Stewart Farm Heriatage Orchard Summer Pruning 2

This post is a closer look at the summer pruning cuts to reduce the vigor of the espalier tree at the Stewart Heritage Orchard. The first picture is the branches before cutting

and the second after cutting to 5 leaves. The response to this treatment needs to be monitored and next steps planned for the late dormant period.

EPIC Sustainable living festival

Thank you to all those who attended my two workshops at EPIC on July 6th  and 7th. The interest and audience questions were great. If you have more questions please use the form below to ask them. For those who missed it the handout can be found here: Pruning and Training for Optimal Abundance. The handout covers the pruning and training of all types of shrubs and trees, so it does not go into much depth for any specific group of plants such as tree fruits or conifers. Future posts to this blog will include information about the development of our trees and shrubs this year as well as in-depth discussions about specific groups of plants.

Stewart Farm Heriatage Orchard Summer Pruning 1

Two days ago I was doing some summer pruning at the Stewart Heritage Orchard where I am a volunteer focused on orchard management. Summer pruning of apples to manage the growth of the trees and produce more fruiting spurs is usually done in mid  to late July, so this is an ideal time for this type of work.

The variety of this tree is Ahmead’s Kernal, an old variety identified in 1720 in England. All apple trees need to be pruned and trained in a way that will maintain a balance between the production of vegetative and fruiting branches.  Since espalier training restricts the trees to two dimensions and a small space, maintaining this balance is even more important. This particular espalier was heavily pruned last winter resulting in a large number of vegetative shoots. To rebalance this vertical shoots more than 10″ in length were cut to about 5 leaves not counting the basal whorl of leaves. This will reduce the vigor the heavy winter pruning created, a first step toward restoring the vegetative/fruiting balance.