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Plant a nut tree

3 December 2014

Plant a nut tree for an unusual and beautiful addition to your kitchen garden. Nuts make a change from the usual apples and pears, and with their delicate spring blossom and good autumn colour they're easily ornamental enough to provide a pretty focal point among perennials and shrubs. Plus you get a bumper harvest!

Now is the perfect time to plant them, and you'll find a great selection at your garden centre.

If you're short of space, almonds make a good choice, growing into small trees about 3.5m (12ft) high with pretty pink spring blossom. Cobnuts can be pruned to a manageable 3m (9ft) each winter: look out for the varieties 'Kentish Cobb' and 'Webb's Prize', which yield big, sweet nuts.

With a bit more room, you could try walnuts such as 'Broadview' or even sweet chestnuts: the old French cultivar 'Marron de Lyon' makes a spreading tree about 10m (30ft) high.

Nut trees, like fruit, prefer a sheltered spot with free-draining soil in full sun. Prepare the soil well and then plant so the tree sits at the same depth as it did in the pot. Support with a stake and tie, and water well in the first year or two while it establishes.

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