We wish to plant an apple and a plum tree. We are thinking of planting grafted trees with two varieties on each tree. Which system is best? Do Gala and Pacific Rose apples complement each other or should we plant Gala and Braeburn? What about Santa Rosa and Omega plums?
A double grafted tree is far more preferable than planting two single trees side by side. Competition for root space, nutrients and water all work against the second option.
With apples, the Gala and Braeburn combination will provide an extended season of picking ripe fruit. Gala commences ripening in mid to late February, while Braeburn (a late apple), ripens in April. Braeburn is also an excellent ‘keeper apple’, therefore as your tree matures and provides plentiful apples, you can successfully store them for eating until early winter.
The plum combination you have enquired about is perfect as plums have specific pollinators. Fortunately, Santa Rosa pollenates Omega, and Omega pollenates Santa Rosa. Both are superb eating plums and extend the fruiting season with Santa Rosa ripening in January and Omega in February. As plums can grow into very large trees, prune them to a height of three to four metres so the fruit is easily accessible and less prone to ‘bird raiding’. New season apple and plum trees should arrive in local garden centres in the next few weeks.