Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pruning the apple trees

Have you ever pruned a fruit tree? I haven't. Okay, hadn't because I can no longer say I've never done it. Previously I was too afraid to do it. You bring home a tree, carefully plant it, water the hell out of it  despite the fact that you have to carry the water by the bucket since you have no garden hose up there, and then hope that it makes it through the first year. 

And if it does, you're now supposed to cut it. And the advice on how to do that is extensive, full of dire warnings, and often contradictory. 

Getting stressed. Need a minute. Let's look at a tree in bloom.
My sour cherry in bloom. Ahhh.
Okay, so I found this advice and decided to follow it. Why? Because. So there.

It's based on the book "Grow a Little Tree" by Ann Ralph. Sounds good - I mean, I want little trees that produce good quantities of fruit, right? So I get the book from the library, see that she's based her pruning technique on lots of research, extensive field testing, and successful results. Great! And then she tells me to cut the tree off at the knees. My knees. I'm 5'2". That's quite a cut.

Need another break!
Oooh, butterfly!
So I girded my loins, grabbed my pruning shears and loppers, and did it.

OMG. OMG. After.
You guessed it: after.
The most dramatic (and traumatic) cut was the first one on the Golden Delicious. This is the tree that actually produced an apple last year. The only fruitful tree and I've now hacked it in half. But, if this actually works, I'll have trees that I can harvest without needing a ladder. Trees that are manageable, have fewer but larger apples, and that I can take care of by following some pretty simple guidelines. 

Assuming I haven't just killed them of course.

And since I really don't want to end on such a solemn note, here's Cooper and the new chickens, getting to know each other through the safety of the (new!) fence. Updates on the fence soon.


No comments:

Post a Comment