June 18, 2018

Gardening Tip – Making Fruit Trees Fruit – Easy Pruning Techniques:

Plum Tree

For the week of 20th – 26th June.

When we have a fruit tree that is not producing fruit as it should, I always say we should look at the fruit tree as if it were a human being.  It wants to have children,  but it first would like to enjoy life, it will therefore first try to grow big,  tall (and handsome) , and only after that will it concentrate on producing fruit. However, if it has been attacked it will feel threatened, and revert to produce fruit containing seeds of further trees – this is its way of   fighting back, – by making as much fruit as possible so that in the event of it not being here much longer it will still have offspring to continue its legacy! With this philosophy we begin to understand why many people who are lax to prune their trees end up with a non fruiting tree. If the tree has not been pruned for many years it will produce as many leaves as it at can, it will grow taller and larger at the cost of your fruit.

Before Pruning

The tree in the picture shows a plum tree that has not been pruned for years – tall branches with hardly any flowers, all the branches were lopped at the beginning of May to a convenient height and by now – just six weeks later, it has produced a more manageable tree, with branches that hopefully will bear fruit by next year or the year after, as seen in the second picture.

After Pruning

Points to remember:

Stone fruits should never be pruned in the winter only whilst they are actively growing, otherwise there is a risk of silver leaf disease. Unlike other trees that bear fruit on new and old wood, peach trees will only produce fruit on new growth.

The same logic will explain why we must constantly prune any fruit tree, not only when it has grown out of hand -, all new growth should be cut by half at this time of the year to encourage fruiting buds to form, and again lightly in winter if you have the time. This includes fruit bushes like currants and gooseberries.

One tree that will not crop at all unless pruned is the grape vine. At this time of the year cut back all growth to or three leaves beyond the fruit, and in winter cut back all branches, leaving only those that are as thick as your thumb.

If the tree has branches that are too thick for a lopper you might be better leaving these for a specialist tree surgeon as the tree could die from a major attack – however the specialist will make you sign a disclaimer that they are not liable if the tree will expire. (like a surgeon doing an operation!)

Many books have been written with complicating pruning techniques but keep in mind the overall philosophy explained above and your fruit tree will reward you, by fruiting with a vengeance!



Money saving tip:

Cheap Turf

If you ever wanted to lay a patch of grass but could not afford the cost of turf or have no time to seed the area, listen to this idea. After a rainy weekend,  shops like B&Q have accumulated a large amount of turf but as nobody wants to lay turf on a wet weekend like the past one , their turf is still lying on the pallet- they have no way of watering turf to keep it fresh and they must therefore sell it off quick – at 20%of the original price. Take with a pair of gloves – don’t be ashamed to roll them out in store just to make sure that they are not mouldy ( a bit of dryness doesn’t matter  as it will freshen up once laid ) – you won’t have a bowling green or Wimbledon but you will have a new lawn for next to nothing!




Enjoy your gardening week!

Boris Legarni.

Next week :  Sowing late seeds.

About The Author

Profile photo of Boris Legarni

Boris inherited his green fingers from his mother, who was still planting potatoes and rhubarb in the sixties as she was afraid that they would once again be rationed. As a teenager he used to plant radishes in the corner of the school garden and sell them during break time for sixpence, to give his classmates a healthy crunchy snack. He and his wife both have had an allotment for years, but there is no competition – he does the planting and she does the harvesting and cooking. With a passion for growing anything edible, Boris has planted dozens of named fruit trees in his orchard. Nevertheless he is an avid flower arranger, and assists local communities and charities with his flower arrangements. Boris tells us that after so many years on the allotment he has made all the mistakes possible, and he will share with you his practice to make yours perfect!

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