Asked by: Sylvie from London, 14-Mar-2019
Can you tell me if you sell organic trees or if not then what has been used on them?
Thanks for your interesting question. We are not an organic nursery and currently have no plans to seek organic status. Most of our trees are raised using regular herbicide or fungicide treatments as required, although we keep these to a minimum consistent with selling healthy trees. We certainly don't spray unnecessarily because of the cost of the materials and the time to apply them.
It is not usually necessary to apply further treatments after mid-summer, so trees sold in spring will have been untouched for 3-6 months.
We also undertake special projects from time to time, and these are invariably under a 'no treatment' regime. This is arguably better than an organic regime since the latter still allows the use of copper-based treatments which some people might feel are not 'organic'. Incidentally we always advise customers that trees raised this way will be smaller - and therefore weaker - than conventionally-raised trees.
It is also worth noting that it will be several years before a fruit tree starts producing fruit, during which time it will be growing in the customer's garden or orchard, in an organic or un-treated regime if desired. Fruit trees are very different in this respect to annual crops such as tomatoes or carrots. For this reason even trees sold to commercial organic orchards are invariably raised in a conventional nursery, but still certified for organic production - a process known as derogation. That might sound strange, but if you think about it, if you have a conventional farm and want to convert to organic status you will go through a period of several years transition - which is what happens naturally to a growing fruit tree even if it was propagated using conventional methods in a nursery.
Perhaps the main point is that if you buy a tree and grow it yourself, with or without chemicals, you have complete control over the environment in which the tree grows. When it starts to bear fruit, you will not have to read a label to find out where the fruit came from or how it was produced - you will know because it is your tree, a tree which you have watered and weeded and watched grow from a small stick into a mature tree. That is one of the best reasons to grow your own fruit trees.