Winter means it’s pruning season at the Orchard. We normally begin in early February and prune through early April. It is one of the most important and time-consuming jobs. We try to prune each and every tree; this year the record and late snow storms have created quite the challenge.
Why do we spend so much time at this each year?
In order to grow high quality, nutritious fruit it is important to manage our trees to capture the most sunlight possible. Think of the tree as a collection of solar panels. We want sunlight (energy) to reach all parts of the tree canopy. Well pruned trees capture the most sun energy to produce healthy fruit buds and ripen sweet and nutritious apples. Well pruned trees also allow air movement and rapid drying following rains or morning dew. The result is fewer fungal diseases that can weaken the trees and damage the fruit.
Our yearly goal is to prune each of our approximately 4,000 trees so they can be healthy and productive this year and beyond. A good pruning program allows you to prune hard on the trees missed last year and lighter on other varieties. Pruning is a critical management tool to ensure there is no loss of fruit quality despite what the weather throws at you!