Sunday, February 21, 2016

Rescuing Apple Trees

For the last week we've been working in the orchard. I enjoy pruning trees. I like using my clippers; I dislike using the loppers; I detest trying to use a saw. Here's the view looking along the Scuppernong grapevines. Adam has them pretty much cleared out.
Here are two of the first espaliered apple trees I pruned.
As you can see, they've been neglected a long time and their form has suffered
I worked a couple of hours today on this line of trees again. So many were strangled in vines -- grapevine, poison ivy, Virginia creeper, honeysuckle, and others whose names I don't know. One of the apple trees was dead.
This one looks a bit better:
 I'll give you a before-and-after series:
This tree was pathetically overgrown and wrapped in vines. It had been trained initially along the fence but then allowed to grow untended for years.
The trunk, instead of having a primary leader, has crossed competition from multiple branches -- water sprouts that shot up and suck energy from the tree.
 There was even a big dead branch from another tree, hung up in its branches!
However, examination of its tip ends showed me that beautiful buds were still there - the tree was alive.
live branch wrapped in a thick vine
After significant pruning and clearing out, she looks like this:
still a little more work to do on her top
Before and after:
I enjoy this kind of work very much.  I find it relaxing and rewarding. I feel I am rescuing the trees from the grips of despair and death! I like to think that this is redemptive work -- intervening in a desperate situation, removing the evil, keeping the living, nurturing and helping it toward productivity. And even if the trees don't survive, at least it's good exercise!


  1. It does look like rewarding work! I wonder what kind of apples they will be! :)

  2. I hope you get to eat the first apple after all that hard work.

  3. Good results after much work. Hope you get lots of apples one day.


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