Pruning the Orchard

This summer, Jools Cox returned to Corehead Community Orchard to lead a rural skills workshop in summer pruning following our winter pruning workshop in February.

It was a glorious sunny day – and we learnt how to prune the trees to encourage healthy shape for ease of picking and maximise fruit production next year, by promoting the production of fruit buds. – Quite a different approach to our native woodland restoration work!

We used secateurs – and cleaned these inbetween pruning each tree using methylated spirit – to ensure we didn’t spread any disease from tree to tree. Bacterial canker can actually be spread from diseased to healthy branches within the same tree so its important to  clean the tools.

Pruning in the summer reduces the amount of sugars a tree makes – this encourages the tree to put more energy into the next generation (flowers and then apples) – so it will turn some leaf buds into fruit buds. A tree is more also more likey to produce fruit buds on branches that are more horizontal rather than upright.

We pruned back the little water shoots which resulted from branches pruned in winter..this stops the tree from getting crowded.

   

Thanks to Jools Cox for teaching and for those who attended for pruning a large section of the orchard.

 

Ali Murfitt

Site and Community Officer.