Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pruning Workshop

On April 10 (Wahine Day) we had a pruning workshop in our garden with Green Gardener, Hannah Schwartz, instructing and offering advice.
It was a lovely balmy afternoon, completely different to 10 April 1968. A tragic day etched in all our hearts.

We had a good response from the street and people in the area who were anxious to learn the art of fruit tree pruning and the best methods of creating bumper fruit harvests from the trees.

Our fruit and nut trees were rather overgrown, due to being neglected last year and most didn't even see a saw or pruning shears, with the exception of the pear tree and the fig trees.
My son Stuart assisted me, or maybe I should say that I assisted him as he did all the tree climbing in an attempt to prune and return some order. That certainly was a new experience for Stuart who would barely qualify in having a garden at his apartment in Germany, let alone doing anything as specialised as pruning !!

Hannah informed us that the time to prune stone fruit is immediately after fruiting, so a wee bit late here - not that the peach harvest was very abundant. Pip fruit is pruned in winter, so still time to work up lots of energy and enthusiam for those trees.
She started with the peach tree, advising that the dead branches be removed first. From there you remove the inward growing shoots as this opens up the centre of the tree. She advised us to prune no more than a third of the tree and to step back and look at the tree after each cut. The stone fruit like to fruit on horizontal branches and you can encourage branches to grow horizontally by strapping down flexible branches or hanging something weighty on the branch.

The walnut tree needed little pruning, although Hannah did recommend removing some of the branches that were encroaching onto the feijoa and loquat trees - so a little more muscle required there!

The fig trees needed to have the larger branches removed rather than fiddling around with smaller ones which will help to open them up to receive maximum sunshine.

It was a lovely afternoon with added assistance from Hannah's young children also Wyeth - the next generation of gardeners - they were great.

We ended the afternoon with a glass of wine and snacks including pickled walnuts, preserved figs and dip made from chutney, all produce from the garden.

We really appreciated Hannah's expert advice.
Thank you Hannah.

At last I have finished pruning the peach tree,it was a mamoth task,up & down the ladder,viewing the shape,making that all important cut. Now I await an abundant crop of peaches next year,hopefully enough to bottle some too.

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