Plant of The Week

Hereford Russet – Apple Fruit Trees

Something interesting is happening in the Kitchen Garden at the moment and it involves some very special apple trees.

Have you ever heard of ‘stepovers’?

Well let me explain… They are the smallest of all fruit trees as they are grafted onto M27 roots stocks. These root stocks are very important as, amongst other things, they dictate the height of a tree and provide resistance against pests and disease.


When trees are first planted they are one metre whips. As the name implies these are singular vertical shoots. Once planted, we prune the whips to just below 18inches, which is the maximum height they grow to. The top two lateral shoots are then trained along a horizontal wire which, if desired, can be stepped over. ‘Stepovers’ grown in a line or on their own are perfect for any garden, even with limited space. You can use them to edge a kitchen garden or border a flower garden. We have chosen the Hereford Russet; the flavour is like a rich cox and is definitely one of our favourites here at Gravetye.


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