Cobnut trees grow best on fertile soil, 90cm (3ft) minimum deep, and well drained, with the ideal pH at about neutral at around 5.5-7.5 pH.
Avoid flood prone areas and frost pockets in valley bottoms, steep slopes and exposed sites.
Will not grow in compacted soil, or with a gravel layer or iron pan close to the surface.
Gentle slopes near the valley bottom are optimal as cold air drains away from the trees and water availability is high.
When planting, it is advised to mix in a mulch, well rotted manure or compost, as well as breaking up any compacted soil and the removal of weeds. Also, if necessary, improve drainage conditions.
If using bare rooted stock, water generously and protect roots from drying winds and sunshine whilst the ground is being prepared. If using container grown stock, watering prior to the removal from the pot is also beneficial.
Plant in a ‘pit,’ several inches wider and deeper than the root ball, whilst the original tree planting line should be very slightly below the top of the hole, facilitating watering should the weather be dry in the first year, and allowing room for mulching.
Lightly water the hole before planting the tree centrally, using a stake support if necessary.
Spread the roots, and fill in the hole gently and evenly, and water in well, continuing to water as necessary over the first growing season.
Container grown trees can be planted anytime, but April is the final month for bare rooted trees.
Space approximately 3m (10ft) apart, and prune to the height of 1.8m (6ft) for ease of picking.
It is important to keep weeds down, especially in the first few years. A large piece of cardboard, slit in the middle to fit around the tree, held down by stones etc. will suppress these weeds.
It is advised to supply trees with a good quality mulch or nitrogen rich fertiliser early in the spring. Do not fertilise in late summer, as this can encourage late vegetation that can be susceptible to frost damage.
Pruning should be carried out only in mid winter. Start by removing any dead, damaged or badly forked branches, but try not to remove more than 20% of the crown at once.