Our fruit trees are looking like shorn sheep – fresh and sprightly, relieved of their season’s over-exuberant growth. Bryn Thomas from Brighton Permaculture Trust visited last week as part of our fruit tree project. For the apples and pears, it’s been a case of pruning the side shoots, back to about five leaf points from the main leader. We’ve got beautiful fat apples on Tinsley Quince and Mannington’s Pearmain, and a few lovely pears fattening up on both pear trees. The trees still look beautiful, with dark green leaves despite aphid infestations throughout the summer.
For the plum, however, it’s been a radical change of character. She – as she’s a Marjorie’s Seedling, I always think of her as a she – was tall and willowy when she was planted in a dustbin (how undignified!) in March 2012. She has grown happily ever since, but forever stretching upwards. Now, the main leader stem has been cut right down. She’s going to be a lovely, rounder, more goblet-like, tree as she matures, but I confess to missing her idiosyncratic stem reaching for the sky over our fencing.
Following Bryn’s example, I think I’ll have to take the secateurs to my young miniature plums and cherries, which have been quite unruly in their growth over the summer.