Martyn and Josie met Alan Thornton in the Park today; Alan is the Project Manager for the Leeds “Orchard Project” and was visiting a number of community orchards in the area. Martyn said a number of points were worth recording:
1 Pleased with way the trees are coming on & that we haven’t lost any.
It appears that the pruning was appropriate.
2. Number one task is to mulch around the bases. Best mulch is wood chippings – Josie to make enquiries An alternate would be to strim the grass & rake the strimmings round the foot of the trees. CARE not to cut trees with strimmer. Could avoid this by using hand sheers around the base of each tree.
3. Check the tree supports. A number probably need slackening to avoid strangulation. One tree at the lower level has no support.
4. Clear the scrubby hawthorn & briars.
5. This first year Alan recommends the removal of fruit as it forms so that more growth goes into the roots. Recognises that it will be tempting to leave some on for a taster.
6. The plum trees could be pruned now (in months without an “r”). It seems that they are more susceptible to the ingress of disease earlier in the year.
7. Plenty of room for more trees down in the lower section.
8. A number of courses planned: Pest & disease; Summer Pruning; Grafting.
9. Asked about our Apple Day plans – 21st October?
10. Noted that it is possible to graft pear onto hawthorn!
We’ll put some of the jobs on the plan for this Saturday’s working party if you want to help nurture the Orchard.