March 18, 2019
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In this type of tree structure, the light pours in through the centre, and there are no vertical branches to create shade or obstruction. The open-centre tree could also be described as an open bowl-shaped tree. For light entry, it is excellent. Light is essential as the tree’s source of energy for growing and cropping, and it is also important in the development of fruit, bringing it to its optimum size, quality, taste and colour.
As you can see, in this tree there is a main framework that is beautifully furnished with smaller branches on which new shoots are developing, ready for cropping. This is a wonderful shape for positions where there is plenty of room, where trees can be spaced quite widely apart. The shape is very good for plums and damson, perhaps not so much for pears which prefer a vertical structure.
March 17, 2019
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Light is the source of energy for all trees. For this reason, the shape of the mature free-standing tree should be a pyramid.
Secondly, it is important to remember that trees do not crop because of pruning. Trees crop in spite of pruning. This applies in particular to all young fruit trees.
So in the early years of the tree’s development, we should use the secateurs only as a last resort. We can correct shape using spacers, clothes pegs and string.
Once the trees start to crop, aim at achieving the pyramid shape, and start using your secateurs in a moderate fashion. Think LIGHT, not fancy shape.
By year five, the tree has reached its cropping mode.
At this stage, the pyramid shape should be preserved by removing surplus branches with a sharp pruning saw or sharp secateurs.
Gradually start replacing the older cropping branches with younger cropping branches, in order to maintain the quality of the fruit grown.
By now the fruit tree will have reached its mature height. At this stage, pruning becomes very important in order to maintain the pyramid shape.
The principles which now apply are as follows;
1) Remove excessively vigorous branches, back to the main trunk
2) Try to maintain the pyramid shape without shortening back the branches
3) Stand back from your tree and look to see whether light is dominant in the tree structure.
In our next video we will discuss trees planted along walls and/or fencing panels or trained along wire structures such as fan shaped or espalier trees.
March 14, 2019
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This 2018-19 season has been marked by higher than average demand for fruit trees. This has most likely been caused by the strong increase in the number of new homes and gardens, as well as the unusually warm weather experienced earlier in the season, which affected the fruit trees’ dormancy status. The sale of fruit trees on our website will end on Wednesday 20 March.