Sunday, July 5, 2009

December 2008 - February 2009: pruning

I concentrated all my pruning efforts on the smaller 1940s orchard since I judged these trees to be more in need of a trim. Over 25 days I managed to prune 13 trees, with a bit of help along the way. Hugely therapeutic to be up a ladder on a crisp winter's morning, surrounded by cackling fieldfare and redwing, releasing a gnarled tree from its beard of shoots.

In February 2009 I managed to rope in a couple of friends for a weekends pruning, Tommy and Harry. I had been working alone so it was great to have some help from two strapping lads. We finished a tree each, 'prunbelievable'.

From left: pruners Harry Guinness, myself and Tommy Adeane.

Harry up tree 17.

Tree 35 pre-prune.

Tree 35 pruned.

Tree 26 pre-prune. Note how congested the crown is after 6 years of growth.

Tree 26 pruned. I took a lot of wood off this tree, especially at the ends of branches where the spider-like shape of the tree was starting to grow out.

Tree 5 pre-prune.

Tree 5 post-prune. I removed the water shoots and thinned out the fruiting branches. The aim was to increase air circulation and light reaching the crown and reduce the strain on the main limbs.

Tree 5 regrowth (July 2009). Notice how already the water shoots have regrown considerably. However if pruning can be done each year then only very thin shoots are being removed so several trees can be pruned in one day. Since 2nd year buds are where fruits form, this type of pruning concentrates all the fruit on the more accessible outer branches.

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