If you were going to plant only one tree what would you choose? The first decision you have to make is between a fruit or ornamental tree. They are both pretty to look at in the spring producing colourful blossom is part of the growing process. If you decide on a fruit tree, what variety of fruit tree?
You need to have a self-fertile tree if you are only planting one. Some of the fruit trees you can get cannot pollinate themselves you would need two or more. So ask a neighbour or two if they would let you use their garden to plant a tree, and the trees can pollinate each other.
They should have no objection, as they get a beautiful tree and free fruit. It is surely a winning situation for everyone. You can then have a greater choice of fruit trees which you can plant. This, of course, takes a lot of planning and discussion, you can’t just assume they will say yes and turn up complete with spade and tree.
The next question you need to ask yourself is would you like a local variety or a heritage variety. In days gone by there were hundreds of fruit tree varieties grown in the UK. Many of these have now died out, however there are still some available from specialist growers.
Size is also important when it comes to choosing your variety of tree. You must make sure that the final height is not too big for your garden. The rootstock information should give you all the details that you need to know, so read carefully. You can even have a fruit tree in a small garden as you could buy a dwarf variety, or grow a fruit tree in a tub on a patio of verandah.