Brimstage Orchard: the Orchard Book, Ch. 15


A6, B3, B4, C9, C10, C11, E11, E12, F10, G13, H9

C11: small purple plum
C9: small plum
grafting programme:

Westmoreland Damsons have been grafted onto C6, C7 and C8 and will need some regrafting. We have also grafted on Mirabelle de Nancy, and are looking for some local variant of Old Greengage

some of the rootstocks have sent up runners, and those furtest away from the parent tree are being grafted, for transplanting in November

C10: small plum
a small mystery: the orchard receipts show
7 x BlueTit, 8 x Maris No. 1, 6 x Violetta
all on St Julien A rootstocks
plus  6 x Excaliber, on "1/2 Stardance" rootstocks. (we don't know what these were: supplier had substituted for the requested SJA.) We will try and check which varieties have survived by checking fruit in 2016. All were bought in 1999: we have now 11 plums and 2 rampant St. Julien A rootstocks. St Julien A suits orchards with poor soil and grass.
Our options include regrafting onto the rootstocks with stronger old varieties, including  Old Green Gage, Early Prolific or even apricots, almonds or Loquats/Japanese Plums.
Pruning: no winter pruning to avoid silverleaf.
Summer pruning to strengthen shape and allow good air circulation. General management is to provide a watching brief, check fertility, remove suckers and weed round the bases.
History: good crops in 2012, 2013, 2016 & 2018, but bent banana blight in 2019, bad brown rot in 2014, but effective pruning and cleaning up affected fruit and branches helped. Small early crops in 2015 were tasty, showed no brown rot but disappeared quickly!
2020 had very good quality fruit, very very few of them - poor weather at pollination time is probably the cause.