Gardening

The place to chat, fluff your feathers, and let off steam!
User avatar
LadyA
Full Member
Posts: 510
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 9:15 am

Re: Gardening

Post by LadyA » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:47 am

That's what I should start doing, Marigold. Pruning the apple trees, of which there are too many. About 14 I think. I've no idea how to prune properly, so I'll just chop away. It's mild today, so I might actually do something outside. I'm definitely NOT a natural gardener. Just seems to be so overwhelming, this place. My husband used to spend entire days pottering about out there, keeping his many small flower beds going. I have neither the time nor, frankly, the will to do that. Keeping the grass cut and hedges trimmed is about the most I get to keep up with! Which reminds me, that's another job not done yet! The huge circular hedge at the back needs trimming. Hm. Maybe I better get off my behind today. At least I gave that a good cut last year, so trimming is all it needs this year! I'm also thinking of planting the hazel trimmings along the side hedge, to make eventually a "living fence" on the side that gets most wind. And then, ultimately, taking down the huge trees on that side, that are giving no shelter anymore, and becoming dangerous in storms. I've already had one enormous branch come down last Winter, missing the chicken house by inches! I've got very persistent brambles coming up everywhere. They seem to be travelling a long way under the lawn. I've been trying for years to get rid of them, and can't.
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
rick
Full Member
Posts: 1524
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:52 pm

Re: Gardening

Post by rick » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:40 am

First morning of frozen drinkers here.
Its not really possible to prune full standard apple trees in any major way LadyA. Of course, its possible to train apple trees from young into a form you can prune and keep easy to harvest i.e. fanned out low on wires, but once they develop into 'standards' they take to any meaningful reduction with tall fresh growth that spoils the form and the point of doing it in the first place.
So its a case of taking out dead, dying and crossing branches and maybe just tweaking the general shape a bit. A pole saw and loppers are handy.

Of course, there's all sorts of pruning tricks you can do to a tree that is trained for it from the outset but for a specimen standard there is general light maintenance and bravely taking off a good portion of the set fruit before it develops so the remainder grow bigger. That's about it.

Oh, and unlike most other trees, best not to prune them in the winter/wet months as you run the risk of a silverleaf infection.
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Gardening

Post by Marigold » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:59 am

It helps to buy half-standard trees on a semi-vigorous rootstock in the first place, and then to prune them into an open cup shape each year, so they're easy to reach for picking and pruning. My 4-year-old Worcester Permain is quite a delicate-looking little tree, with slender shoots that are easy to prune with secateurs, but the 6-year-old Bramley grows thick, sturdy shoots that require loppers to keep in shape, though I can still reach the top with the help of a small pair of steps. It would be huge by now without its annual haircut. Last year in the drought there was very little fruit, especially as the Bramley was having one of its 'resting' years, but it seems to have put on a remarkable amount of upwards growth in the absence both of fruit and of water. Am hoping for a few more apples this year, though the main purpose of these trees is blossom, and screening for the summer house.
Rick, I think the risk of silver leaf infection applies to plum and cherry trees, which should only be pruned in the warmer months. Most of the advice on pruning apples says do it when they're dormant, in winter. See https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=90
MrsBiscuit
Full Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:02 pm

Re: Gardening

Post by MrsBiscuit » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:12 pm

Have you got as far as a raspberry choice yet Marigold? I used to grow Polka (autumn fruit) which was vigorous and prolific but the flavour wasn't fabulous and I wouldn't grow it again. The one I like best in the shops is Tullameen (not Tullamore as I initially wrote, that is a whisky apparently!)

I did the apple pruning in Portugal before Christmas, with the added benefit that the unwanted branches became the Xmas tree, sprayed gold and drenched in tinsel and lights. One of the nicest sights in the world is pale pink and white apple blossom waving in the breeze against a blue sky with the sound of bees and the scent of the blossom if you dare stick your nose in!

In the UK our apples were planted in the teeth of an easterly wind, which in hindsight was a big mistake. They struggled although they did fruit. Next door sensibly planted their's behind a hedge and had a dozen very prolific trees, with a few rarities, the only one I can remember was St Edmunds Russet (or similar). The one which did best for me was called Kidds Orange Red, which is a cross between a cox and something from NZ I think. Great flavour too. My other neighbour had a very prolific and huge Bramley. They had it topped about 5 years ago and it sulked a bit, but now its grown very large again and strangely the fruit is much redder than it used to be. However, many of our combined efforts were in vain because the deer would wait for the fruit to ripen, jump the fence and proceed to feast! Bramley neighbour has since had a much higher fence erected, and the hedges have matured making it harder for the deer to process from one garden to the next, but I'm sure they will find a way in!
rick
Full Member
Posts: 1524
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 12:52 pm

Re: Gardening

Post by rick » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:27 pm

Marigold wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:59 am
Rick, I think the risk of silver leaf infection applies to plum and cherry trees, which should only be pruned in the warmer months. Most of the advice on pruning apples says do it when they're dormant, in winter. See https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=90
That's fair enough Marigold. The risk is very, very low.
Flowers - yes! Fantastic!
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Gardening

Post by Marigold » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:35 pm

MrsBiscuit wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:12 pm
Have you got as far as a raspberry choice yet Marigold? I used to grow Polka (autumn fruit) which was vigorous and prolific but the flavour wasn't fabulous and I wouldn't grow it again. The one I like best in the shops is Tullameen (not Tullamore as I initially wrote, that is a whisky apparently!)

I'm going to get Joan J. autumn raspberries. I've grown them for some years, they have lovely big flavourful berries and the leaves are not rough on your hands like some varieties are.
User avatar
LadyA
Full Member
Posts: 510
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 9:15 am

Re: Gardening

Post by LadyA » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:35 pm

Only one of the apple trees is a full size. It wasn't meant to be! The rest are all either dwarf or half-standard. Several are growing at mad angles, because William didn't stake them properly (or at all!). I'm planning to put in a couple of extra Jonagolds, because they're a favourite of dau's family and myself, and will store well for Winter. I've only one Jonagold tree, and it's not doing well.

I did a bit outside today, so am proud of myself! I managed to dig out some Solomon's Seal from a flower bed - the same Solomon's Seal which broke a garden fork and wrenched my back so badly in the Autumn that I was out of action for a couple of weeks! The ground is so soft now, that I managed easily to break the rhizomes and get quite a bit out. I've dumped it in "no-man's-land", my wilderness down at the back, where it can spread to its heart's content! I also spent time weeding a heather bed free of cleavers and raking loads of cleavers from the "lawn" (hahaha!) around that area. I've a huge problem with cleavers. They are everywhere! I spend Spring & Summer raking them out, but they come back the minute I turn my back! The weather's been so mild, that they are starting to run rampant already! I've snowdrops in bloom and daffodils in fat bud. My sister in law, who lives in town, has daffodils in bloom!
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Gardening

Post by Marigold » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:36 am

By cleavers, do you mean the tall thin green weed that drapes itself over the hedges and sticks to your gloves when you pull it out? I've heard it called stickyweed and lover's touch, but also goosegrass, and chickens love it. At the moment I'm collecting a bagful of lovely tender shoots on the dog walk each day, to tie up on a string for the hens as their free daily greens. They get really excited when I appear with it, and it's soon gone.
Interesting article here about its many names and various uses, including a tea which cleanses the lymphatic system, and stuffing for mattresses! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galium_aparine
User avatar
LadyA
Full Member
Posts: 510
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 9:15 am

Re: Gardening

Post by LadyA » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:23 am

Marigold wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:36 am
By cleavers, do you mean the tall thin green weed that drapes itself over the hedges and sticks to your gloves when you pull it out? I've heard it called stickyweed and lover's touch, but also goosegrass, and chickens love it. At the moment I'm collecting a bagful of lovely tender shoots on the dog walk each day, to tie up on a string for the hens as their free daily greens. They get really excited when I appear with it, and it's soon gone.
Interesting article here about its many names and various uses, including a tea which cleanses the lymphatic system, and stuffing for mattresses! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galium_aparine
That's the stuff. I believe that during the war, when medicines couldn't be got, the Govt. in the UK paid by the lb for it, along with several other "weeds". Here, my ground can be very wet, and I get a lot of moss growing under trees and spreading out. I love the moss, and the birds love it. Unfortunately, the cleavers also love it! Blooming stuff runs rampant here under the hedges and trees, and spreads from there.
Lead me not into temptation. I can find the way myself!
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 6121
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Gardening

Post by Marigold » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:24 am

LadyA wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:23 am
That's the stuff. I believe that during the war, when medicines couldn't be got, the Govt. in the UK paid by the lb for it, along with several other "weeds". Here, my ground can be very wet, and I get a lot of moss growing under trees and spreading out. I love the moss, and the birds love it. Unfortunately, the cleavers also love it! Blooming stuff runs rampant here under the hedges and trees, and spreads from there.
The;s good to know. We might need it after Brexit!
Post Reply

Return to “The Dustbath”