So today being a mild January day, I headed over to the orchard with my loppers. ["Over to the orchard" is fancy talk for "around the side of the house", by the way.] The homestead already had two established pear, and two established apple trees when we moved in. As far as I can figure, the trees are about 3 years old. That they have been virtually abandoned for those 3 years is painfully obvious.
As you can see from the close-ups, the bases of the trees are full of little, feeder branches and shoots. These actually take energy away from the upward growth of the tree and will limit the fruit production. So they had to go.
I was pretty sparing with my loppers. In truth, I really don't like hurting trees, and am a live-and-let-grow type of girl. But I want these trees to do well, and branches in the wrong places can rub against each other and invite fungus and rot. And, honestly, who wants that?
My problem with the loppers, wonderful tool that they are, is that ours are old and dull. So I am still a bit worried about rot and fungus from so mis-pruned areas. Trees are so delicate!
Anyway, the four, older fruit trees are now pruned. And I took off a feeder or two from one of the new plums. So precocious!
I feel like I am starting our year off right. Taking care of the homestead should be a year-round task, not just a few months of frenetic activity. And I am grateful for The Backyard Orchardist, and for the friends who gave it to me when I moved away.