Page 30 - Forest Row Local January Edition
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30 January 2021 • Forest Row Local
they will always re-grow to their ‘pre-planned’ size; we will either have to live with, remove or manage them. Managing the size means reducing the longest branches every year by a few feet, which will not only reduce the tree’s size but will also encourage side shoots and fruit growth on the branch. However, do not expect a miracle in size reduction: if we try to cut the tree too hard we will be rewarded the following year with a mass of incredibly strong, vigorous growths, sometimes longer than the ones we removed the previous year! We must remember they are, and want to be, a large tree.
3) Renewal of fruiting wood. On all fruit trees there are two types of bud - fruit buds and leaf buds.
Fruit buds are identifiable as being thicker, rougher, plumper and older than the smoother, smaller younger leaf buds. If one observes a single branch
of a fruit tree the leaf buds are the first buds at the very tip of a branch: they are small, smooth and close to the stem. If we look further down the stem to the second and third year of growth, we can see these buds have now transformed into fruit buds – thicker and more upright, perhaps in a cluster or spur. A healthy fruit tree needs constant renewal of both sorts of buds and a good balance of the two: young and old wood. Most of this renewal comes about naturally if we carry out the above two rules correctly because 1) removal of old wood for light and air allows young wood to develop, and 2) reduction of size by removing the tips of branches encourages development of fruit buds and spurs lower down.
(NB There a few varieties of apple which have some fruit buds on the tips of their branches (for example Worcester Pearmain, Lord Lambourne and Pink Lady – here we will have to be more judicious in our pruning: it will be crucial to identify the fruit buds and not cut them off! In practice this means less size reduction).
A further simple pruning technique to bring about this balance is to reduce young side shoots on
main branches by three or four buds – this helps concentrate energy on the fruit buds and spurs lower down rather than on too much leafy growth.
A final thought. Before pruning it is a good idea to stand back and really look at the tree. All trees are unique and have their own character and being. By really observing, we start to form a connection, a dialogue with the tree; we begin to notice particular branches, fruits and the way that they are growing. Many indigenous cultures including Britain’s own Celtic/Druidic stream develop this theme further
– they suggest we should gently ask the tree for permission before cutting and also ask for guidance on how to prune: an almost forgotten art, but one
which deserves reviving. It does require a shift in our gardener’s mindset of being the one in charge and needs a few moments of reflection before action, but it can be really helpful. For me, this ‘getting to know’ a tree is the first stage of pruning, if we are quiet enough we may well be guided to the right way to prune them: it might be different from what we first imagined, and it might also be very different from a neighbouring tree. By practicing this attitude each time we prune we might come closer to the balance outlined at the beginning – the compromise between the wishes of the tree and our wishes. This quality of ‘conscious compromise’ could also inform our wider relationships to the other non-human beings of the Earth: other plants, plus minerals and the animals, and lead to healing of the damage which we have carried out on the Earth in the name of ‘human-first’ growth, replacing it with a kinder, more thoughtful and more reciprocal way of relating.
By Michael Fuller
07952 751029/ 01342 824320
 A Thank you from Forest Row Community Fridge
Forest Row Community Fridge held a Christmas Treats Appeal to supply households in need within the community.
We were overwhelmed by the generosity of those in and around Forest Row and would like to thank all of the private donors as well as a massive thank you to Co-op Forest Row, Waitrose East Grinstead and Aldi East Grinstead who donated treats in abundance to go
into the hampers.
01342 889 455

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