Identifying Fruit Buds And Growth Buds

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Fruit bud surrounded by a cluster of leaves

Pruning apple and pear trees can be a daunting prospect for the novice.  For a start, not all cultivars produce and carry fruit in the same place on the branch.  Depending on the variety some bear fruit on the tips, others on spurs.  It isn’t necessary to have a detailed knowledge of the physiology of a fruit tree, but a few basic principles are useful. Understanding which buds will bear fruit and which will form leaves is a good first step. Continue reading

Decline And Revival Of The Perry Pear

Perry Pear Orchard at Davies Meadow

Perry Orchard at Davies Meadow   

Traditional perry pear orchards are thin on the ground these days, so it was a privilege for Orchard Origins to be invited to help with the winter pruning at Davies Meadow. This ancient pear orchard, which had fallen into neglect, forms part of a 20 acre reserve managed by the Herefordshire Nature Trust. For the last few years, the Trust has been replanting it with traditional perry pear varieties and a few dessert pears.

Swept up in the slipstream of the cider boom, Perry, the fermented beverage produced from perry pears, has been enjoying  a bit of a renaissance recently. So, could perry orchards become a more familiar sight in the future?

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Pruning Young Trees

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Planting a cider apple and perry pear orchard at Houghton Feb 2013

Orchard Origins went back to the Houghton Project this week to prune the apple and pear trees we planted a year ago. Pruning a tree in its early years – known as formative pruning – helps it to develop a strong, basic branch structure.  As discussed in a previous post Winter or Summer Pruning, formative pruning is best done in the winter when the tree is still dormant.

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A Pear With A Past

The cows will be returning to the orchard at Lower House Farm in the next few days so harvesting the windfalls was a priority.  We picked eighteen crates of apples – Bramley’s Seedling, Adam’s Pearmain, Catsheads, Herefordshire Beefing and Hanwell’s Souring.

The pear trees – three magnificent Worcester Black Pears – have cropped particularly well this year. Many of the pears had already fallen to the ground and with some gentle coaxing we were able to dislodge the remainder. So, in addition to the apples, we filled another six crates with Black Pears.

The Black Pear is a very old cultivar that has had a long association with Worcestershire; three Black Pears make up part of the centrepiece of the City of Worcester’s coat of arms. Over the years the origins of Worcester Black Pear have aroused a great deal of debate, but with the help of new scientific methods the mystery may finally be solved. Continue reading