The beauty of purchasing a house with an empty garden is there is no guilt in pulling out mature plants that were someone else’s choice and love. The house having been a rental property came with a LOT of low maintenance but incredibly boring Agapathus. It took nearly two skip bins to see them off and digging them out was some seriously hard work.
The rear section came with a mature wild cherry, lemon tree, dwarf apple and two leaf-curl ridden peach and nectarine trees. The lemon has finally come back to life this season after two years of sulking. Despite fertilising, pruning and covering its shallow roots, it was looking rather sad and in line for the chop. I even bought a replacement Meyer as a standby. Perhaps this was the prompt it needed and now there are plenty of small-medium sized fruit with lovely smooth skins. Nothing like the scabby fruit there at the beginning. It can stay!
The dwarf apple tree was covered in lichen which was painstakingly pulled off. It then needed staking after a lifetime of living at a 30 degree angle. It seems to produce fruit only every second year. I don’t know why.
But it was the peach and nectarine trees which caused the biggest quandary. A friend said “you have too many trees in your garden”. This was probably even more true once the house was extended, and the lawn reduced by a third. The nectarine was small, but plugged a strategic gap through to my neighbour’s garden. The peach tree was mature but too close to the house extension.
Over the past two years as I’ve worked through finishing the house, the garden has been mostly neglected aside from a rigorous copper spray treatment for both of these trees. Despite this, each spring the dreaded leaf curl has returned and this last summer it affected all of the peach fruit. The nectarine produced none. It may be that the problem was so long standing that it over winters in the garden on the lawn, among discarded leaves. Either way, I made the decision this winter to remove both trees. It was sad to do, inheriting mature fruit trees is such an advantage. But they were limiting what I could do with the garden and there were no guarantees how many productive years they had left, even if they had produced edible fruit. It has made quite a transformation in terms of light and views, although I am a little more exposed to the neighbours. Time to start thinking about what to replace them with …