Friday, 23 January 2009


It's pruning time again in the orchard. The trees are all fully dormant now and I've been itching to set-to with the secateurs. In truth I've left the job until now so as to have healthy bundles of freshly cut wood ready for the Grafting Course I'm attending next weekend (more of which later).

The image on the left shows some of the tools of the trade. The vodka is for sterilising the various blades as I 'Hack & Slash' my way through the orchard... certainly not for drinking. For that I would have needed to bring an orange juicer and a tray of ice cubes into the orchard... I was heavily burdened enough as it was.

The Tremlett's we planted last Winter are the most in need of pruning. They are a vigorous variety, and the leaders have shot up over the Summer and now need tipping-back again to encourage more laterals to break. The Tremlett's seem hell-bent on upward growth at the moment, great news for tall and sturdy trees, not so good for the formation of branches bristling with knobbly fruiting spurs.

I'm pleased to say that the older trees need little more than tipping-back and very light thinning of a few badly placed branches. Above all, I'm particularly pleased that there are no signs of disease on any of the trees, and most are showing reasonable growth with a fair number of fruiting spurs forming on the two and three year old wood. A decent bit of Spring weather and we could even expect a few apples on the trees this year...

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