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James Grieve Apple Tree

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  • Use: Cooking and eating apple
  • Cropping period: Mid season (Early September)
  • Keeping period: 1 month
  • Flavour: Sweet
  • Heritage: Edinburgh 1893
  • Pollination group: B
  • Height in 10 years: M27 2m, M26 2.5-3m, MM106 4-5m

James Grieve Apple Tree Description

The James Grieve apple tree produces brilliant dual purpose apples which have attractive orange and red flushes in early September. The fruits are juicy and tangy at this point - perfect for jam making or baking tarts. If left on the tree until October, the apples sweeten and are delicious eaten just as they are. James Grieve is not a crisp apple, but instead eats like a firm pear. This apple tree is a good, tough variety for Northern climates. To get the best results from your crop, James Grieve trees should be pollinated with an another apple tree in group A, B or C within a half mile radius.

Apple Trees

Planting distances

Minimum space between plants;

Tree 15ft / 4.5m

Espalier 6ft / 1.8m

Planting Apple Trees

Apple trees will grow in most soils that are moist but free draining avoiding salt-laden air and shallow alkaline soils. Full sun is preferred but some shade will be tolerated. For Northern positions chose a hardier variety. Follow our videos or written guides planting bare root trees or planting containerised trees in our Help & Advice section.

Initial pruning of a 1 year old maiden tree

Trees - Cut the main stem back to around 48 inches between November-March and remove any lower branches. This will encourage lower growing laterals and a clear stem of 36 inches.

Espaliers - Cut back the main stem to around 18 inches between November-March. This will encourage laterals to grow which will form the shape of the espalier.


Trees - A stake and tie should be used for all trees. Larger trees 4 year old + will require a staking kit. For staking instructions see our videos and written guides Staking a larger tree, planting bare root trees and planting containerised trees in our help and advice section.

Espaliers - Espalier trained trees will require a wire support system to be trained along. Using vine eyes and galvanised wire create a set of tiers. The first tier should be 18 inches above ground level and each subsequent tier 15 inches apart.

Feeding & Mulching

Apply a general fertiliser such as Growmore in late spring. Apply also a 3 inch mulch of well-rotted manure or compost to keep the weeds at bay. When applying mulch avoid making contact with the bark of the tree. Bark chip can also be used for this purpose.

Picking & Storage

Apples will come away easily from the tree with a slight twist if ripe. Many will develop better flavours if left on the tree. How long an apple will store for is dependent on the variety. Using trays to store the fruit is a traditional method but wrapping in paper and placing them into a plastic bag with several small, perforated holes is effective. Fold the top of the bag over gently without excluding all of the air and rest the bag folded side down in a cool dark place. Whichever method of storage is used, the apples should be checked regularly for rotted fruits which should be removed immediately.

Seasonal Care

Mulch in spring and feed as detailed in Feeding & Mulching above. During any summer long, hot, dry spells water occasionally, especially as the fruit begins to appear. Most trees will establish quickly and not require additional water. Over watering is often more of a problem than under watering, to get the balance right scrape away any mulch and dig down with a finger a few centimetres. If the soil is even slightly moist then no water is required. If the soil is very dry then water and repeat the moisture test as necessary. Most trees planted as bare roots won't require watering. Trees planted from containers may require additional water throughout the first year. Keep grass away from the trunk, in the first 3 or 4 years it is advisable to keep the grass at least 2 foot away from the base of the tree. Mulching can help to achieve this.

Pruning Apple Trees

Tree - The goal is to have 7 or 8 strong branches, primary and secondary, which are well spaced by about 4 years old. Prune in March. On a 2 year old tree cut back strong branches to half their length and cut back weaker braches to a third of their length. On a 3 year old tree cut out any new growth which crowds the centre of the tree. Cut back new growth to about half its length. When pruning an established tree remove any dead or diseased wood and crossing branches that crowd the centre. Inside the head of the tree cut back any over vigorous laterals, leaving the leaders alone. Around the outside of the head prune little if at all. All established pruning should take place from November - March.

Espalier - Once the formal pruning has been done a bush of new shoots will grow. Take the first shoot below the pruning cut and tie it straight up to a cane. Next take one lower shoot to the left and one to the right to form the first tier. Tie them gently with tubing or soft garden twine to your wire, which should be in situ. The following winter cut the single upright shoot to just below where your second tier will sit. Repeat the process until enough tiers are produced. Continue to train the horizontal arms out on wires until the desired width is achieved then prune in the spring to stop the espalier. The leader should also be removed once the desired height is achieved. An established espalier will produce vertical shoots from the horizontal tiers. In August cut these vertical shoots back leaving 3 buds per upright, this will produce your fruiting spurs.


Bare root and rootballed trees can only be dispatched from November - March. Pre-order is often advisable.

Delivery Timescales

The vast majority of orders are dispatched within 10 days, many much quicker. If for any reason we cannot dispatch your order we will contact you. We aim to keep the full range of fruit trees in stock at all times to insure an efficient service.
All fruit trees are sent 'no signature required' so there's no need to be in to receive your order

Our Fruit Trees are packed in specially designed containers and delivered using couriers who've been tried and tested over many years.

Delivery Charges

England and Wales

Carriage is charged at between £6.95 and £24.95 depending on the individual order and is calculated at the checkout.

For UK off shore deliveries please contact us on 01257 265232 or via email


Scottish postcodes G, EH, ML, KA, DG, TD are charged as ‘England and Wales’ above.

Only items below 2.5 metres in height that are not deemed ‘heavy’ or to be of unusual shape can be ordered for delivery in KW, IV, AB, PH, PA, DD, KY, FK postcode areas of Scotland and are delivered by courier. Carriage will be charged at between £29.95 and £39.95 and is calculated at the checkout.

For UK off shore deliveries please contact us on 01257 265232 or via email

Sorry, we do not deliver to overseas


Payment Service Provider & Security

At Fruit Trees Direct we take your payment security extremely seriously. As a result we use one for the largest independent payment service providers (PSP) in the UK, so that you can feel comfortable and confident in the service we provide when you buy trees online.

Our Payment Service Provider is Secure Trading Ltd. and they ensure protection of your payment. So whatever you are buying and whoever you are buying it for, you know you are in safe hands at


We are happy to provide our customers with a single tree but at the same time we realise that for those ordering large quantities of trees it is only fair to do so a good price. If you are looking to purchase a large number of trees then please feel free to get in touch and we will see what we are able to offer you.