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Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years ago

Phil Corbett



Contact Details


‘Cool Temperate’,

45, Stamford Street, Awsworth, Nottingham, NG16 2QL

Telephone & Fax:

0115 916 2673

Email address:




On Youtube



How I got started


Since the early 1980's I had been growing organic fruit and vegetables commercially on small parcels of rented land around the city of Nottingham, UK.

During this time several ideas for horticultural research occurred to me, but I never had enough land or time to follow them through. Anyone trying to supply all year round veg doesn't have time for much else !

Later I got involved in designing orchards and forest gardens and other permaculture plots. I realised that there wasn't a good individual nursery where the wide range of plants needed could be bought from, and who could give good organic advice.


So I set up Cool Temperate in 1996 as a bare root nursery to both provide myself with an income during the winter months, leaving me mostly free during the summer for research work, and also to fill this gap in the market.


What I do


Cool Temperate  has enabled me to pursue a few new developments, notably the Own Root Fruit Tree project and the Coppice Orchard.

Cool Temperate isn't just me. There are several keen volunteers involved, including the occasional part time paid worker.

I also work regularly with architects, landscapers, designers and growers needing both horticultural and environmental input.

The nursery has created a need for large quantities of organic compost. To meet this end I first devised the "Compost Hedge" which has spread out to become the "Compost Coppice" which will be planted on a large scale when i get a new site. This will produce compost from shredded fast growing plant species, fed sustainably by vigorous perennial nitrogen fixing plants.


The Own-Root Fruit Tree Project


[funded by the profits of Cool Temperate Plants and Services]

This project is based on the unpublished work of the British plant breeder Hugh Ermen.

Hugh discovered that there are several advantages in growing apples on their own roots [OR], i.e. not grafted onto a rootstock. Those advantages are:


  •  better health - although not altering the basic susceptibility of the variety to disease
  •  fruit development is typical of the variety, giving:-
  •  best possible flavour
  •  best storage life
  •  typical fruit size for the variety
  •  best overall fruit quality
  •  best fruit set, given adequate pollination. Fruit from OR trees have more seeds, indicating increased fertility.


It is highly likely that the degree of self-fertility is increased.


The only disadvantage of OR trees is that some varieties may be more vigorous than is usually wanted, though the average size of an OR tree is not large.  This can be seen when observing self set OR trees grown from seed along roadsides, railway embankments, footpaths etc.. These trees are often quite small, and even when large seldom exceed the height of accompanying hawthorns.


Cool Temperate is propagating OR trees of several varieties and makes them commercially available.



The Coppice Orchard


OR fruit trees may be just as coppice-able as other trees, and may be useful where damage from gales, animals or vandals is likely. Without a graft union trees can be planted deeper, and multi-stem trees with a crotch below ground level will be harder to uproot.

Coppice-ability is also the basis of our "Coppice Orchard". This consists of OR trees planted in rows running north-south. When the canopy of the orchard closes, a north - south row will be coppiced and the land in the row used for light demanding crops, e.g. vegetables on a no-dig system, while the trees regrow. The trees either side of the glade will have higher light levels on their sides and produce more fruit buds. The next year another north - south row is cut but not the immediate neighbours as these will have the extra buds, so the next row for coppicing will be next-door-but-one. In other words this will be Alternate Row Coppicing. This process is repeated every year, creating a series of parallel , sheltered glades. Eventually the rows of trees forming the avenues between the glades will also be coppiced in turn, but by then the ‘glade’ trees will have regrown to form the avenues. As the trees regrow there will be glades at all stages of regrowth until the cycle repeats itself, and niches for plants suited to full light, semi-shade or heavy shade, creating opportunities for different types of land use. The number of years before re-coppicing [and so the length of the coppicing cycle] is one of the many aspects of the project that we will only learn by doing it. The exact timing of coppicing can be adjusted to suit the type of produce that is wanted most.

Apart from apples, the main planting sites of the orchard also have OR pears and plums, hazelnuts, and nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs.

Instead of just producing fruit the coppice orchard can produce a wide range of crops – small wood, fruit, soft fruit, vegetables, possibly cereals, fungi and the more traditional bees and poultry. Another possible yield might be heat from Jean Pain type heat.

The coppice orchard system is being researched on the Cool Temperate site, and we are looking for other sites willing to experiment with this method.


What I can offer


For details, please see the website http://www.cooltemperate.co.uk/index.shtml


Nursery Plants

  • top fruit,
  • soft fruit,
  • nut trees and shrubs,
  • nitrogen fixers,
  • understorey plants
  • specialist books and publications
  • and more ...


Pemaculture Site and Species Surveys

An ideal service for architects, land owners and anyone wishing to develop a site in an ecologically aware way. Please ask for details



permaculture and similar courses, usually giving specialist input in sustainable horticulture

This may include

  • fruit and orcharding,
  • Own-root fruit treees
  • coppice orchards
  • plant identification,
  • plant pathology,
  • horticultural techniques,
  • wildlife gardening,
  • nature rambles


What I need


sites for own-root fruit trees and coppice orchard trials and demonstrations

clients and payment for my services




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