Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Apple Culling

Gardening is *not* a spectator sport, part 1.

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Culling Apples. As this season goes on and all things become plump and abundant, I have hard choices to make. Tomatoes to prune, carrots to thin, and apples to cull. On apple trees, the flowers grow in clusters of 6-10. On happy years, buzzy little pollinators come in and every one of those flowers turn into a sweet, green, baby apple. And then I come out with my mini-scissors, like some demigod of destruction, and cut then all down. Clipping, one by one. My trees (4 in all) are given the chance to keep the best apples and turn them into something glorious instead of clusters of apples that have disease, rust, or housing for insects like Apple Maggot. I spent the evening with my clippers, cutting down infant apples, one by one. My dogs hang out below the tree, waiting to gobbled them up. When they had their fill, they take them into the yard, so the kids could throw them, like undersized tennis balls. Although this isn't a chore I love, it is necessary to do.

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This type of thing is why I spend the time taking out all but one apple per cluster. I also prune my trees down to 6 ft each winter (when they are completely dormant) so that I can reach all the branches. Pruning has made my trees produce far more than I would have thought. It's like they enjoy the process of being taken care of like a group of high-maintenance women.  I've been doing this for 6 years now, and the one apple tree that was on the property before (pictured - I planted the others) was clearly overgrown and dying when we got here. Last year I got 2 full bushels of apples from it!

Summer pruning is the next apple tree job, and that’s for another post!


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