More than forty people joined us for our third annual wassailing in the orchard area, with Sue’s apple cake, some cider made from fruit from the tree on the allotment boundary with Waterworks Road and other refreshments ably overseen by Amanda
The Petersfield Community Choir joined us again to sing a number of traditional wassailing songs.
Emily and Keith then gave a practical demonstration of pruning our apple trees, cutting out damaged wood and crossing branches, and trying to encourage an ideal goblet shape.
Today is the old date of twelfth night, the traditional date for wassailing orchards and tending to the trees. Following on from our event last year, we invited the Petersfield Community Choir to come and sing to the trees in our orchard area.
This was followed by Emily and friends from the Grace and Flavour garden in Horsley helping us prune the apple trees
We shared apple pies and apple cake, washed down with mulled cider and apple juice.
David described how to prune apples in winter and then we pruned the trees planted last spring
Winter pruning is to form the shape of the tree. First cut out any clearly dead or diseased wood, to stop disease spreading. Then cut new growth to form an open bowl shape, so that air can circulate. Select an outward-facing bud, and cut immediately above it – if you leave too much it will die.
If you can make your cut with secateurs there should be no need for wound paint: only use it if you have to use a pruning saw or loppers. Distinguish the larger, bumpy buds, which are fruiting buds and will produce flowers in due course, from the smaller vegetative buds.
We also have a quince. David told us he used to prune his quince tree like an apple, and got very little fruit. On a trip to Germany, he saw heavily laden quinces, and learnt that they never pruned them. Last year he left his alone and got a bumper crop.