Late Winter Pruning

We gave the orchard some love yesterday afternoon and pruned up the apple and chestnuts.

The chestnuts I left for their first year in the ground untouched because I had been told they were rather finicky. But this year, I went ahead and cleaned them up some. I was going to get creative with their design and have some with central leaders…except that those central leaders bent over so I have more of a chalice shape…which is what I intentionally pruned my apple, peach, and cherry trees to, so I guess the chestnuts were just aiming for continuity. Thanks, lil trees. Saved me time.

The apples look really nice. I’m hoping that in strengthening the tree, we end up getting ahead of our rust issues. I wanted to highlight how I prune them. Look at these cuts.

The cut on bottom is from last year, the cut on top is from this year. I always cut to the collar. Every book I’ve ever read says not to do that… Every book I’ve ever read must be lying. Because cutting to the collar does a couple things 1) it gives you a nice clean line to cut on- God is really cool. 2) it keeps the angle of your cut flush to the tree instead of worrying about cutting at an angle to prevent water run off causing rot. 3) it heals beautifully and the cuts are hidden. I will always cut to the collar. The caveat here is that you MUST have the right tools for the job. Your pruning shears and saw must be exceptionally sharp. Yes, the nice ones are expensive, but it is an investment in tools, as opposed to money thrown away on useless tools, and trees that died because they had jagged cuts that didn’t heal and rotted out.

You have to think big picture with tree pruning. It’s odd because, as you go, you’re cutting off individual sticks. But you have to start from the inside and work your way out. You aren’t hacking and slashing, you’re arranging the branches to be fruitful and strong and healthy. God works in the same way! He prunes us from the inside out; cutting away the exterenious, the fruitless, the dead, the shoots that are headed in the wrong direction; the suckers that take energy and growth away from the foundational branches. I learn a lot about the Father as I’m with the trees. 😊

Anyway, they’re all looking nice. Then my crazy strong husband hoisted me up on his shoulders so I could “fix” our willow tree, who had started to plait some of its larger branches! I ended up only taking 2 branches off, and used their whip-like sticks for basketry. I love basket weaving when I have the time and materials to do it.

I always wanted to be an expert at something. I’m told most experts spend at least 10,000 hours honing their craft. I wanted there to be something that I intuitively had the skill and ability to do and for a long time I thought that was music. But the more time I spend in the garden, the more I just connect with God in it and the more I feel His wisdom leading me to do things intuitively that I would maybe not have done otherwise. I think that’s my lesson- I have to let God do the work in me, and then my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Why He decided gardening was that avenue with me I don’t know. I would have been just as happy composing or playing symphonies. Then again, my namesake is Eden.

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