Monday, January 19, 2015

Dormant Pruning & Propagating Apple Trees

   We've taken advantage of the nice weather the past few days to start dormant pruning of our apple orchard, which is a big job each winter.  Our workers Brandon Ledford and Ben Miller came Saturday afternoon to help prune apple trees.
Ben Miller (left) and Brandon Ledford (right) used hand loppers to thin out overly dense branches in 'Enterprise' apple trees.
   We used hand loppers and hand pruners to thin out overly dense branches, prune back fruiting branches that droop too low, and prune back long limbs that are spreading too far into the aisles.  Later we'll use pneumatic pole pruners to keep trees lower by pruning back upper branches.
Bill used pole pruners to cut scionwood from the upper branches of a selection from my apple breeding program, so he can propagate this selection.
   Bill cut scionwood of 7 selections from my apple breeding program that I named this past fall.  This spring, he'll graft the scions onto rootstocks in our apple orchard, so in a few years we'll have more trees producing these new apple selections.

Bill cut the scionwood of 'Sun Giant' and other apple selections into 6- to 8-inch pieces, then stores scions of each apple selection in a plastic bag in the fridge until spring, when he'll graft the scions onto rootstocks in our apple orchard.
   We'll have apples for sale for the next 4 months or so, and pecans for sale for the next 2 months or so.  Prices are listed in the previous post.
   From Dec. 1 to May 31 we're open by appointment, so call 620-597-2450 (which rings in the house) or e-mail a day or so in advance, and leave a message saying when you're coming to get apples and/or pecans.  If you drop by on a nice day and I don't see you come in, since I'm working elsewhere on the farm, ring the bell on the sales building.  If it's very cold or raining or snowing and I'm not in the sales building, phone 620-597-2450 or come up to the house.