Fruit trees for Aviemore, Scotland
I live near Aviemore in Scotland and would like to plant a few fruit trees - apple and plum I think are most likely to be successful. There were fruit trees in this area in the past. Can you advise on suitable varieties? We are at 280m and prone to late snow and frost (frequently into April, can be as late as June) and obviously have a short summer, but unlike the west the ground is quite dry. We have space so size isn't a problem from that perspective but the wind might be...
Published: 30 Dec 2018
Thanks for your interesting enquiry. It sounds like a challenging location but on the other hand if you've already had trees there that is a very good sign. It sounds like the biggest risk is damage to blossom during April and May.
For plums: Marjories Seedling - which flowers fairly late, Merrweather (damson), Victoria - the flowers have some frost resistance, Belle de Louvain - a tough tree and the flowers have some frost-resistance, Czar - another tough variety with some frost resistance.
I think if wind is a problem you should probably consider some kind of windbreak on the prevailing side. Some of our other customers in Scotland have suggested that planting very dwarf apple trees (on the M27 rootstock). These need staking and good soil conditions - but because they only grow to a height of 6ft or so, they can be more easily sheltered from the wind. However there is no equivalent rootstock for plums, so I'm suggesting the St. Julien rootstock, which produces a strong and fairly large tree. Incidentally plums are well-suited to growing on a trellis, and that is sometimes a good way of dealing with a strong wind - because the trellis can take the pressure of the wind.
By the way, if planting on a site that has already had apple trees, try to avoid planting in exactly the same locations as previous trees - the new ones will not like it as it can cause re-plant disease. I hope this gives you a few ideas!