It's the Most Prune-able Time of the Year!

| 1/1/2019 12:00:00 AM


Renee headshotArmed with my trusty pruning shears and humming my little made-up ditty to the tune of that holiday classic "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,"my leaping, cavorting dogs and I make our way to our fruit trees. We have persimmons, nectarines and pomegranates. The trees need pruning and this is the time of year to do it. The trees are dormant and all the pesky leaves have fallen.  The structure of the tree is visible.

I started my "career" in pruning years ago when I discovered an apricot tree in my back yard at a previous home. It was struggling to survive and I wanted to help it do so. So I dug it up and put it in a place where marauding dogs and children weren't going to mash into it any more. I thought to myself, "If it doesn't make it no big loss." It didn't cost me a thing.

As time went on, the tree made it and made it big time. I even got apricots from it. It's marvelous how nature really wants to do its thing. To help, I cut it back some using tried and true pruning guidelines. That's when it really took off.

Since then I have simply enjoyed the process of pruning and shaping a tree. It's kind of an art form in my opinion. You look at the bare branches and you think, "If I took off those how much stronger and prettier the tree would be." Like an artist you take action here, step back to observe there and step forward again to make another cut somewhere else. Pretty soon something nice takes shape.

Last year I worked on my nectarine trees that had been terribly neglected. They had never been purposefully watered. They had loads of fungus and were obviously very stressed. They still hung on and even produced shriveled fruit. They really were crying out for some help so I cut them back drastically because like a soldier on the battlefield, the poor tree was suffering from its version of gangrene. I cut away all the diseased limbs down to a few strategic branches. It looked like I killed it. My husband said, "Why did you do that?" He was sure that I had killed it. I said, "Dear one, trust me, it's hard to kill a tree. You'll see."  It was exactly what the tree needed. This year it came back and fluffed out so beautifully and next year I'll get some really tasty nectarines.

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