Morello Fan, Wilko Style

Following on from theĀ tragic demise of one of the blackberries, I’ve been replanting the slightly shady north-west facing wall of the garage. I’ve put in a couple of different varieties of dwarf chaenomeles, and with the addition of a Morello cherry the line-up is now complete.

Sour cherry fans are a bit of a classic for shady north-ish facing walls. Most dessert fruits don’t do well in that situation because sunlight is needed to develop the sugars, but since that isn’t so much of an issue for sour cherries they’re more likely to cope with the shade.

I’ve been thinking about growing one for a while now, as I certainly have plenty of north facing space thanks to the neighbours’ leylandii hedge, but much of the space would be in the rootzone of the hedge and not a great place to plant a fruit tree. The loss of the blackberry opened up and acceptable spot, and then I came across the perfect tree for fan training at Wilkos.

Wilkos are more miss than hit for bare root trees, since they keep them in warm stores and then leave them without water and soil as they leaf out then die. And the same happened in this case – the bare-root tree below was leafing out in early February, until I rescued it. It’s a morello cherry with plenty of branches low done on the stem, in the perfect place to form the arms for a fan.

Below you can see the posts and wires installed and postcreted in to provide support, and the bamboo canes to train the arms of the fan:

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And here’s the tree itself, slanted forward to put the roots further from the wall. Later in spring I’ll cut the trunk just above the lower branches, where the three canes cross:

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It seems a shame since there are quite a few flower buds on the top half which I’ll cut off, but the Wilkos treatment has put the tree ahead of where it should be anyway so I’m not sure the chances of fruit are high anyway.