Pruning apples and pears

My neighbour J-P came today to give me a lesson on pruning apples and pears.  I have read so much about it, yet never felt confident doing it. It was fantastic to have him come and do it with me.  I am known for being unafraid to prune hard, but I would never have been as brave as I needed to be to get the trees back to a good shape.  The biggest issue was dealing with the damage done by the deer two years ago.

A before and after of the Golden Delicious apple.  I now understand the importance of maintaining a good framework of main branches (called charpentiere in French – no idea what the correct name is in English!) and of working in a three year cycle to create more fruiting buds.  But I am still going to call on J-P next year before I prune again!

The Gala, on a dwarf rootstock, is also looking so much better.  Notice the open centre (goblet shape) to encourage light and air into the middle of the tree.  The French have a saying that a bird should be able to pass unhindered through the centre of the tree.
On wet days this month I have been busy cracking and packing away walnuts.  Not as good a crop as in previous years, but still great to have nuts throughout the year. We vacuum pack them and store them in the fridge – they last for over a year this way.

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