Apples and Pears
Completed the winter pruning of my top fruit trees this afternoon. I learnt about summer and winter pruning from the late (and much lamented) Geoff Hamilton years ago on Gardeners’ World.
Summer pruning encourages fruiting; winter pruning encourages growth.
The two apple trees were already here and established when I arrived in 1984. I’ve no idea what varieties they are but they still produce a good crop, although the smaller has become biennial (one year good, one year poor). Pruning consists of removing dead or diseased wood, crossing shoots and growths congesting the middle of the tree – this opens up the air flow and reduces the risk of disease. I also reduced the spread of both trees a little this year to make working around them a little easier.
The pears were planted in my first autumn here as they take several years to settle down and start cropping. In fact, they took 19 years which was a longer wait than I had anticiapted! The varieties are Conference and Williams’ Bon Cretien which both flower mid-season so will cross pollinate. They are trained as espaliers against a south-facing fence and underplanted with iris sibirica cultivars. Pruning these is just a matter of keeping the trained shape, removing new shoots growing backwards, too long or trying to grow up from the top of the main trunk.
Now all I have to do is wait eight to nine months for this year’s crop.
- 4 Jan, 2008
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