Fruit and Nut
Fruit and Nut offers a professional consultancy service on all aspects of fruit and nut orchard establishment, including agroforestry projects. Our detailed site assessments take into consideration factors such as soil type, aspect and exposure, climatic factors (including micro-climates), and integration with other land uses. The service also includes the option of drawing up detailed proposals for particular projects, including project management. We can also advise on municipal or community nut and fruit tree planting projects.
Enquiries and advice
The nursery also provides a free email advice service. We are happy to examine site maps and photographs, and to provide recommendations on specific project proposals free of charge.
Our email: office (at) fruitandnut (dot) ie
Enquiries by email are normally answered within 12-36 hours.
Please note the nursery is unable to facilitate casual callers to the premises.
If our free email advice service is unable to provide the level of detail required, we can carry out a site visit and assessment, and if necessary draw up plans for the proposed project. Fees are based on time on site, plus travelling time and expenses, plus any additional time for written reports.
We do not normally provide consultancy away from the project site as simple questions in relation to the project can be answered by email.
Site visits generally take place on sundays. Owing to other nursery commitments, it's usually necessary for site visits to be arranged at least six weeks in advance. Site visits are not normally possible in Febuary or March as this is when the nursery is busiest. For planting purposes, the cut off point for most barerooted trees is late April (early May where watering can be provided post planting).
Our speciality is in developing difficult sites, especially those sites deemed 'impossible' for growing trees. We have advised or assisted with projects on off-shore islands, on exposed uplands sites, in frost-prone locations and on land subject to year-round waterlogging.
Where required, we can also carry out the site preparation and planting work. Provided sufficient notice is given, we can also grow-on barerooted trees for an extra year to ensure optimum root development prior to planting. Regardless of the location, we pride ourselves on the very high take rate of trees planted - often one hundred percent.
Among our consultancy projects was a shelterbelt and orchard plan for a windswept offshore island. The indigenous tree popuation on the island amounted to one single windswept hawthorn bush and a few scraggy blackthorn. The proposed orchard of mixed fruit and nut trees is to be protected by100 metres of shelterbelt of mixed scrub and salt tolerant trees. The scrub belt is to be comprised mainly of dwarf native willow and gorse, backed by a diverse mixture of broadleaves including evergreen oaks. Once the shelterbelt is established, the orchard of apples, plums, pears, cherries and nut trees will be planted.
A more recent and even more exciting project involving another offshore island has looked at establishing a nut orchard of pinenuts, araucaria (Monkey Puzzle), cobnuts and chestnuts. This project has a very long time horizon: a minimum of two hundred years. The shelterbelt will be comprised of native willow and gorse, Japanese Black Pine and evergreen oaks.
The Fruit and Nut Challenge
We are one hundred percent confident of being able to rehabilitate, restore or otherwise improve any piece of agricultural land anywhere in Ireland to a level capable of producing viable crops of nuts or fruit (or both). For the purposes of the challenge, agricultural land is defined as any land capable of supporting livestock all year round, or marginal land which has any proven history of tillage. Livestock means at least one dozen sheep or two cows (unhoused). Tillage includes land formerly tilled by hand (minimum duration of historical tillage = ten years).
The nursery is always happy to offer horticultural expertise but does not offer a hand-holding service. It is up to the intending grower to carry out their own research into potential markets.
A Cautionary Tale
The nursery regularly receives enquiries from people, often with little or no previous horticultural experience, who have the idea they can make easy money from growing fruit or nuts. Our advice is always the same: get real! Anyone not prepared to put in the hours, endure setbacks and learn from experience should forget fruit or nut production as a career choice (become a property speculator instead).