Before and After

In the last post, we invited you to come and learn how to look after your trees; so we had some good Sunday afternoon sessions and here are some photos for those of you who didn’t manage along. There are still a few weeks of pruning time for your apples; but leave your plums alone for the moment. We’ll come back to you with some plum pruning advice later.

DSCN0153.JPGSee those long spindly bits poking out of the top of the apple tree? That’s last season’s new growth, and it needs to be cut back by a third, to give the tree its best chance at a bumper crop. Find an outward-pointing bud and cut cleanly, so that when the branch starts growing again, it’s branching out in a nice open shape rather than cupping in and getting all tangled and congested (spot the techy language!)

DSCN0154.JPGHere’s one of our visitors clipping merrily away – he and his wife joined us all the way from Auchtermuchty as they have a number of fruit trees in their own garden at home, and wanted to improve their orcharding skills.

David was explaining that in looking after your fruit trees, what you have to do is achieve a compromise between getting the most fruit, and keeping your space manageable. In the case of the community orchard, Fife Council comes and cuts the grass between the trees. So we need to keep the space clear so that they can get in there with their little sit-on mowers. Also, if you let your trees just DSCN0155.JPGdo their own thing without pruning, it will be harder to harvest the fruit.

Inevitably, there’s a health and safety element to consider … here’s the reminder … USE A LADDER! If you just reach up randomly you might get a branch in your eye, you might slip and trip, and it’s very undignified to find yourself sprawling among the windfalls. Dignity R Us!

DSCN0157.JPGFinally, here’s a nice picture of the Bramleys just after their annual clipping. Don’t they look nice under the lowering sky? Drop in and see them a couple of months from now with their frilly frocks on.