Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Up the apples and pears...

'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la la la! But did you know that it's also the season to prune apple and pear trees? In my last blog of 2013 I tell you how, why, and what to do (I do love telling people what to do ;)) And if you don't have an apple tree in your garden don't worry, I have included a cool craft project telling you how to make your own!

Good pruning is important in order to get
a good crop of yummy fruit from your tree

The perfect time to prune your apple and pear trees is between November and March while your trees are dormant. Pruning is an important exercise so that you can:

  • control the size of your tree
  • control the shape of your tree
  • remove diseased branches and reduce the risk of disease going forward
  • remove older, less productive branches to allow space for newer branches (and thus more fruit, yum yum!)
A little bit of time spent on your fruit trees just
now will allow you to reap the benefits next year

The aim is to create an open, "goblet" shaped tree with around five major structural branches. When pruning you should:
  • Remove any diseased or dead branches or those which cross or are rubbing
  • Create an open shape removing any branches necessary
  • Avoid over pruning or you will be left with just young, weak branches and a poor crop
  • Shorten the previous year's growth by around a third. Always cut back to an outward facing bud so the tree with continue to grow in a good shape
  • Remove badly placed shoots
  • Cut young sideshoots back to 5 or 6 buds
  • Thin spurs on older trees to avoid congestion
An example of the branches you should be removing
on your tree to create the right shape and ideal conditions

(Source: RHS)
If you follow these steps then you should be rewarded with a lovely crop of fruit next summer. I love eating our apples straight from the tree but if there are ever any left over then they are great for turning into puree as a healthy pudding for kids. Click here to read out how.

If you don't have your own apple tree in your garden then here's a cool project you can do so that you have your very own apple tree and cute little apples that you can keep in your bedroom...

Create Your Very Own Apple Tree

You will need:
  • A toilet roll and a kitchen roll
  • Glue
  • Coloured paper
  • Paper plate
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Googly eyes
To make:

1. Take the kitchen roll and cut it down slightly to suit the size of paper plate. Cover it with brown paper to make the trunk. Push the paper into the toilet roll at the top.

Cover the kitchen roll in brown paper to make 
the trunk (it also makes a good trumpet!)

2. Take the paper plate and glue on pieces of green paper for the leaves and some red paper for the apples. 

Gluing - my favourite!

3. Cut two slits into the edge of the plate so it can slot onto the toilet roll trunk. You may need to add some sellotape to the back to help secure it. Your tree is ready.

Attach the plate to the "trunk". 
It is great for playing peek-a-boo!

4. Cut the toilet roll down to make a smaller size for an apple. Cover this in red paper. Create a leaf from coloured paper and attach it to a pipe cleaner. Attach the leaf to the apple and glue on some googly eyes and draw a mouth.

All apples should have googly eyes I think!

And there you  have it, your very own apple tree and apple.

Your very own apple tree and apple!

I'm going to sign off now but I hope you all have a fun filled Christmas and a wonderful new year. I'll be back in 2014 with lots of informative new blogs and great projects.

Hugs & kisses,

Thank you to Krokotak for the inspiration behind this lovely art project

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