Friday, March 5, 2010
March Comes In With Pruning Shears
I took my pruning shears out to give the apricot, which you're looking at, and one of the plums their first haircuts. I don't know what I'm doing, but I have a few principles I'm trying to follow.
Prune the trees while they're still dormant. They stored a bunch of sap last year, and I want them to use it to heal, rather than make leaves.
Don't take more than a third of the branches.
Try for a chalice shape.
Make sure that remaining branches don't shade each other.
Cut just outside of the "bark collars." These are the wrinkled, folded-looking bark that covers the places where the branches leave the trunk. This is where the trees heal best, and prevents rot.
Some of my older trees suffered from having a chicken for an owner. I put off pruning them because I didn't know what I was doing, and when I finally pruned them I had to cut bigger branches and make compromises. You can see where there just has to be rot getting into their trunks. Ya live an' learn, but I'm sixty-one years old. Shoulda started this stuff in the Summer of Love.