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Cider Apple Trees: How to plant, grow & prune them

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Published on Mar 19, 2011

How to plant, grow and prune cider apple trees brilliantly explained and demonstrated by John Worle. Essential viewing for anyone thinking of planting a tree. Mr Worle reckons that only 1 in 10 people normally get it right.

And he should know. Over the last five years he's grown more than half a million cider apple trees. In total, he has over 50 years' experience in producing trees and managing orchards. In 2004 he was awarded a Gold Medal at the Bath & West Show for his Lifetime's Contribution to the Orchards and Cider Industry of the West Country.

In this video, he's talking at the ceremonial opening of a new orchard at Melplash between Bridport and Beaminster in West Dorset. The orchard is planted with 20 varieties of old Dorset cider apple trees re-discovered during a long county-wide search by the renowned cider apple expert Liz Copas, author of A Somerset Pomona, and Nick Poole, founder of the West Milton Cider Club and the famous Powerstock Cider Festival.

Mr Worle propagated the trees at his Herefordshire nursery. The new Melplash orchard is owned by the distinguished cider apple grower Rupert Best. It's named Linden Lea after a poem by the 19th century Dorset poet William Barnes.

More than 200 other individual trees have gone to a range of buyers from across Dorset and beyond, including the National Trust, farmers and the Mill House Cider Museum at Overmoigne (not far from both Weymouth and Dorchester). The aim of this dispersal is to aid the great 21st century Dorset cider revival.

As Mr Worle says in this video, some varieties will make better cider than others - particularly if they're not going to be blended, but used singly.

Traditional Dorset varieties at Linden Lea are:

BITTERSWEET

Golden Bittersweet
Marnhull Bitters
Fillbarrel




Meadow Cottage




Loders
Marlpits Late




Winter Stubbard




Hains Late Sweet

BITTERSHARP

Dash Hays Crab
Yeovil Sour Cadbury
Cap of Liberty
Marnhull Mill
Warrior

SHARP / DUAL PURPOSE
(Dual purpose means they could also be used as cookers)
Golden Ball
Kings Favourite




Symes Seedling
Tom Putt
Stubbard
Buttery Door
Tangy

Mr Worle is assisted in the video by his nursery manager Peter Biurkowski. Onlookers include Alan Stone, author of the Somerset Cider Handbook, Emily Pykett, author of the Totally Dorset blog (http://totallydorset.wordpress.com) and Emily's mum Sue. They bought a Golden Ball, a particularly sought-after variety from Netherbury in West Dorset, of which only one tree was known to survive.

This video was filmed by Jonathan Hudston of Watershed PR (also an original member of the West Milton Cider Club - which is one reason why he so enjoyed Mr Worle's talk!)

Please browse through Transition Vision's videos for three other pieces related to the Dorset Cider Project, and the revival of old varieties.

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