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                                                 APPLE TREE SELECTION

       The notes below were written to give advice about planting an apple tree in a small garden.

After thinking about your tree plans for a while, I realised that fruit trees generally are NOT :

a) very attractive

b) very good for sitting under for shade

c) very good for keeping clean if fruit drops

So, I suggest you do not use a standard fruit tree for planting near the house.

It might be better to find a suitable corner of the garden and plant small bush/cordon/fan/espalier or minarette(ballerina) trees, then choose one or two ornamental tress for your main features.

The following comments are bound to be generalisations, but it seems that to get guaranteed results you need to plant cross pollinating apples, although as discussed, many people get away with not doing so: and of course there are some self-fertile varieties.

Click on these for useful help:

RHS advice pages


Buckingham nurseries  pollination guide



Probably the most important feature, often not well labelled in the garden centres.  Looks like M27 or M9 for the small bushes/cordons.


As discussed, a plum of the right type is self fertile (e.g. Victoria).  Note that they make a mess when the fruit falls and attract wasps. Don't plant near to the house.

The Buckingham site lists suitable pollinators, but you will have to think about the relative merits of dessert vs culinary apples. Also see pages 376/377 of the RHS encyclopaedia.  Note that  triploid varieties need TWO pollinators.

You can also get fruits for different times of the season, although they often overlap.


Something else often not clear in the garden centres is the fruiting STYLE of the trees. You can get 'spur'  fruiting or  'tip'  fruiting varieties. Generally the spur fruiting types are more compact, but later on they will need different pruning techniques.