Midsummer trim for an established 'Victoria' plum
Thanks, I suspect, to the wet winter and warm spring, it has been a bountiful year for tree fruit.
Our young trees have surpassed themselves this year, endangering their boughs in some cases and making me wonder whether they will decide to take next year ‘off’.
We have already picked ‘Discovery’ apples, greengages and ‘Victoria’ plums, with ‘Conference’ pears and ‘Jonagold’ and ‘Cox’s Orange Pippins’ still to come.
Once the plums and gages were picked it was time to prune them. Young plum trees are best cut back in spring and more established specimens are pruned in mid-summer.
Where we are now, mid-August, is the deadline for pruning. Leave it any later and the cuts may leave the trees open to silver leaf disease, a fungal problem that also affects apricots, ornamental and edible cherries, and almonds.
Symptoms include silvering of the leaves and dark stains developing in the centre of the branch wood. Purplish bracket fungi can also appear on older, dead wood.
Prune them at the right time and trees are less susceptible to the disease and more likely to fruit well the following year.
Our ‘Victoria’ and greengage are both stand-alone bush trees so simply needed thinning to remove dead shoots, spindly non-productive growth and crossing stems that might rub and damage the bark.
The overall aim is to create an open ‘goblet’ shape that allows good airflow through the tree, and plenty of warmth and sunlight to the blossom and fruits.
Other fruit and veg jobs this week have included planting winter kale, weeding the leeks and harvesting this year’s onions and shallots, the latter to be pickled.
The onions and shallots stayed on the soil to dry for a few days and are now stored in the cool, dark outhouse, ready for use when needed. Roll on Christmas when the pickled onions come into play!
Let’s keep gardening!
One of the great things about lockdown was that more people discovered the joy of gardening and growing things and we greatly hope that this won’t wear off now that ‘normal’ life has resumed.
This blog is an insight into what the AG team is up in their gardens, what we like to grow, what we pick and harvest, what’s worked for us and what hasn’t – because like everyone, things go wrong for us too!
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