The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

End of March pruning

Pear flower homestead

It feels odd to wait so long to prune, until the pears are blooming and the apple buds are showing their first signs of pink. But the late approach actually makes the work easier since you can see exactly what each twig is going to do. You just have to be careful not to knock off tender flower buds while you work.

High-density apple flower

Our fruit trees came through the winter unscathed this year, partly because we ripped out the tender peaches last spring and partly because this past winter just wasn't as harsh. The real test of fruiting, of course, will come during Dogwood and Blackberry Winters, when lows may drop beneath the flowers' critical temperatures. I've resolved to cover what I can, but it's hard to imagine protecting whole trees!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I'm a total novice at pruning, although I'll need to learn soon - many wild apple trees that we'd like to rehab at our farm in Cape Breton. But I thought one of the reasons to prune when dormant was so that the sap wouldn't 'leak' and weaken the tree. Now that it's advised not to paint the wound, how do you 'seal' it?
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Sat Apr 2 17:12:54 2016
Rhonda --- Actually, all of the pros I've talked to in the last few years so it's unnecessary to paint the wound. I never have and don't see problems. I was a little concerned about the tree bleeding, but didn't see any trouble with this late pruning. I'm sure there's a time of year when you would have trouble --- maybe a bit earlier when the sap is first rising? --- but near bloom time doesn't seem to be it.
Comment by anna Sat Apr 2 19:22:16 2016

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