January 28, 2015

Pruning the orchard

Unlike in a previous year, when my friend Phil and I pruned the fruit trees in a snow storm, it was 70 degrees or so today. We ended up in short sleeves in January!

I enjoy this yearly ritual as I learn a lot from Phil who is a horticulturist by past profession as well as by passion. A couple of years ago, when he first came over to "help" (read "take over the pruning") the trees needed shaping but now it is pruning for fruit and a lot fewer branches are taken off.

Last year already we had a lot of apricots and peaches and this year we can look forward to a serious crop of apples. The only ones still not responding well to the love being given are the pears, and I blame myself for that. Perhaps this year? I will also water them less frequently to see if we can slow down the amount of water sprouts and getting some fruiting wood instead.

My next task will be to get the garden planting-ready by sifting and spreading old horse manure. Seeds have arrived!


Elizabeth Musgrave said...

We haven't done our winter pruning yet. Normally we only do the apple trees and leave the quince, plum and damson to their own devices. We have also tried hard with pears but I am slowly coming to the conclusion that we are too high and cold for pears and it might be kinder to let them go.

webb said...

wow! things are moving faster in the west than the east. We're still waiting for our worst weather - aka, February! - with no thought to start planting anything until March, maybe mid-March. Also, i do have to admit that i have scoped out a BIG project for April and May. Hope training my replacement isn't gonna mess up my "me time" too much!

Your trees look great!

Ri Home said...

I have to ask, how difficult is it to grow trees in that environment? Living in New England, I'm used to soil that looks dark and rich (when it's not covered with snow like today) and pretty much anything grows (weeds do the best). Do you add anything to the soil and do they have to be watered often?

And that view of the mountains. Now that's something to wake up to.

Anneke said...

Hello Ri! As for our soil, we are pretty lucky as we live on the bajada of a small mountain range that over the years has deposited a very fine clay soil on our property. It is almost like talcum powder when it is dry. I mix it with a lot of old horse manure in the garden and also added it to the tree holes that we dug.

The orchard gets a weekly watering where I fill the wells around the trees that then seeps down during the rest of the morning. The garden is on drip (beds individually controlled) and I have kept the landscape pretty much native vegetation.

I am well familiar with your kind of soil, having lived in the Pacific Northwest. We do get some rain though, actually we had more than 2 inches in the last two days. It's been great! Dry and 70's next week.