STEVE’S SEASONAL GROWING TIPS JULY 2017

News

STEVE’S SEASONAL GROWING TIPS JULY 2017
5th July, 2017

Winter is often perceived as a slower time in the garden. I suspect that’s because after the heat of summer most of us gardeners just want some time in front of the fire with a glass of wine to get our breath back somewhat, and to plan and daydream about what we will plant next spring.

The truth is, however, there is a lot to do in the cooler months: weeding, building the nursery you’ve wanted for years, making lots of compost for the coming hungry spring, installing irrigation and winter tree care.

Maintaining fruit trees is potentially a tricky business: different fruits have different needs, different aged trees have different needs, and there are different management strategies for various pests and diseases.

I have recently made the decision to remove a very old plum tree in my garden because it has simply lost vigour. Despite several years of fertilising, mulching, irrigating, pruning and general care, it manages to hold on to less than ten fruits each season which just doesn’t justify the space it occupies: I can replace it with six to eight new dwarf varieties that will produce a lot more in the same area.

I mention this because in the mountains it is easy to inherit an old tree that has suffered years of neglect and poor pruning. This can allow diseases to move into the tree, making overall care much more complex.

Before you head out with a saw and clippers, however, it’s important to have a plan.

At its simplest, the first thing you need to do is decide on the shape you are going for because this will determine pruning for the rest of the tree’s life. Many of our street trees provide a good example – they are pruned to avoid power lines, not to look good, and consequently have poor shape and lots of diseases.

While pruning can get pretty complex, there are two good basics to begin with: first, avoid crossed-over branches, as they can rub together removing protective bark which in turn can allow pests and diseases to move in; and second, remove inward-facing branches, as this will allow more air movement and help avoid some problems with pests and diseases.

From left: the branch collar,  a Pruning – poor pruning scar and rot setting in, a well healed pruning scar.

Ok, so now we get into the slightly harder stuff: where to make the cuts. I have lost count of how many trees I have seen that have been pruned in the wrong spot and with pruning scars that have healed badly.

Starting with the biggest branches, cut them as close as you can to the branch collar – this is the slightly swollen bit between the trunk and the branch. Do not cut in to the collar, cut just above it, and the tree will heal faster.

Always use clean, sharp tools and if a branch is large, cut it down in sections from the end, working in towards the trunk. If the branch is heavy and risks cracking, taking a strip of the trunk with it by making a small cut on the underside of the branch first before sawing it off from the topside. The final pruning cut, above the collar, should be a clean one, not jagged, crushed or stepped.

And don’t forget, save some of that compost you are making for your fruit trees. They love it.

For some hands-on practice in pruning and winter fruit tree care, come along to my next Grow Your Own July workshop – this Friday 7th July 9.00am – 12.00pm.

Steve Fleischmann

Local gardening guru Steve Fleischmann shares his knowledge of food growing in practical hands-on workshops every first Friday of the month at the Katoomba Organic Community Gardens.

If you want to learn more about fruit tree care and pruning Tasmanian heritage fruit tree growers Woodbridge Trees’s articles are a good place to start: Pruning, Why Prune, Summer and Winter Pruning.

Browse Categories

Browse Newsletters

address

Ha'Penny Lane, Katoomba View Map

opening hours

  • day
  • open
  • close
  • Monday
  • 9am
  • 6pm
  • Tuesday
  • 9am
  • 6pm
  • Wednesday
  • 9am
  • 6pm
  • Thursday
  • 9am
  • 6pm
  • Friday
  • 9am
  • 6pm
  • Saturday
  • 8.30am
  • 5pm
  • Sunday
  • 10am
  • 4.30pm

Stock deliveries

  • day
  • Delivery
  • Monday
  • Fruit & Vegetables
  • Tuesday
  • Bread
  • Wednesday
  • Fruit & Vegetables
  • Thursday
  • Fridge Goods, Sol Bread
  • Friday
  • Fruit & Vegetables

Become a member

subscribe to
newsletter

Facebook

Browse Archive