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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pruning Tips & Pics and Treacherous Stings

The right tools make all the difference.  Get some sharp cutting clippers and lopping shears.  Gloves and water are essential.  It's hot out there by 8:30 a.m.

The chair is for the end of the job.  (Just didn't want you to think this is a sitting down job.)
This tree has been pruned before but it still needs to get some air.  See how dark it is in the center?
See the difference?  It's so light and airy now.  It can much more easily sustain itself and won't need as much water.  Air circulation is very important, too.

Here are the limbs I pruned out.  This was a light-weight compared to some in the orchard.  Some of them had never been pruned so there were lots more branches to remove. 

Just a few more thoughts that came to me as I worked.
  1. If you have Eastern Filbert Blight in your orchard, as you prune, watch the "suckers" as compared to the original tree branches.  The suckers in my trees didn't have any cankers so I left them to keep the tree and root system alive. 
  2. Plant more oaks.  They don't require as much maintenance.
  3. If EFB comes your way, maybe if the trees are well pruned, the spores will blow on through and not stay around.
  4. Don't top the trees.  It just makes more sucker branches to prune in the end.

Be careful out there.  You never know what may be lurking between the branches.  At the very end of a row when I picked up a pile of branches to drag to the edge of the orchard, a  puss caterpillar (an asp) stung me.  I never saw it and was only able to determine what had stung me by the pattern it left on my skin and great internet site for identification.  It took 48 hours to stop hurting and I do mean HURTING.  If one ever stings you, you'll know it.  Read all about it and, if all possible, avoid it like the plague.