Apple pruning courses 2019

Apple pruning courses 2019
Wanting to tackle that tree but don’t know where to start?
Learn a new skill or brush up on old ones?
Treat a loved one to a surprise Xmas gift with a difference!
Heres the details for an exciting day course, get in touch and book a place!

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As some of you will know for the last few years myself and Nick Black have been running Apple pruning courses, these have been growing in popularity and we try to find a new venue every year to challenge people and also to give people the best experience possible.

I think this year we may have surpassed ourselves and its with much delight I can reveal the venue for our upcoming courses is….. (please imagine a drumroll at this point!)…. Continue reading “Apple pruning courses 2019”

Apple Tree Pruning course

Always wanted to learn how to prune your fruit trees?
Want to feel more confident about it?
Heres your chance to get some great training

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Some of you may remember I held my first training day last year for winter pruning. It was such a resounding success with great feedback I’ve decided to do it again, only this time bigger!
So what can you expect?

The Venue

This year we will be holding our first event at a private house with a large walled garden in Buckinghamshire on the 3rd February 2018 .
Approximately 25 fruit trees of a decent age to challenge yourself with & 2 instructors on-hand with between them over 25 years experience.Places will be limited so please contact A.SA.P. to reserve your place, all details will be sent through to you Via email as soon as we have heard from you.

The Instructors

At this point I’d like to introduce you to Nick Black.
Nick is a fully trained arborist & whilst we don’t expect you to be climbing trees like this his knowledge of both how trees work & horticulture is invaluable.
Nick can be found normally working as The Muddy Gardener. You can also find him being cheeky on twitter @imnickblack
As for me, I have nearly 20 years of looking after fruit trees under my belt, trained at Pershore college under John Edgerly, then at Ryton Organic gardens, I moved onto become the Veg gardener at Sissinghurst where we established a large Orchard under Amy Wardman who had been the Fruit student at RHS Wisley and was very generous at passing on her knowledge.
I was there that I first started training people to prune fruit & it gives me great joy to help people become confident and proficient.
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The Orchard at Sissinghurst

The course

The day will start at 10am where you will all gather and we can discuss where your skill level is as we are happy to take on absolute beginners through to those that have experience & want to progress.
You will be shown all the tools you will need and have their safe use & maintenance explained to you. Then we will go through pruning maiden trees to establish the correct framework for freestanding, espalier, fan & other styles of fruit trees.
After a short break, to warm up & refuel on hot tea & cake, we will start to tackle the big trees! This will give us an excellent opportunity to discuss different methods of pruning & the reasons for it.  If you have a tree which has got out of hand this will be exactly what you need!
A break for a warming lunch of soup and then..
Once the demonstration is over you will be let loose on your own trees with both of us at your beck & call for advice if you get stuck!
Finally, we will gather to discuss any questions & do a quick session on apple tree pest, diseases & disorders
These are the trees we will be working on

The Cost

The day will cost £60.00 per person but will include Drinks, soup & snacks

Also £20 will go straight to Marie curie via my Just giving page

If youd like to sign up just fill in the form below and I will send you further details or if you wish to buy it as an xmas present for a loved one and keep it as a surprise we can arrange that too, look forward to hearing from you

Epicormic growth or canker?

Whats wrong with your Apple tree? A quick guide to Canker identification

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I’m going to attempt to make this a quick short blog post.

I saw on a forum a chap was concerned about his apple tree & confusion as to what was going on with it had caused people to jump to the conclusion it was Canker. Understandably he was concerned but he really didn’t need to be, the tree was perfectly healthy it was just displaying signs of epicormic growth.

What is Epicormic growth?

Epicormic growth is when dormant buds underneath the bark of the tree are stimulated, often through stress, into growth. Often creating a knobbly raised area which i guess to the untrained eye can look a bit sinister. These happen a lot on fruit trees due to the nature of pruning them they are often stimulated to produce new growth. We prune fruit trees to an open shape for ease of picking and to help fruit ripen but left to their own devices they, like all trees want to reach to the sky. When we remove the topmost growth they produce water shoots, strong upright growth from areas that over time will grow to look like this…

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As you can see the water shoots have been cut flush over a number of years creating a gnarled knobbly appearance with sunken areas on what is effectively scar tissue, this is fine, the cuts are clean.

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As you can see above an old tree over time will develop huge knobbles and still be perfectly healthy. Even a tree with Canker will continue to survive for a very long time so long as it is managed well.

So what is Canker?

Infections on Apple and Pear trees is fungal Canker (bacterial affects stone fruit) Neonectria ditissima is the culprit and causes brown peeling sunken patches on stems, limbs and in worst cases the trunk of the tree. Most times if caught early it can be pruned out easily and new shoots trained in, winter pruning is a good time to do this as winter pruning encourages new growth.

But what does it look like?

Depending on the stage it has reached it can have a variety of similar appearances illustrated below….

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The 2 examples above are the early stages of Canker as it progresses it will begin to look like this…

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And finally…

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Even at this stage the tree has healthy fruit producing shoots at the end of the limb but the limb will have to go.

Some methods to avoid introducing Canker are

Always clean your tools between pruning different trees, white spirits and a toothbrush are perfect for this.

Practice good hygiene around your trees, don’t leave prunings, fallen apples or leaves lying around, all a source for reinfection. Dont compost, either burn or send offsite.

Make your cuts clean when pruning, sharp tools are a must!

Remember all wounds are a source of infection so when picking fruit don’t pull off the tree, lift and roll. If it doesn’t come it’s not ready. Leaf fall, harvest and pruning are the time your trees are most at risk of infection.

 

Apple pruning course

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I’m delighted to announce in conjunction with All Horts, the horticultural group, I will be running an Apple tree pruning course. The course will be suitable for complete beginners to intermediate level but places are limited in number!

I will be passing on skills I have learnt over the last 15 years from John Edgerly (RHS Fruit & Pershore), Amy Wardman( RHS Wisley), Chris Lanczak (Waterperry Gardens) & Ryton Organic Gardens (Garden Organic).

We will be meeting at a lovely private property with some established fruit trees where myself and a trained arborist will take you through the basics, what you can safely achieve and when you should call in an expert!

If you would like to get involved please contact me ASAP!

Course will be held in Charlbury, Oxon

Date: 26th Feb 2017 (10am – 4pm)

Cost: £60.00

(part of this cost will go towards All Horts admin & donations to charitable groups it supports)