Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Getting the Orchard Ready for Summer

The 'bottom' orchard yielded no fruit for seven years. The parrots took it all. So we caged it and since then the harvests have been more bountiful. The main problem is keeping the trees low which takes some hard pruning but these apples are getting a fine vase shape and yield heavily.
Over winter the trees have been pruned and the cuttings removed. The blossom has come and gone and the fruits are forming.  

To be ready for summer the grass has to whipper-snippered as low as possible. I try to keep the grass away from the trunks of the trees so once it has been cut, the trees are mulched with Lucerne hay. If I run out then I use the grass clippings.

The orchard is watered using an on-ground sprinkler system. This delivers water to the drip lines of the trees with three sprinklers per tree. Having the pipe on the ground leads to a number of problems - the grass grows over the pipe, the mower has restrictions on where it can cut without severing the pipe and the sprayer fittings get cut off by the whirling snipper string.
So each spring the pipe needs to be pulled up from the grass so it can be seen and the sprayers checked and replaced if they are damaged.
As this orchard is at the lowest point of the property, water can be gravity fed from the dam. A timer is set on the tap to make sure it turns off. Once mowed, mulched and the water pipe checked then the trees are ready  - only occasional summer pruning and mowing needed. Three overcast hours and the job was done.
Plumcot fruit forming

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