Earlston’s donated fruit trees daubed to deter vandals

Earlston townspeople boosted their young orchard when they planted apple trees to replace plants vandalised last autumn.

Nearly 20 volunteers planted fruit trees and bushes around the town earlier this month, including 12 heritage apple trees donated by Tweed Valley Fruit Trees from Innerleithen.

Earlston Orchard Town coordinator, Donald McPhillimy, said: “Although we were disappointed that we had trees stolen, we are determined to succeed with this project to bring abundant fruit to the local community.

“This time we are marking the trees with blue paint, which is Earlston’s colour, to make their resale less likely.

“We are asking people to keep an eye on them and to report any suspicious behaviour to ourselves or to the community police.”

In 2011 parent body, Earlston Community Development Trust (ECDT), suggested instead of a single orchard, locals could volunteer to grow trees in their gardens and along as verges, field margins, pathways and other areas.

Work in 2012 and by April last year volunteers had planted 240 fruit trees, 100 bushes and 200 root stocks.

The replacement apple trees, along with Stella cherry trees, were planted beside the River Leader. A further 100 fruit bushes, including new varieties such as Jostaberry (a cross between a gooseberry and a black currant), were planted at the park boundary.

Anyone wanting to volunteer should contact donald.mcphillimy4@virginmedia.com