Q: Are your fruit trees organic?
A: It's a question that I am sometimes asked. To produce one of my
nursery grown one year (Maiden) trees takes four years. I start with a
two year old rootstock which has been transplanted once in a bed before
lining out for grafting on my nursery. The summer following planting it is
bud grafted or field grafted in the following February. It then spends
the following year making its initial 'maiden' or one year growth, sometimes up to
nine feet for the most vigorous and as little as two feet for the
My nursery ground is not registered with the Soil
Association but I do use absolutely minimal pesticides and herbicides,
preferring regular mechanical cultivation with techniques and equipment
that I believe are unique. This opens up the soil and keeps weeds at
bay. I know that if a plant is growing well it is resistant to aphid and
other pest attack. Many large nurseries blast the whole crop every week
with a cocktail of pesticide and fungicide. I will not do this and I
believe the benefits of natural crop production are transferred to
customers gardens with my trees. I will use some pesticide however to
'spot treat' if there is no other alternative while
your trees are forming their tender initial framework and to neglect
them would be detrimental.
If your aim is for organic fruit only then
this is achievable in your first crops with my trees. Its realistic to assume that meaningful production will start in the fourth year after planting and so you can be certain that the fruit then produced is technically
'organic' and true to that 'label' as it is used today.
See my 'Pruning and Aftercare' page - I have incorporated organic methods here - Its a work in progress and much to be added soon.
"Paul loves apple trees and insists that he sells each and every tree as a potential 100 year old providing generations with fruit" (Monty Don, President of the Soil Association)