I believe in using community to connect with our earth as a way to heal and create peace within our lives.
The other Sunday I attended my village fruit tree pruning in our village orchard; one of two prunes undertaken each year, guided by Tom, an archaeologist with a serious passion for fruit trees.
This is what I learned about practical fruit tree pruning:
Apple and pear trees can be pruned twice each year. 1 prune in Winter and 1 prune in Summer.
In the Winter prune we are aiming to create a good structure and shape for the hopefully bountiful years of apples and pears that lay ahead.
When pruning, always prune back to a growth point or bud.
The strongest growth hormones tend to be at the highest points in the tree. So reduce or remove the vertical growing branches so the growth hormones transfer to horizontal growing branches.
Crown reduce and shape the tree using these techniques.
In Summer, some lesser pruning is required to encourage fruiting bodies. This pruning is undertaken on ‘extensions’ or ‘new growth’. Prune 1/3 to ½ of the extension to encourage new fruiting bodies.
Spurs are small, stout branches, often with wrinkles on the bark from years of baring fruit. Spurs are primed to produce fruit regularly. From my understanding, I would only prune these if I wanted to create more space within a busy crown, or if I found these spurs were dead and not producing fruit any longer.
My village fruit tree pruning means a lot more to me than simply pruning my ‘Newton Wonder’ tree.
It is a way to connect with others seeking peace, happiness and friendship. We learned ancient pruning techniques thousands of years old; discussed our concerns and the days ahead and identified with the peace we all seek in a busy, frantic world and all in harmony with our earth.