Apple tree pruning workshops

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Catherine Ross and John Wylie report:

David Catt led two workshops in November 2014. The first was at Linton Mill Farmhouse. Nicky and Neil have been there for about a year, inheriting an interesting garden, including four mature apple trees, which needed pruning. David demonstrated on one tree, showing us the fruiting buds, cutting out branches growing towards the centre and shortening smaller branches. We all set to, including Neil with a saw up a ladder and the task was more or less finished by lunchtime. We enjoyed good weather, with lovely views of the hills above Linton.

The second workshop was at Thirlestane; again, we were lucky to have mild, dry weather. There are about fifty apple trees in the orchard, which was planted in 2007. We chose the varieties because we liked the names and/or because they are supposed to grow well in Scotland, and got Alec West to propagate them for us: he threw in some pears as well. We have done some pruning, but it’s been fitful and timid, and some of the trees have grown too tall to harvest the apples. David encouraged us to be more radical. Group members spread out and tackled a range of trees and there was a lot of wood on the ground by the time we broke for the usual excellent shared lunch. Thank you to all who took part.

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