Hot Under The Collar

Orchard Origins was back at Houghton farm this week to finish pruning some two year old apple trees. While we were there,  the farmer was keen to get our thoughts on his attempts at pruning a small orchard at the entrance to the farm.

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Mixed orchard after pruning

The orchard, a mixture of apple, pear, plum, cherry and greengage, had not been pruned for a number of years and most of the trees had become severely overcrowded. Pruning had successfully opened up the centre of the trees which will improve air circulation and allow in more light.

But, there were also some useful learning points that we thought would be helpful to share on the blog.

  • Stone fruit trees, such as cherry, plum and greengage, should only be pruned in the summer to avoid silver leaf disease.
  • Restrict branch removal to one third of the total canopy in young vigorous trees;  a quarter in old trees
  • When cutting a large branch back to another branch [rather than the trunk] ensure that branch is at least one third the thickness of the branch you are cutting.  We will blog more on this.
  • Always cut branches at the branch collar.

So what and where is the branch collar? Continue reading