Winter is pruning season here. Last year, I pruned all our 100 grapevines. This year, Action Man has already done about 75% of them. It looks like a nice day out there today so I try and get some done today.
As for our fruit trees...well. Our fruit trees were planted in 2003, and they have never been pruned. You can imagine what they were like. Really big, really bushy, too big to net. I knew they needed to be pruned, but I didn't know where to start. Start reading a gardening book on pruning fruit trees, and you'll see what I mean. You have to know what you're doing, otherwise you can really do some damage.
So, I hired a professional gardener to come over and show us how it's done. Above is one of our plum trees, pruned into the classic "vase" shape you see in the books.
Our gardener needs to come back and do our apple and pear trees. Even he was flummoxed by them, and said he needed to consult his mate who is an orchardist. Apparently, our trees are very overgrown, and need a hard prune. However, if we prune too heavily at once, it could be a case of "goodbye trees". Hence, caution is needed.
This year's yields won't be as great, but given last year's fruit fly debacle, this won't make much difference. In fact, smaller trees with smaller yields mean that we will be able to net more effectively, and use exclusion bags for fruit fly. We might even get to eat our own fruit this year!