Thursday, 18 November 2010


A growing branch of the Waitati Edible Gardens Group

by Jason Ross

Waitati Open Orchards (WOO) is a group of keen folk on a mission to
plant fruit trees in public spaces around Waitati for all to enjoy.
Email to join our mailing list.

It's been a dry spring, but even our late planted trees are doing
well. Some of the WOO blokes put in some hard yards during November
growing mo's for Movember. Check out the Movember website and join the
Bio Mo Growers team next November!

December and January: Keep up the water to young trees if the usual
December drizzle fails to arrive! Keep up thinning of fruit to ensure
a quality crop. From mid-December you can start summer pruning of
established trees. Winter pruning has the effect of encouraging strong
growth of branches and trunk, so is good for young trees or where you
want replacement growth in older trees, whereas summer pruning slows
the tree's growth and encourages flowering and fruiting, so is used
for established vigorous trees only. It is especially good for keeping
espalier trees in shape, but I find it very useful for training all
fruit trees. It is also very useful for keeping gooseberries and
worcesterberries in an open shape.

Summer pruning of fruit trees consists mainly of shortening extraneous
new growth back to fruit spurs -- that is everything that isn't to be
a future branch. If there isn't room for fruit to form on a spur in
that part of the tree then cut the new growth right out. Older
branches can also be removed if desired. Summer pruning is great for
cutting out suckers (water shoots), especially in plums, because the
re-growth won't be so crazy as it can be after winter pruning.

Some folk like to cut out the blackcurrant branches with fruit on and
take them inside to pick the fruit off. This slightly different summer
pruning makes room for the developing new shoots which will bear fruit
next year, so cut the branches off nice and low. Similarly you can cut
raspberry canes to the ground once they have fruited, leaving room for
new growth. New shoots on raspberries are best thinned to the
strongest, well-spaced canes.

Other advantages of summer pruning are that cutting out unwanted new
growth allows light and air into the tree to ripen the fruit, there is
less chance of silverleaf disease during dry summer weather, and a
plant in active growth heals very quickly.

Contact us or look out for posters for our late January Summer Pruning
Workshop. See you there.

Jason Ross, 4822625.

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