Monday, 12 December 2011

Pruning Apple Trees

Yesterday, in the pouring rain, we hosted an apple-tree pruning course. The instructor was one of the gardeners from the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth and she was very knowledgable and came equipped with pruning knives & a lot of information.
8 people came along to learn this useful skill as well as ourselves (though I spent most of my time doing the catering as per usual!) and despite the hideous weather it was a very enjoyable day. It is always a good sign when people sit over cups of tea & cake in the warm kitchen after being out in the cold rain, for a couple of hours chatting.
I had not realised that apple trees can be pruned either in winter or summer depending on what you want the tree to do. Winter pruning encourages growth of the tree itself while summer pruning encourages the cropping of fruit for the next year.

We have a large number of fruit trees here on the farm in two orchards so were able to have a variety of trees to look at. The old smaller orchard has trees that are anything from 100 to 150 years old while the new orchard has about 30 trees that were planted 12 years ago. As well as apples we have pears & plums, a couple of cherry trees & a very young mulberry tree.

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