Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pruning Trees and Bushes

You may have noticed the I way up on the page on my last blog. I'm having a terrible time with my blogging. I set everything up to look wonderful and then post it and the computer wizard messes it all up throwing words to the wind and putting paragraphs where ever he wishes. It's bad enough that I can't spell let alone messing up what I do do right. It doesn't matter how I try to fix it, the stubborn little monster refuses to makes changes. If you see something awry in my blog format please excuse me for I'm trying to get the upper hand but even after five or more attempts the computer wizard still comes out on top of the argument. As for the spelling I don't know how much hope there is for me.

My cousin just e-mailed me and said she is having trouble commenting on my blogs. Is that a problem for anyone else. If so please e-mail me at and I'll try and figure out the problem.

Anyway, off to today's topic - pruning. It is such a lovely day. The honey bees are out buzzing and it's 43 Fahrenheit and the wind chill is 35 since there is only a slight breeze. That means I spent my day outside. This morning, I reduced the number of laying hens. This afternoon I shoveled some more manure on to the garden from the trailer and pulled out the sawsall to prune trees and bushes. That project is only part done as my blade grew dull and I'm not sure which blade to replace it with. We have ones for wood and another kind for halving and quartering beef and hogs when we butcher? I'll ask hubby tonight and then I'll finish pruning the next nice day we have.

Tomorrow will probably be a cooking and cleaning day as the weather isn't suppose to be nice but then who knows? The poor weatherman is often wrong.

Pruning is best done when the sap is not in the branches making the trama easier on the tree or bushes. That means winter. I'm not known for doing much pruning but one of my goals is to get things trimmed up this winter.
This is a plum tree that I transplanted some years back and just let it go. Last summer I thought it had died but it finally started showing some green growth in July and by the end of the summer the top branches were ridiculously long. You are suppose to cut these in half each year when the tree is young. If you do this, then these gangly shoots will gain branches off of them and your tree will bush out and create lots of area for fruit. Otherwise, you just have a tall gangly tree and few fruit.

The plum will then begin to look more like this apple tree. The branches having multiple branches coming off them. More fruit spurs will form and you concequently will have more fruit

If your wondering what fruit spurs are maybe this drawing will help.

Gangly shoots are not the plum trees only problem. It looked more like a bush than a tree.
I cut back all the mutiple trunks at the base until I had just one, the main center one.
After the plum tree, I started wacking at the red currant bush. It has always been loaded with berries to the point that the branches layed upon the grown. They were sometimes so heavy that some of them broke under the weight. Last year, the bush barely produced anything. I cut the it way back and hopefully that will help. If not, I'm going to pull it out and put in a black currant bush.
If someone tells you that nurseries graft apple trees onto crabapple trees. It's the truth. This was once a small MacIntosh apple tree that died one winter and a new tree sprung from the roots. This year for the first time it bore apples - yup, crabapples. It's a nice little tree. I think I'll remove one of the trunks at the base and trim the branches off a ways up and make it into a respectable crabapple tree.

As for this sorry looking apple tree, I need to cut off the branch toward the bottom of the tree that bends to the left at a eighty degree angle. Then on the next joint where three limbs crowd the space, the center limb is the one that is suppose to be cut out. This allows for wider spacing giving ample room for the little branches that will come off the other two limbs.

If your apples are a real sour and they are not suppose to be, then add lots of manure around the base of the tree. Tht is what happened to us and we added a large amount of manure around the base of each tree. This years apple were pretty good. They could be a bit sweeter though and all the manure I piled around them has all gone into the soil so I'll do it again. We have found that manure sweetens carrots too. I wonder if it has to do with changing the PH.
Some of you down south are preparing to plant a garden and I am too - kind of. I'm spreading manure on the garden and pruning trees. Doesn't that count as gardening? And today, I ordered a bunch more seeds online. My seed stash is much like my fabric and fiber storage, full to over flowing. Many of the seeds I just ordered are a bit different though. They're for the chickens. Not the seeds really but the crops as I plan on growing more of what they will be eating 3/4 's of the year. I'm enlarging the garden again this year. We'll talk about my ideas later and then I'd love your imput, but first I need to lay out a crop rotation plan with all the green manure type seeds I also ordered. So many new things to try. Life is indeed exciting. Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll get the benefits of drinking goat milk blog done. I've been pondering it for two weeks.

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