I was flattered last week when my brother asked me to go on a days pruning with him as he actually wanted to use some of my knowledge of fruit trees - as you all know I'm a little obsessed! I was keen and it turned out to be a really nice day, we worked hard and got a lot done and I'm really pleased with the results.
|A beautiful little smallholding with a great layout.|
It was on a little smallholding next door to my parents farm, none of the trees had been touched for a few years as the current owners hadn't been living there long. We were concentrating on the apple and pear trees in the front garden, the house is located in the middle of the plot so the front is almost as big as the back and there was quite few trees to work on.
|Opening up a young tree creating much more light in the middle|
There was a nice mix of young and old trees to deal with, the youngest about eight or ten years going up to 30 years plus. I set to work on the small trees whilst my brother tackled the bigger ones. We were pruning for fruit production, so trying to create trees that are light and airy in the middle (a goblet shape), pruning all diseased and crossing branches first then starting to shape them. As these hadn't been touched for so long we couldn't remove too much wood this year, instead reducing some of the growth and overcrowding with a plan on tackling it again next year. If you try to take too much in one go then it puts too much energy into growing new wood instead of fruit, that's when you get lots of water shoots (quick growing upright growth).
|A overcrowded small tree before pruning|
|Dave doing some more major work in one of the older trees|
|After - more work to thin it out again next year.|
It's fun working with my brother and he's a master of all tree work so I always learn something, but it was nice that he trusted me on what I was doing and when he's up in the tree he took my direction as it's especially difficult for him to tell the overall shape of the tree when he's in it. The last one was particularity horrible with a wild rose climbing up all through it, I didn't envy him as it was bad enough pulling the wood out and putting it in the chipper, it must have been much worse getting scratched to pieces in the tree!
An enjoyable days work and the weather was great as well, really cold but we were both dressed right so it didn't bother us in the slightest and instead enjoyed what little winter sunshine there was.