The bush form is the smallest of the classic open centre goblet shaped fruit tree forms. It is a very popular form for smaller gardens. The use of the word “bush” sometimes causes confusion. It does not mean a bush in the sense of a plant with almost no trunk but just a tree with a relatively short trunk.
The bush form can be used for all types of fruit trees on a range of rootstocks but it is most commonly used for trees on dwarfing or semi-dwarfing rootstocks to produce small trees which are not going to grow more than 3m (10ft) in height and spread when mature. The actual length of the clear trunk can vary a little. We train most our bush trees with relatively long clear trunks of about 0.9m (3ft). This is long compared to the classical recommendation but we feel that trees with a slightly taller trunk are more suited to domestic gardens and easier to maintain.
Before the start of growth in their second year we cut back the centre leader of the maiden trees back to 1.05m (3ft 6in) and remove any lower branches. This results in the development of a head of branches between 0.9m and 1.05m (3ft and 3ft 6in) above ground. At the end of the summer we remove any low branches to give a clear trunk of 0.9m (3ft).
The photo opposite top shows examples of bare root two year old bush trained apple trees as we supply them. The tree on the right is one of our regular priced bush trained trees. The one on the left is a reduced price tree with a less developed head. Below this is a photo of a mature 15 year old bush trained apple tree in our nursery. At the bottom is a photo of bush trained plum trees in the nursery in early autumn prior to lifting.
Our bush trained trees are mainly on dwarfing and semi-dwarfing rootstocks - apples on M26 rootstock, pears and quinces on Quince C rootstock, cherries on Gisela 5 rootstock, plums and other stone fruit on VVA-1 rootstock. We occasionally produce some bush trained trees on semi-vigorous rootstocks such as apples on MM106, pears on Quince A, cherries on Colt and plums on St Julien A. We also produce some bush trained apple on dwarfing M9 and very dwarfing M27 rootstocks. These would have a shorted clear trunk of 0.75m (2ft 6in).