Shelburne Orchards

pruning 50 year old trees my Dad planted
Saturday, January 11, 2014

Trees wait for their manicure

This is Day 6 for me pruning this year.. My arms and shoulders are not as sore as 2 days ago.. feeling stronger.. It's only 4 pm and the light is fading.. I can here the chainsaw now and then from down in the lower dump block where Terry is pruning.. them I hear Robs saw going over in the long rows.. A few big cuts with the chain saw.. many smaller cuts with the wire back hand saw while climbing all over the tree.. then finishing with the pruning pole, shortening up the longer branches that need "heading back".. It's kind of meditative work.. I often think of my Dad when I prune.. he used to love it.. He would talk endlessly about the various pruning techniques to me when I was little.. he read everything there was about it, that's my Dad, if there was a book about anything he was interested in.. he'd have read it.. Me, I like to listen.. I remember him pointing to the little wrinkled collar of bark right around where a small branch would connect to a larger branch and tell me that was called "elephant skin" (Which is what it looks like) and that I needed to make my cut just above it. It was the bark that would grow over the wound. Don't cut too far above it or you'll leave a stub.. which will die and cause black rot. That was probably 50 years ago.. and I still think of him explaining it to me.. I know that his enjoyment of the orchard has been very contagious to me.. I just emailed him some of these photos .. They can't grow good McIntosh in New Mexico!!