Friday, 15 May 2009

Orchard Update - May

Blossom time still holds sway in the orchard. The Tremlett's have a particularly fine display, the fruitletts from which will need to be pinched out before too long. These recently planted trees are still establishing a good root system, and certainly don't want to bother with the tiresome task of bearing fruit.

Pest-watch continues, with occasional clusters of Green Aphid to squish. One or two of the more serious Rosy Apple Aphid have been found too, but this year I aim to keep well on top of this pest. I'm inspecting the leaves every other day at the moment, easy to do with a small orchard like ours, larger commercial orchards would have to resort to spraying to control any serious pests. There are plenty of other insects about, including spiders, assorted larvae, and a few of the tiny wasps which seem to like feasting on Aphids. Bon App├ętit!

Taking my lead from 'The Grafter's Handbook' by R.J.Garner, I've decided to use the far dark corner of the orchard to propagate rootstock. The technique is known as 'Stooling', and the first part of the process is to plant out my single remaining MM106 rootstock and let it grow for a season. This Winter I'll be pruning it back and earthing it up to hopefully create several new rootstock, which may even be ready for grafting onto next Spring. Graphic details will be posted here as and when they happen, meantime's here's a picture of a twig in a prison...

The OTT fencing is there for protection from nibbling rabbits, and worse still, scratching hens!

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