It is said that, how good a garden or orchard is in summers, depends on the hard work done during winters. I do not completely agree with it, but still some work needs to be done at times.
The sun is starting to shift north and the birds are starting to show signs that spring is not far away. Soon, the trees will start to wake up. This is the time when some pruning has to be done.
Pruning is a very simple thing to do. First, the dead and diseased branches are removed. Next the suckers and water-sprouts are removed. These two are very interestingly named. I can’t help but chuckle whenever I prune these away. After this comes the pruning that some horticulturists swear by. Cutting the branches to have fruits within easy reach, and to have more healthy growth. For apples, the fruiting happens on old wood, so pruning usually is done to remove this new wood and to promote more branching. Peaches on the other hand are pruned so as to remove old wood and promote the growth of new wood.
For apricots, I prefer not to prune at all. In fact, I don’t like pruning to begin with. If nature intended a plant or a tree to grow in a particular manner, who are we to interfere and change that. From what I have gathered, the trees, including the fruit trees should never be pruned. But, if they have been pruned once, then they have to be pruned always. And so, I am stuck with pruning some apple, plum, and peach trees, year after year.
Pruning also seems to give a boost to the ego of many horticulturists and farmers that I know. The knowledge that they can trim a branch just above a bud and then predict how the branch is going to sprout, makes them feel really special.
I, on the other hand, can never feel that ego boost. I always feel humbled by the fact that these trees and their leaves are the only beings in this world that can make their own food. Rest all the animal kingdom is dependent on these original makers of food or other animals for their diet. These trees have been here long before humans even existed. They have seen centuries pass by. The trees have provided fruits since ancient times and no one pruned them then. They have grown and sustained. Who are we to interfere and feel that we can do better than nature ?
A gray winged blackbird hops around on a tree nearby, breaking my flow of thoughts. Well, it’s time for me to pick up the secateurs and get down to pruning, something about whose, long term advantages are still not clear to me.