As the morning sunshine warms the frosty ground and the chill of another night lingers, all of autumn’s growth is awaiting harvest in nature’s fridge.
Winter is the time of warming soups and warm fresh-baked bread, slow braised stews and hearty puddings.
In the garden not a lot is growing but there is plenty to still do. The preparation work in beds now will be rewarded in spades come spring. Weeding, mulching and building compost are just some of the jobs that need to be maintained.
With your fruit trees. Winter is the time to buy your trees bare rooted which is generally a cheaper option for those with a hankering for a bargain. Ensure you prune at least a third to a half off the tree before you plant it to compensate for the roots removed when prepared for sale.
Winter may also be a time for pruning your trees. There are a lot of different opinions and ideas around pruning trees, more than the number of trees it seems!
I prune in winter when I want to reshape or rework a tree as come springtime the tree will put out lots of large long new growth that will let you choose new branches to keep and balance or reshape the tree. However, if possible don’t prune your apricots, peaches, nectarines or cherries during winter as there is a higher chance of bacteria and infection getting into the tree (often seen as a sappy gum on these trees). If you do need to rework or prune these trees, ensure excellent hygiene and sharp tools to minimise the stress to the tree.
A little bit of tender loving care during the winter months will help ensure that your trees are in prime shape come spring to provide you with an abundant healthy crop in the coming seasons. If you are unsure or wish to learn more about how to look after your trees, your local community houses often have classes and workshops run that will help you learn some new skills and boost your confidence in looking after your own tree. Just remember, there is no right or wrong in pruning, just different methods and ideas and most of the time the tree will bounce right back even when given a severe haircut!
Till next time, happy gardening.
Dave Key, Key Permaculture
0424 665 882