Friday, 21 March 2008

Tied-up in the Orchard

The new Tremlett's Bitter trees didn't make it to Middleton before Easter. Perhaps this is just as well considering the weather this weekend. I spent most of the day in the potting shed, drinking tea, sowing seed, and potting on assorted vegetable seedlings ready for slightly better weather.

In the breaks between the frequent icy March showers, I also had a go at tying down a couple of the more upwardly mobile Harry Masters' Jersey apple trees. Harry Masters' (or Port Wine of Glastonbury as it's more commonly named in Somerset) is not particularly noted for an upward growing tendency, but a couple of our trees are definitely heading that way. Excessive upward growth can be a problem as it has the effect of suppressing the production of fruiting spurs further down the branch. If nothing is done to bring these branches down towards a more horizontal angle (such as the branch carrying a heavy crop of apples), you can end up with a tall, healthy looking tree, lacking sufficient fruiting spurs to produce a decent crop.

This is my first attempt at tying down an apple tree, and I hope I haven't made a complete mess of the job. I've included before and after pics of one of the tied down trees, but would stress that this is not for instruction, I'm learning all the time, and only time will tell if I've helped or hindered these trees.

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