This is our 9th year of orchard grants. Over 4000 new trees have given over 300 orchards a new lease of life.
Why are we giving out grants for traditional orchards? | Who is able to apply for grants? | What do the grants cover? | How many trees should I apply for? | How do I apply for the grant? | Suppliers | What next?
ORCHARD GRANTS ARE CLOSED
Applications can still be made, but they won’t be assessed until the autumn
Why are we giving out grants for traditional orchards?
The future of biodiversity-rich traditional orchards depends on the conservation of this valuable habitat. The change of orchard management during the 20th Century and intensification of fruit growing has lead to huge losses of traditionally managed, biodiverse orchards. Of the orchards that remain, our traditional orchard inventory shows that the most effective way of improving the condition of an orchard is to encourage replacement planting and filling the gaps in orchards when old trees inevitably go to the great orchard in the sky. Old trees with veteran features such as rot holes provide the best available habitats in an orchard, but we are helping to plant new trees in these orchards to secure the next hundred years of orchard wildlife.
One of the few growth areas for traditionally managed orchards are community orchards. Any orchard accessible to a community group, whether that’s a school, local street, or country park, can apply for trees through our grants programme.
The grants we are offering will help fund this replacement planting for traditional orchards that are in need of new trees, or planting in publicly accessible orchards, either through covering the cost of the trees themselves, or the cost of rootstocks onto which existing varieties in your orchard, or a variety of your choice, can be grafted.
There have been thousands of fruit varieties raised and grown in the British Isles, many now sadly lost, the remaining ones surviving in people’s orchards around the country and in specialist collections. Grafting new trees from the varieties you already have in your orchard can keep these varieties going and can preserve local heritage in your own orchard.
Who is able to apply for grants?
This grant scheme ultimately aims to get new trees planted in old orchards and to help community orchards be planted with at least a few vigorous trees. We hope to improve and protect traditional orchards as biodiverse habitats in the long term. For this reason the grant is open to any owner or manager of an existing traditional orchard, or existing or new community orchard. If you do not own the orchard yourself, make sure you have the landowner’s permission before applying for the grant.
To apply, you need to be 18 or over and have filled in a short orchard questionnaire on our website. This gives us a better picture of the condition of traditional orchards, enabling more effective, targeted action to restore and protect this priority habitat.
What do the grants cover?
Rootstock and grafting materials
If you can get scionwood for varieties you wish to grow or have old trees in your orchard that you would like to propagate, even if you don’t know the variety, our grant scheme will send you rootstock, grafting para-film tape and grafting wax. See our grafting tutorial here. Grafting is not difficult, but training from an experienced practitioner can be helpful – contact email@example.com to enquire about professional trainers in your area.
You can take fruit samples to apple days to get them identified and you may find your orchard is already planted with local, heritage or rare varieties. There is guidance on the practical guide pages of the website describing how to select the scion wood (the variety being grafted) and how to graft these to the rootstocks. Rootstock will be supplied in multiples of five. Variety scions can be bought from some nurseries or from the National Fruit collection, or there are a few scionwood-exchange days around the country where you can buy or swap varieties.
The rootstock and grafting kits will be sent directly to you.
Alternatively the grants will pay up to £20/tree for fruit trees on a vigorous rootstock. Trees can be pruned into a standard or semi-standard form. Again, we encourage you to consider getting local or heritage varieties for your orchard which may be better suited to growing in your area, and would be help to secure their future. Apple days are a great place to discover and taste interesting and local varieties. You might need to request suppliers to graft your chosen variety onto vigorous rootstock for you. This will be done in winter when the trees are dormant, and will be grown on for a year before being sent to you for planting. This is fine under the grants scheme
If applying for trees, we will contact you by email to confirm your application and let you know the maximum outlay that can be recovered from PTES.
Both the rootstock and trees options will be for vigorous rootstocks only, with a few exceptions, as they provide better and longer-lived habitat for biodiversity. For apple trees this will probably be either M25 or MM111, Kirchensaler or pyrus communis for pears, Brompton or myrobalan for plums, damsons or gages, and F12.1 or mazzard for cherries. Seedling rootstock is also acceptable.
How many trees should I apply for?
Our grants will cover up to four fruit trees per quarter acre of orchard (10 per quarter hectare), with larger orchards being assessed on a case by case basis. This equates to roughly half the trees required to fully stock a traditional orchard at a ten metre spacing. We encourage new community orchard applicants to seek match funding.
Work out how many trees you want to plant or have space for. Unpruned, standard trees can grow to four or five metres, or double that for pear trees, though it is possible with a bit of pruning work to restrain the height (semi-standard form). They should be planted at the very least seven metres apart. They might look tiny when you put them in but overcrowding can lead to increased pest and disease problems and poor performance as less air and light reaches the developing fruit. We recommend walking round your orchard and mapping out where you would like to place your new trees before applying, so that you know how many you can accommodate.
Below is a list of suggested suppliers to source trees from for this grant. They offer good quality trees and a wide range of varieties, including trees on rootstocks that form full size trees. If you would like to use a supplier who is not on the list please ask them if they supply vigorous rootstock trees, and then contact us before making your purchase at firstname.lastname@example.org for verification. To keep the postage costs down and enable our funds to go further please try to buy all your trees from one supplier, although we understand that this is not always possible.
There are lots of old and interesting varieties available, so be adventurous.
IMPORTANT: Although we only fund trees on vigorous rootstocks, there are a few minor exemptions such as exceptionally vigorous apple tree varieties that can be grafted to MM106, or medlars being grafted to Quince A as there are no available alternatives.
How do I apply for the grant?
1. Make sure you have completed the orchard questionnaire so that your orchard has an ID code. It is important for PTES to account for the grant funds we award and to see where we are having an impact. Please do not apply for a grant until the land is registered as an orchard, even if there are currently no trees, and you have the orchard ID code.
3. We will send you a confirmation email of your application.
4. Await an email confirming whether your grant has been successful. The grants pot is quite modest and we receive a lot of applications, so you may only get a portion of what you have applied for.
5. If you are applying for rootstock and grafting kits, these will be sent directly to you.
6. If you are applying for pre-grafted trees, you will need to place your order with a suggested or approved supplier and pay, and then send us the receipt. We will then reimburse you either through direct bank transfer (send us your account details with the receipt) or by cheque.
7. Let us know when you have planted your trees and which varieties you planted so we can update our records.
Your young trees will need to be planted and protected from anything that might nibble them, like rabbits or deer. Rabbit proof tree guards can be bought inexpensively online, or you can construct a barrier against larger animals. This could be anything from a wire fence supported by posts, to three wood pallets tied together around your tree. If your orchard is grazed, heavy duty stock guards will be necessary. Whatever fence you construct you should be able to get to the tree easily enough yourself to carry out maintenance such as weeding around the base of the tree, or formative pruning.
These grants are being awarded on a first come first serve basis, so don’t delay.
We’ll take down this webpage when the funds have all been allocated.