Most types of fruit trees flower early, even in a sheltered spot, the blossom can be affected by frost. Once the flowering stage is reached in early spring it is advisable to check the weather forecast daily and, with the exception of the most frost tolerant apples, to have some fleece ready to cover the trees if a damaging frost is likely.
Apricots, which flower particularly early when pollinating insects are scarce, often benefit from hand pollination with a soft brush. Don’t be alarmed if you notice some of the fruitlets dropping in June. This is nature’s way of shedding excess fruit so that the remaining fruit will develop fully. This can be helped by removing fruit leaving the best on the tree, a suitable distance apart is 15-23cm (6-9in) for cooking apples, 10-15cm (4-6in) for desert apples and Pears, 5-8cm (2-3in) for plums, 7-10cm (3-4in) for apricots and 20cm (8in) for peaches.
Patio & Container Trees
The ideal size container for patio trees is 20-30 litres for the first year. After the first year, you will need to re-pot the tree into a larger container 35-60 litres in size. Place some large stones or broken pots in the bottom of the container to allow for drainage and then use a mixture of normal soil and compost for planting; using just compost will let your tree dry out too quickly. Stand the tree upright in the container and fan the roots out. Fill with soil and compost mix up to the base of the tree, where the trunk and roots join. Leave 2-3in between the soil level and top of the container. Water in well and do not allow to dry out. Feed during the growing season.