Growing Top Fruit during the 1940’s, 50’s & 60’s

In the 1940’s and 1950’s former National Fruit Show Chairman, Alan Todd remembers the shift from standard trees to bush trees which cropped in 5-8 years.  Alan recalls Cox being the main variety grown in Kent orchards as well as a number of culinary varieties.  It was during these decades that storage became more important until that time fruit was often stored on straw in barns on in certain areas in Oast houses. 

The stores of the 1950’s were expensive and it was necessary for growers to work together, this heralded the start of the grower co-operatives that we still have today.  By working together growers were able to lease or purchase graders and sprayers and other machinery that was beginning to streamline the business.  Inter cropping was phased out and lighter pruning led to earlier cropping.

The 1960’s saw some of the biggest changes within the top fruit sector with East Malling Research Station releasing virus free dwarf rootstock that allowed nurserymen to finally produce viable quantities of good quality trees.  New dessert varieties were planted and for the first time exceeded the traditional culinary varieties. New herbicides and rectangular planting changed the appearance of the commercial orchard.

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