Friday, February 17, 2012
Right now is THe time to prune your dormant fruit trees. Like say.....the very very VERY neglected apple trees that beg for mercy every time you step outside.
"Cut us down! Prune Us. ANYTHING. JUST STOP IGNORING US!" they cry.
I knew nothing about pruning other than now is the time to do it so I did what any person does last minute. I went to youtube. After a few youtube videos on the subject (thank you youtube) and a talk with my horticulturalist brother in law, I took things into my own hands.
One thing everyone says is to prune apple trees over a three year period so as not to distress the trees too much all at once. So I didn't do all the pruning I could, but my goal this year was to open up the trees for good air circulation and sunlight. (That too is really important.)
Well, I took things into my own hands.....until my hands (and arms) started to hurt really really bad, that is.... and I still had a monster of a branch to cut down. Then I took things into Matts hands-or rather, his chainsaws 'hands'. (Hey! I had a handsaw. HE had a CHAINSAW!) He helped me out. He is swell like that. But, he didn't exactly LIKE it. I could tell when I asked him to cut that he didn't think I was right.
The conversation went something like this:
me: "Mattie-the most important thing about apple trees is that they need good air circulation and sunshine-so the centers need to be open. So-can you cut down this branch here for me to expose the center please?
Mattie: "uhhhhhhh. You mean the TRUNK?"
me: "that isn't the trunk it is just the SIZE of the trunk. And it is in the center. And the guy on youtube says you need to be able to throw a hat through the center without touching any branches."
(For reasons unknown to me, he starts laughing here.....)
Mattie: "But didn't you say that you are supposed to only prune 1/3 of the tree each year over a three year period?"
me: "yes. it is only ONE cut."
Mattie: "But it is over half the tree!"
me: "JUST CUT IT!"
Mattie: "Okay-but when these trees die, it will be your fault."
me: "They aren't going to die. YOU didn't watch any pruning neglected fruit tree videos. DID YOU? You know NOTHING."
So when my apple trees (because when you go to the trouble of watching youtube for them and then kill your arm muscles pruning them, they become yours) are bearing lots of fruit and looking all gorgeous because they can bask in sunshine all day and breathe easy-I will have PROOF that I was right.
A sort of virtual I-told-you-so. Unless I fail. In which case, this post will mysteriously disappear....
All this fruit tree business has got me to thinking more about what fruit tree I would like to plant this year (one of my goals for the year.) With any luck, the apple trees will be producing again in no time so while I would like to plant some new apple trees at some point....I am thinking this year I ought to branch out (pardon the pun) and expand my varieties. I am thinking peach. Oh MY, how I love peaches.
That gets me to thinking about summer and the established grapevines at the old house that I had to leave behind...even some that were given to us from a friends own vines. :-( And that gets me to thinking about the huckleberry patch at my in-laws and maybe digging up a few transplants?
And before I know it, one thing leads to another and I have just made more work for myself....