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Winter Pruning-palooza

This week the OEC team tamed the unruly forest garden thicket!

Armed with a couple of handsaws, some loppers, and new pair of Felco pruning shears, the Organic Education Center staff set out to accomplish their greatest feat thus far in 2010: the winter pruning of the fruit trees at our demonstration garden. Taking advantage of some peculiarly mild February weather, we got to work trimming back unruly growth and cutting off dead, damaged, and deranged branches. In our garden we a have a variety of fruit bearing trees, including apple, peach, plumb, and medlar, to name a few. All were in need of some hard pruning. We took our time, making intentional cuts to promote healthy growth in each tree.

Late winter is a great time for pruning most fruit trees. Since there is no leafy growth this time of year, you can survey a tree’s entire structure and make strategic cuts without foliage obstructing your work. Moreover, fresh wounds are exposed for only a short time before new growth begins in early spring.

If you are looking to do some pruning yourself, we suggest brushing up on some horticultural literature first. Our favorite comprehensive guide is a book put out by the American Horticultural Society called Pruning & Training: A Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual.

To learn more about getting the most out of your backyard garden, check out the list of Organic Education Center Classes offered this spring!

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