Lovely weather for the last few days has given us a great opportunity to get to work pruning the apple and pear trees in our orchard. We deal with each tree in layers. Firstly, everything at ground level is pruned by removing the dead, the diseased, and the dying wood, as well as any new growth that is crossing or rubbing on existing branches. Those long thin shoots thrown up over the summer are reduced down to about three buds, and we save this wood for throwing on the summer barbecues to add a smoky flavour to our food.
Next we use a single step platform to give us another couple of feet of reach. This is followed by the ‘big gun’, our 12 foot tripod ladder that enables us to get up high and safely reach all parts of the tree. It’s incredibly stable and we’re quite safe stretching out to the centrally located branches to deal with them.
It’s surprisingly warm work and with the sun setting behind the copse we dragged all the unwanted clippings and debris from the orchard and headed inside to continue perusing the seed catalogues that seem to be permanently strewn across the kitchen table.