Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pruning Season

We inherited four fruit trees with our house: a big Gravenstein apple, a Bartlett pear, a prolific Santa Rosa plum, and the fourth is a smaller apple that so far has produced no fruit. When we moved here, these trees looked like they hadn’t been pruned in at least a couple of years and I didn’t prune them last year either. I couldn’t get into them. The big apple tree is really big, and old and gnarly and twisty, and even with a pruning ladder it presents a challenge because it’s so overgrown. I have planted many other fruit trees in the yard, but they are young, tiny, and easy to prune.

This year I asked for a pruning ladder for Christmas and my darling husband made my wish come true. I am the proud owner of a shiny new eight-foot pruning ladder and I love it so much it’s a wonder I’m not sleeping with it. I have spent many happy hours in my yard this winter pruning my trees. I took a pruning class at the college last semester, so I actually sort of know what I’m doing, which could be dangerous.

But oh that ornery apple tree. I confess that I have exchanged words with that apple tree. It didn’t want to be pruned. I told the tree it was for its own good. It didn’t listen. It fought me twig and branch. It even threw me off the ladder. Fortunately, I landed on my back on soft ground and didn’t break anything. Ironically, I bruised only my thumb (which landed on my clippers) in exactly the spot needed to open the Ibuprofen bottle. (Had to use my teeth.) I refused to be bucked from that tree. I got right back up on my ladder and continued clipping. This week, with great satisfaction, I called the job done. I’m still a little sore from my plunge off the ladder, but pleased as punch to have that tree trimmed down. I’ll be able to reach the apples in the high branches this year with my new ladder.

Next, the roses.

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