Printer Friendly

Take the short cut to a fruity summer!

If you want to make sure of getting a rich harvest from your fruit trees and bushes next summer, you must start pruning now.

Apple trees and soft fruit bushes need cutting back right up until early spring, although it is best not to do this during a hard freeze as there might be some splitting of fresh cuts.

Apples have two fruiting habits - spur and tip bearing. On the first the fruit grows on short spurs, each normally carrying two fruiting buds. As the name suggests, the second has the fruiting bud at the end of the lateral shoots.

Fruiting buds are easy to spot because they are firm and plump, while the leaf buds are thin and pointed. But spurs have to be created and this is done by cutting laterals back to within four buds of the main branch in the first winter, and to two buds the following winter.

After a while the laterals can become cluttered, in which case thin out the spurs, picking those on the underside of the branches where the fruit tends to be poor.

With tip bearers only, shorten the longest laterals to within four buds of the main stem in order to create short sub-laterals.

It is important to remember that to get good fruit, trees must be open to allow good air circulation and for the sun to get in, so cut out all wood cluttering up the centre.

This pruning system applies equally to pears but don't prune stone fruits, like plums and cherries, in the winter because the cuts can attract bacterial canker and silver leaf.

Pruning of these plants should be carried out in the spring or immediately after fruiting.

The principle of an open plant applies equally to gooseberries and white and redcurrants, but not blackcurrants.

With gooseberries, cut off all bottom growth to create a six-inch stem, remove centre growth to create a goblet shape and then cut back the remaining branches by about half their length to an outward pointing bud.

White and redcurrants should also have a short, clean stem, and be formed into a goblet shape. Shorten back, leaving about three inches of the new growth.

New wood normally has light-coloured bark and is easy to distinguish from the darker, mature wood.

Blackcurrants need quite different treatment.

They should be stooled to create a bushy ground-hugging plant. Cut out a third of the old wood, and any that is spindly or seems diseased.




A problem for many of us is storage space for our garden tools and equipment. Wheelbarrows, in particular, can take up a lot of room.

But The People has the answer! This week, readers can buy a folding wheelbarrow that can be hung on the wall for pounds 24.95, including packing and postage.

It has a light, strong, tubular steel frame and a carrying pan made from tough woven polypropylene. It will carry loads up to 100lb.

Send your order to: People Wheelbarrow Offer, JEM Marketing, JEM House, Little Mead, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8ND.

Make cheques or postal orders payable to: Mirror Group Newspapers SPG758 and print your name and address in block capitals on the back. Or call the Credit Card Hotline 01483 268 888, quoting SPG758 Wheelbarrow Offer.

The offer closes on January 15, 1997 and is subject to availability. Allow up to 28 days for delivery. (UK mainland only).

Your step-by-step gardening guide

How to make leaf mould:

Leaf mould is one of the finest feeds for the soil. So don't burn up your leaves, use them to make leaf mould...

1. Construct a square cage out of four corner posts with wire- netting tacked to them. Place leaves inside.

2. To speed up the slow rotting process, add a layer of grass cuttings to the leaves at regular intervals.

3. To encourage decomposition, put the leaves through a shredder or pick them up with a rotary mower.

4. Cover the top of the pile with wire-netting - cut to size to prevent the leaves blowing around.

Questions and Answers

Q I have had a magnolia for eight years but it has never flowered. When do you think it will?

A It depends on how it was propagated. If it was grown from seed it probably will not flower for at least ten years - and it could be a good deal older before it blooms.

Plants made from cuttings should flower a bit sooner. Generally, magnolias like an acidic soil - but they will also do well in a chalky soil, providing it is rich with organic matter and does not dry out too much.

Q Can you tell me something about my Southern Palm?

A The plant in the photograph you sent me is the so-called Cabbage Tree (Cordyline australis), also sometimes called Torbay Palm, although it is not a palm at all but a member of the Agave family.

They do respond quite dramatically to extremes of cold or heat, which will cause the leaves to die. Fortunately, the leaves will re-grow eventually.

Cordylines make lovely house plants but they will also do well outside in the warmer counties.

Jobs for the week

In the north of the country lift and store root vegetables in a cool, dry, frost-free place.

Cover precious alpines with a sheet of glass raised on two bricks. They will survive cold, but waterlogging kills.

Finish pruning raspberries, cutting out old canes.

Plant garlic and over-wintering onion sets in a manured bed.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Author:Lyte, Charles
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 24, 1996
Previous Article:Remember when...
Next Article:People on People.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters