recommend is form the 1940's, Fruit Tree Growing by Raymond Bush (if there was ever a name for a fruit tree book). Not everything in there is gold (they're just getting into sprays and stuff), but the chapter on grafting is good. 

Although it's old it written in quite a light and humorous way, with instructions that are easy to follow. There are of course many other techniques out there, but this has a good handle on the basics. Also it shouldn't cost more than about £3 so I'm not recommending to someone to spend a fortune. 

 One thing I will say is that with fruit tree growing, grafting and training, it's just to have a go. You can pick up a cheap supermarket fruit tree for £5 most springs so it's worth buying one and just seeing how you can implement the knowledge in these book. Stuff normally grows back and they're surprisingly hard to kill (so long as you keep watering them). It's worth getting a few and having them in pots on the patio, make a framework of bamboo (hazel even better) and then just train them over a few summers into different shapes. 

The same with grafting, make some family trees, try budding in late summer, cut a branch off an older tree and try to cleft graft. Invest a few pounds and buy some rootstocks on the internet and create your own trees, if they take you can sell them easily and cover your costs and you will have learnt far more than if you just read about it. 

In fact after writing this I think I will get a few cheap apple trees and train them in pots on the patio to show how to do this. Should be fun. 

Do you have  fruit tree book you recommend or turn to?


  1. My uncle had an orchard in his back yard with half a dozen trees, each had about 6 or 8 varieties grafted on. He was a give-it-a-go grafter and would try buds off any variety his friends and neighbours had that he particularly liked (apples mostly but also pears and plums)

    1. I think that's great! I donated and planted some trees to the school with the intention of doing this to the one in the middle. Unfortunately the soil is so poor that the tree has hardly grown at all so need to wait before I do any grafting to it.

  2. Five Acres and Independence by M.G. Kains first published in 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression. Several chapters on fruit. An excellent handbook for anyone who is interested in sustainability. I learn something new every time I read it. My edition has a 1975 copywrite. "The land. That is where our roots are. The farther we get away from the land, the greater our insecurity. ..... No unemployment insurance can be compared to an alliance between man and a plot of land". Henry Ford A quote from the title page.

    1. That's a book I've often thought about reading. I'm going to add it to my list and make sure I read it this year. I'm currently reading "A Small Farm Future" which is talking about how the future might be smaller farms and more labour involved, but I fear it'll go the other way with a persons hands often never touching what we eat.


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