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Orchard grants

We are pleased to announce that over the course of 6 months we funded the planting of 1,500 fruit trees in traditional orchards across the UK, helping to safeguard these  habitats for future generations.

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 OPEN

Why are we giving out grants for traditional orchards?

The future of biodiversity-rich traditional orchards depends on the conservation of these valuable habitat sites. Old trees with veteran features such as rot holes provide the best available habitats in an orchard, but we need to plant new trees to secure the next hundred years of orchard wildlife.

The change of orchard management during the 20th Century and contraction 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.

The grants we are offering will help fund this replacement planting for traditional orchards that are in need of new trees, 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 is specifically set up 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. This could be a community orchard, an orchard you manage, or one that you own yourself. 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 owner’s questionnaire, which can be downloaded from our website. This gives us a better picture of the condition of traditional orchards, enabling more effective, targeted action to restore and protect these vital wildlife hotspots.

What do the grants cover?

Rootstock and grafting materials

If you 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. 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 that you can propagate yourself. 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.

The rootstock and grafting kits will be sent directly to you.

Trees

Alternatively the grants can cover maiden (one year old) fruit trees on rootstock that produce full standard trees. 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.

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 will be for full standard trees as they provide better and longer-lived habitat for biodiversity. For apple trees this will be either M25 or MM111, pyrus communis for pears, Brompton for Plums Damsons or Gages and F 12/1 (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, with larger orchards being assessed on a case by case basis.

Work out how many trees you want to plant or have space for. Standard trees can grow to about five metres, or double that for pear trees, though it is possible with a bit of pruning work to restrain the height. They should be planted at least eight 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 suppliers that you can purchase 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 contact us at orchards@ptes.org so that we can verify that they supply suitable trees. To keep the postage costs down and enable our funds to go further please buy all your trees from one supplier.

There are lots of old and interesting varieties available, so be adventurous.

How do I apply for the grant?

1. Make sure you have completed the orchard owner’s questionnaire so that we know the code for your orchard. It is important for PTES to account for the grant funds we award, and this is a great way for us to see where we are having an impact.

2. Complete the grant application form with details about yourself, your orchard and how many trees you are applying for. You can fill in the form online, or download print and post it back to us.

3. We will send you a confirmation email of your application.

4. If you are applying for rootstock and grafting kits, these will be sent directly to you.

5. If you are applying for pre-grafted trees, you will need to place your order with one of the suggested suppliers, and then send us the receipt. We will then reimburse you either through direct bank transfer or by cheque.

6. Let us know when you have planted your trees so we can update our records. 

+ Tree suppliers

The suggested suppliers below produce good quality trees and a wide range of varieties, including trees on rootstocks that form full size trees. However with thousands of varieties in existence, you might find that the variety you would like to plant isn’t in their listings. Most of the nurseries below will also graft trees to request, so you can get whichever rare, local or heritage variety you like as long as graft material can be sourced. Please contact us at orchards@ptes.org if you would like to use a supplier that is not listed here. Please try to buy all your trees from one supplier, as this will keep the postage costs down, enabling our funds to go further.

Keepers Nursery – specialist fruit tree nursery with over 600 varieties. This includes hundreds of varieties of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees, as well as more unusual fruit trees such as quince, medlar and mulberry. The website also offers a vast range of online information on hundreds of varieties of fruit trees, useful means of selecting suitable trees, as well as valuable advice on growing fruit trees.

Walcot Nursery – Located in the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire they offer a wide selection and to assist customers in making their choice in planting fruit trees. All are dispatched bare rooted from late November until April while dormant. The fruit tree nursery has been established to grow organic fruit trees for sale suitable for all situations from small gardens to traditional orchards.

Welsh Mountain Cider – Stock an extensive range of heritage and modern apple and pear varieties. They have hundreds of types of apple and pear trees available; cider apple trees and perry pears, heritage dessert and cooking apples and pears from around the world, including Welsh apples, Somerset, Devon, Herefordshire and Yorkshire apple varieties, and locally collected Welsh apple varieties exclusive to their Welsh Mountain Tree Nursery.

Adam’s Apples – Adam and his wife Kim have been running their nursery in the heart of Devon for over 20 years. They grow a wide variety of high quality apple trees, whilst also growing other fruit trees and fruit bushes, apples remain their specialty.

Chris Bowers – The Chris Bowers nursery has been cultivating fruit trees for over 30 years. They stock a range of the many hundreds of varieties, including specialist varieties as well as favourites.

Talaton Plants – Grow a wide variety of high quality apple trees. The majority of stock is bare-rooted and is supplied to orchards, smallholdings, farms, gardens and other nurseries at highly competitive prices.

gb-trees – A mail order apple tree nursery specialising in growing rare and heritage apple tree varieties suited to growing throughout the UK.  Constantly seeking out more rare and interesting cultivars not generally found at your local garden centre. They also have a great collection of Welsh, Irish and Scottish varieties.

Deacons – Supply over 350 different varieties of Apple tree, plus an extensive selection of other fruit trees such as Plum, Pear, Peach, Nectarine, Cherry and more.

Heritage fruit trees – The Heritage Fruit Tree Company is helping to save our fruit tree heritage. Over 200 varieties of Heritage Fruit trees in stock including apples,pears,cherries,plums and other top fruit and soft fruit.

Days Cottage Day’s Cottage propagate old and unusual varieties of apple and pear trees, specialising in local Gloucestershire varieties. Many of these have been bought back from the brink of extinction.

Dolau-hirion Fruit Trees – Situated in the picturesque Towy valley near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, they sell Welsh apple varieties and pear trees including a range of cider and perry types, and traditional English fruit trees suitable for growing in Wales including plums, damsons, gages, cherries, mulberries, medlars, hazels, bush fruit etc. Grafting service for apples and pears not in stock.

Frank P Matthews – Established in 1901 and based in rural Worcestershire, they grow over half a million fruit and ornamental trees every year, with over 200 different varieties of apple and many well-known and unusual fruit trees.

Lodge Farm trees  – A small nursery growing and selling traditional and rare varieties of   fruit trees. They have been working closely with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust and are currently propagating old rare apple, pear and plum varieties originating from the Gloucestershire area, some of which have never been commercially available before.

Plants and apples – A family business, rooted in Perthshire. Appletreeman propagates and sells hardy, heritage and Scottish fruit trees.

South Lakeland Orchard Group – trees available by collection, ask for MM111 or M25 rootstock trees.

Tom the Apple Man – All types of fruit, available on standard rootstock. Specialises in West country and Welsh varieties.

John Worle Ltd – specialise in cider apple and perry pear trees, offering a large selection of first class trees of exceptional value and of interest to the artisan or craft cider-maker as well as varieties for the grower supplying the larger cider companies.

What next?

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.

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