Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Winter Fruit Tree Pruning - Year Three

Over the weekend I managed to get out and prune my orchard. 
It didn't take very long as the trees haven't put on much growth. Trees seem to take a while to establish in our clay soil and then when they do they grow like crazy.
Bramley apple tree before
I mainly removed lower branches to shape the tree and removed or reduced the upright growth. I also found a tree that had been killed by my neighbour when he mowed the grass for me in the summer. Not a big deal but I'll need to replace it fairly soon, I've a good sized tree called a winter banana growing in my nursery that might go in it's place.
Bramley apple tree after

My little orchard growing
Sorting scion wood to go in the fridge to store until the sap starts to rise
I also collected up a lot of these prunings to use as scion wood when I graft my trees in the spring. Yesterday me and my daughters start in front of the fire and wrapped up the scion wood with damp newspaper and then covered in cling film, each batch marked up with the variety. If anyone is going to try grafting this year let me know by email and I might have some scion wood spare for you.
Have you pruned your fruit trees yet (although not stone fruit!)?

25 comments:

  1. There is an old apple tree at the end of the garden that needs to be pruned and shaped I keep looking at it but pruning isnt a strong point for me, I will have to tackle it as it is becoming weighed down on one side :-)

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    1. The phrase with pruning is "if in doubt cut it out!". Just give it a go, by opening up the tree it will create light and air so fruit ripens better and more growth is created.

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  2. I have never done winter pruning, perhaps I ought to start.

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    1. Don't get me wrong, summer pruning is great as well but I can see the structure of the tree better in winter. Cutting stimulates growth so by doing some pruning your trees will thank you for it and reward you with new growth and better fruit! Let me know how you get on!

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    2. Ah, just checked and as all mine (bar the Bramley) are trained, I don't have to touch them in winter unless they have branches crossing etc.

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    3. Yeah, like my cordons, all summer pruned. But I do leave the occasional branch on to prune in winter if I want to graft a tree of the same type.

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  3. Do you not mulch your trees Kev to feed them and keep the grass at bay? Suppose you could fence off the trees to stop the strimmer or mower damaging them. Ours look goblet like after their recent pruning.

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    1. I was brought up to take at least one foot of grass away from the stem to stop this problem occurring. It also allows for mulching the ground rather than the grass.

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    2. I did mulch them with muck last year but I think it was more when he backed the tractor into it by mistake! It's by his gate way and I think he just didn't see it, I'm not even sure the mower was running at the time! I don;t take the grass away from the base once they're established though, just when planting, far too much effort otherwise, I sometimes put some cardboard around the bottoms which is great if it gets hot as it helps trap in moisture.

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  4. I am wondering if I should do this with the apple trees here before we have to leave. And have some to graft... hmm must think about that

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    1. What varieties are they Sol? If I've got the same then I could send you some next year when you're more ready to do it?

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    2. I have no idea they have been here since the house was built in 1938. they store well.

      Thanks for the offer! :)

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    3. If you have a picture maybe we could try and identify it for you.

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  5. Your 'little orchard' looks pretty big to me. I tend to go for shape when I prune, going for an open goblet form. Plenty of air, and branches not too close. It seems to have worked so far.

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    1. Thats the form I'm going for as well but it'll take a few more years to get there yet. I suppose its not too small of an orchard, about 20 something trees so far and more to be added yet.

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  6. Your 'little orchard' looks pretty big to me. I tend to go for shape when I prune, going for an open goblet form. Plenty of air, and branches not too close. It seems to have worked so far.

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  7. My goats ate my fruit trees long ago, thereby saving me having to prune trees.

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    1. But also saving you from that lovely fruit! In a crunch situation apples would be pretty important, food, juice, cider and vinegar!

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  8. Oh yes, I have been a busy bee. Pruning has been one of the main tasks lately here at the Hollow. Planting has also been high on the to-do list.

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    1. I need to plant a few more trees and buy a few more in a well, I'm liking the look of these honey berries that people keep talking about.

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  9. Hey look at all that green... what is that? you call that winter? that's shorts weather here in Maine. ;-)

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    1. there's a bit of ice on the ground but other than that it's not too bad. It makes me laugh when people tell me it's cold! No chance, they wouldn't know cold until they've spent all day on a roof as an icy wind cuts through you!

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  10. All caught up on the pruning here except for one ancient apple I never seem to get around to pruning and the Pears. I am hoping to add another 12 or 15 trees this Spring to my trees too.

    I agree I prefer the Winter pruning so I can see the shape better.

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    1. I went to a fruit talk the other day and the guy told me that you can never harm a tree by pruning in the summer and sometimes its better as then you can thin out branches after you've seen what fruit it's got on it.
      Seeing the structure in winter is also important especially with these open goblet trees I'm trying to create. Also great to take some scion wood so I can increased my number of trees and have some to sell.

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  11. I pruned my trees probably at the wrong time. Did I think to save any wood back when I did that..Noooooo.. not even sure it would have been the right time to have saved it for grafting. I have read all the info but that is a far as I have gotten. I like most others have to many irons in the fire all the time LOL. But I eventually get to everything :O)

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