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

Growth of the winesap

Growth of apple tree

I spent part of the afternoon Sunday training the fruit trees, tying branches to the ground to widen their angles from the trunk.  I also went ahead and pruned my apple trees, though it's only just barely late enough.  (I'm going to hold off on pruning the rest of the fruit trees until March.)

Actually, my apples hardly needed pruning.  I only have one good one --- the winesap shown here.  I bought it last April from Lowes, pruned it within an inch of its life so that its branches would match its roots, and then ignored it.  I didn't really believe it had grown, but when I took a look at the side by side comparison, it become clear that the winesap actually did quite well.  Maybe we'll have apples in a few years!

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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 have a peach tree in the back that's much the same way. I didn't think it had grown at all and began to worry until my wife reminded me that it only came up to her chin when we bought it. I asked her to stand next to it again and sure enough it was about six inches over her head.
Comment by Everett Mon Feb 2 14:29:35 2009
It's always good to have some kind of record like that --- it's hard to see if they're growing sometimes when you walk by them every day! (Though I have to say that my peach trees grow very obviously.)
Comment by anna Mon Feb 2 16:43:57 2009
Thanks for sharing the apple tree photos! I've been reading about training the branches, but its nice to actually see what that might look like. Looks like your tree has grown a good bit for just one year. I hope I can say the same for mine next fall.
Comment by Laura Tue Feb 3 01:04:04 2009

I'm glad you enjoyed the photos! I had never trained my branches before, but I've been doing a lot of reading on pruning, and several people say that you should do a lot more training than pruning before their fruit trees start bearing. The goal is to get your branches at a roughly 60 degree angle from the trunk while they're still malleable enough to be trained.

I tied yarn around my branches and then tied them to the raised bed around the base of the plant , but I've also heard of people tying the yarn (or wire --- yarn might rot, though I was more afraid I'd forget about wire and girdle the branches) to old milk jugs filled with water or to stakes in the ground.

Good luck!

Comment by anna Tue Feb 3 08:28:53 2009

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