Orchard Maintenance and Hedge-Laying Workshops

Formative pruning workshop in Colwall

In the New Year, Orchard Origins and the Herefordshire Nature Trust are running a series of workshops on orchard maintenance and hedge-laying that promote wildlife-friendly practices.

There has been a huge decline in traditional orchards and hedgerows in the UK since the 1950s. When sensitively managed for fruit production and wildlife orchards support a huge diversity of insects, mammals, birds and plants. Hedges provide natural corridors and nesting sites for a host of different species. Understanding and practising traditional management techniques will help conserve these fragile habitats.  Continue reading

Fruits Of The Forest

Apple Harvesting

Too often apple trees produce a poor crop: the few apples that do form sit high up in the canopy out of reach.  Why is this?  Understanding where the domestic apple’s ancestors came from sheds some light on the problem.

The domestic apple, Malus pumila, isn’t native to Western Europe but originates from Central Asia. The foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range, on the Kazakhstan /China border, were once covered with vast fruit forests where apple, pear, plum and even apricots grew in abundance.  Sadly, only small fragments of these forests remain today. Continue reading