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Rhs level 2 certificate year 1 week 23
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Rhs level 2 certificate year 1 week 23

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  • 1. RHS Level 2 Certificate Week 23 – Top Fruit
  • 2. Learning Outcomes
    • 1. Top fruit .
    • 1.1 List the factors to be considered when choosing suitable cultivars and rootstocks for top fruit.
    • 1.2 Explain the importance of pollination for top fruit and the concept of pollination groups.
    • 1.3 Describe the factors in choosing a suitable site for an orchard
    • 2 For named varieties of each of apple (pollination groups 1-5), pear and plum, state
    • 2.1: rootstock requirements, and fruiting habit (apples only)
    • 2.2 planting, feeding and pruning requirements (for both natural and restricted forms and for tip and spur bearers)
    • 2.3 describe bush, espalier, fan and cordon pruning
    • 2.4 describe 2 pests and 2 diseases for each and their controls
    • 2.5 describe harvesting and storage requirements for each
  • 3. Site for an orchard
    • Sheltered – top fruit depends on bees for pollination so windbreaks will improve fruit set.
    • Sunny- south facing aspect for best ripening
    • Good depth of soil
    • pH 6.5-7.0 ideally.
    • Frost protection – avoid frost pockets; use of fleece, water sprinklers, heaters.
  • 4. Pollination
    • Some top fruit are self fertile to some extent but this is not reliable and yields are better with cross pollination.
    • Pollination groups provide a guide as to when the variety will flower. Need varieties in the same or adjoining groups for sucessful pollination.
  • 5. Rootstocks
    • Top fruit trees do not grow to manageable sizes on their own roots.
    • Dwarfing rootstocks enable control of size
    • Dwarfing rootstocks also mean that the tree reaches maturity more quickly and fruits earlier
    • MM rootstocks have woolly aphid resistance
  • 6. Top Fruit Tree Forms
    • Unrestricted – standard and half standard and bush forms. Grown on semi-dwarfing or vigorous root stocks, winter pruned (except for Plums which are only pruned in Summer)
    • Restricted – espalier, cordon, fan. Grown on dwarfing or semi-dwarfing rootstocks and summer pruned.
  • 7. Advantages and disadvantages of restricted forms
    • Advantages: Fruit earlier than unrestricted forms. More fruit/more varieties for less space. Easier to spray and harvest. Will fit into small spaces.
    • Disadvantages: Grown on dwarfing stocks that need better soil and tolerate drought less well. Need more skill to prune. Tip bearing varieties of apple cannot be grown in this way.
  • 8. Pruning - winter
    • Winter pruning – Apples and pears (spur fruiting). Reduce new growth on branch leaders by 1/3. Prune laterals to 3-4 buds. Thin spurs if too congested. Remove unproductive shoots and water shoots and any dead, diseased or crossing wood. Can you throw your hat through the tree?
    • Tip bearing apples – reduce branch leaders as before. Leave laterals that have fruit buds at the tip. Prune any others to 3-4 buds from the base of the new growth to encourage fruiting laterals to develop. Remove dead, diseased etc wood as before.
  • 9. Pruning - Summer
    • Apples and pears in restricted forms. Shorten leaders to 2-3cm new growth. Prune laterals to 3 buds. Thin spurs. Remove any shoots that are growing the ‘wrong way’ e.g. into the wall.
    • Plums – tree forms. Remove dead, diseased and crossing wood and prune as necessary to control size by removing branches.
    • Plums – Fans. Prune as for restricted apples.
  • 10. Feeding
    • Nitrogen – encourages leafy growth. Limited requirement unless on dwarf stock in restricted form.
    • Phosphorous – promotes root development and cold hardiness. Some supplementation required.
    • Potassium – promotes fruit formation. Likely to need feeding in winter by applying Sulphate of Potash or wood ash to the base of each tree.
    • Calcium – deficiency causes Bitter Pit. Applied in liquid form as a foliar feed.
  • 11. Apples – pests and diseases
    • Aphid (especially woolly aphid)
    • Codling moth
    • Canker
    • Apple scab
  • 12. Pears – pests and diseases
    • Pear leaf blister mite
    • Aphids
    • Pear rust
    • Fireblight
  • 13. Plums – pests and diseases
    • Aphids
    • Plum sawfly
    • Silverleaf disease
    • Canker
  • 14. Harvesting and storage
    • Apples – pick once they lift off in a cupped hand. Store in dark, cool place with moderate humidity (plastic bags with holes in in a dark shed)
    • Pears – store less well. As for apples but do not wrap.
    • Plums – jam, bottle or freeze when cooked.
  • 15. Learning outcomes
    • 1. Top fruit .
    • 1.1 List the factors to be considered when choosing suitable cultivars and rootstocks for top fruit.
    • 1.2 Explain the importance of pollination for top fruit and the concept of pollination groups.
    • 1.3 Describe the factors in choosing a suitable site for an orchard
    • 2 For named varieties of each of apple (pollination groups 1-5), pear and plum, state
    • 2.1: rootstock requirements, and fruiting habit (apples only)
    • 2.2 planting, feeding and pruning requirements (for both natural and restricted forms and for tip and spur bearers)
    • 2.3 describe bush, espalier, fan and cordon pruning
    • 2.4 describe 2 pests and 2 diseases for each and their controls
    • 2.5 describe harvesting and storage requirements for each