"With varieties such as Gilly and Dabinett, it's important to maintain a strong leader," he said. "Gilly wants to crop early, including on the leader itself. A standard tree needs to get up to 18-20 feet, and for that it's better to work on them when they're young."
He also warned: "A couple of growers have fireblight in Gilly. No chemicals can touch it and you can't spray with antibiotics. You need to cut it out and burn all the cuttings, then disinfect your tools. You then look for the source of the infection, which might be a hawthorn in a hedge, cut that down to the base and burn that too."
Fairs, who also chaired the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) pomology committee, was praised by Bulmers cider production manager Rob Lees for his "unrivalled knowledge".