Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Fruiting Orchard

Several years ago, we took the decision  to remove a row of mature Eastern red cedar trees, (they are actually Junipers -Juniperus virginiana) after failing to control Cedar apple rust
Cedar apple rust on Juniperus virginiana
on our four, poorly performing apple trees, destined to become three after the largest tree succumbed to a prolonged wet spell followed by strong winds, and toppled. At the same time, we also decided to enlarge our orchard and fruit garden. So, at this time of year, when our gardening activities are often limited to poring over seed and plant catalogues, we are also pruning our established fruit trees, and formative pruning our new stock.

Our established fruit trees, which were already mature when we acquired the property, consist of three apples, only one of which we are sure of its progeny, (Red delicious) and two pear trees almost certainly Bartlett's, Oh, and one branch on an almost dead Peach tree which produced one peach and then promptly gave up the ghost, to be grubbed out and replaced by an Atlas cedar at the the north east corner of the orchard.  And, while not being productive of edible fruit, the Cedrus Atlantica, will with its majestic growth, nevertheless, feed the soul.
Fruiting Quince Cydonia oblonga

By removing the Eastern red cedars, we've been able to expand our choice of fruit trees within the orchard and ornamental flowering trees without. Plants within the Rose (Rosaceae) family, of which apples are one, are susceptible to Cedar apple rust. Of these, the ones grown primarily for their edible fruit include Apples, Pears, Peaches, Plums, Apricots, Nectarines, Cherries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries and Quince (Cydonia oblonga),
all of which we grow in our orchard and fruit garden, along with Persimmon, Mulberry, Blueberry, Gooseberry, Grape, and Currants (Black, Red and White).

 Quince (Chaenomeles japonica, and others) the flowering shrub,is also in the Rose family and now happily grows in our flower gardens along with other Rose family members, Hawthorn, Serviceberry and of course the Rose itself in all its glorious guises.
Flowering Quince Chaenomeles japonica

I started this post with the intention of writing about the pruning of fruiting plants, ah well, next time.