Fruit and Nut
Updated 10th March 2018
Following disruption from the snow and snow melt, the lifting and despatch of trees has recommenced (8th March). All despatches are running late and we ask for customers' patience. The good news is that the cold weather this spring means trees will leaf several weeks later than has been typical in recent years so the safe planting season for barerooted stock will run well into April, and probably into May for late leafing species.
Unfortunately certain trees were beginning to come into bud before the recent cold weather and as a result have suffered damage. Most of our stock of hickories and hicans have been damaged.These trees are very frost hardy when dormant but unfortunately very susceptible to frost when growing. It is with regret we are unable to supply any hickory or hican this year and will refund customers accordingly.
New Nursery Site Sought!
Fruit and Nut nursery has to vacate its current location and is seeking to lease land on a long term basis (20 years or more). The nursery boasts one of the most diverse collections of nut trees in Europe (mainly as young trees) as well as extensive collections of fruit trees and rare conifers and would plan to relocate most of these trees on the new site too.
Preference would be for a location in Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim or Roscommon but all offers considered. For further information contact us by phone or email.
Land purchase also considered but no silly prices please!
We hope the transition to new premises will go smoothly but some disruption is unavoidable and our free advice service may be temporarily suspended.
Unfortunately, during the transition period it will not be possible to service any small barerooted orders, either fruit or nut: for the period autumn 2018-spring 2020 the minimum order size will be €500. Once the transition period has passed, the nursery hopes to resume small orders of apples, pears, plums, damsons and cherries, and all nut species in our range. Supply of container-grown trees will not be affected.
Contract growers wanted
The nursery is going to be short of space for growing on stock this year and is looking for contract growers to take on some of our apple and cobnut stock and grow it on for a year. Please contact us for further details.
Apple calendars 2018
Unique hand drawn calendars by UK- based horticulturalist and food security researcher (and former Fruit and Nut volunteer) Ella Sparks
Price 20.00 incl. postage (15.00 if collected). The calendars are A3 size. All proceeds go to food security research.
Larger image here
For 2019 Ella will be making a special nut calendar (commissioned by Fruit and Nut Nursery), featuring cobnuts, walnuts, heartnuts, chestnuts, pinenuts (several species) and araucaria, including historical information, interesting nut facts and top tips for growers (aimed primarily at growers in Ireland and the UK but suitable for all growers in cool temperate climates). Price 20.00 excl. delivery. Supply will be limited so be sure to order early!
Stock availability 2018
Nut trees nearly sold out!
Almonds, buartnuts, hickory and hican are sold out for 2018. Most heartnuts are sold out ( a few larger trees left).
Cobnuts also nearly sold out. We still have plenty of walnut trees
To avoid disappointment, we advise ordering asap.
Peach and quince are sold out. Most plums and cherries are now sold out for 2018.
We have a limited number of plums on Brompton (vigorous) rootstock.
Blueberries are sold out
Cider apples are also selling out. Brown's on MM106 is now sold out.
Growing cobnuts in Ireland: An examination of the commercial potential of cobnuts
New updated and revised version of the 2014 document. Included for the first time is cultural information for growers. From orchards examined by Fruit and Nut during the period 2014-2017, it is clear that poor or haphazard maintenance is a reoccurring theme. The new document places much more emphasis on site maintenance, particularly ground cover control. The document is now available upon request (pdf).
Latest research: Why cobnuts sometimes have very poor crops
On-going research from Fruit and Nut has determined that mild winters are causing cobnuts to produce male flowers earlier in the year. In some cases the male flowers are finishing before the female flowers emerge. Given the reality of global warming (and in Ireland's case milder winters), this trend is likely to become more pronounced. For the cobnut grower, the best remedial action is to planting at least one variety with late male flowers (for example Cosford). The nursery is working on developing a new very late flowering variety by crossing a particularly late flowering wild hazel (found growing close to the nursery) with Cosford.
The Future is Trees project - update
The nursery has been contacted by a number of landowners in relation to this project. So far, all the sites offered have been unsuitable, the main reason being that they were situated too far from Westport. In several cases, the terms of the lease offered was non-viable (the period of lease was too short). For the project to be viable, the minimum period of lease is 50 years. Further details can be found here
Seed grown chestnuts, walnuts and heartnuts a waste of time
We hear an increasing number of stories from people who planted seed grown chestnuts, walnuts and heartnuts, who are disappointed with the small or nonexistent yields. Our view is that as far as reliable nut production is concerned, seed grown trees of these species are not worth the gamble. Yes, with a large enough trial population some trees are bound to do well and this is of interest to researchers looking to develop new varieties but for successful nut production, we strongly advise using grafted or stooled trees of varieties proven in Irish conditions.
However, seed grown trees of some other nut species do succeed: for example pinenuts and Monkey Puzzle trees.
New lines 2018
American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
Long cultivated for its tart red berries, popular in cranberry sauce, the American cranberry requires moist, free draining acidic ground to do well. Providing those conditions are met, it is very easy to grow. Commercial producers construct special cranberry beds that can be briefly flooded several times a year. This helps reduce certain pests (generally only a problem in large scale production) and also facilitates harvest. However, for best results, the water table should be maintained for the rest of the year at 25-40cm below the ground surface. The American cranberry does not thrive in permanently waterlogged or very dry ground. The ideal pH is 4-5.
We offer the variety Pilgrim, a late high yielding variety with purple-red berries, popular in the United States since the 1960s and now grown commercially in Europe. More details to follow.
Cowberry/Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
Closely related to the cranberry, the cowberry is native to many European countries including Ireland. It is cultivated on a large scale in many countries, notably Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands. The berry is similar to the cranberry but sweeter and less astringent. Unlike the cranberry it does not require flooding. It prefers drier, well drained acid land but is much more tolerant of wind than the cranberry and probably will do well in Atlantic coastal regions. To the best of our knowledge it is not cultivated in Ireland.
We offer the following varieties:
Koralle. Light red berries, highly productive and reliable cropper. Slightly fussy in its soil requirements (requires very well drained soil)
Red Pearl. Dark red berries, more tolerant of less than ideal soil conditions but yields can be more variable.
Both varieties are highly ornamental. More details to follow.