Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Pears for your Heirs

Last week we started our programme of fruit tree pruning in the Conderton Orchard under our Higher Level Stewardship Scheme Capital works programme.  The orchard has had little attention for a number of years and the trees are very old and fragile, but really in need of some TLC to preserve their lives (and as a habitat) for as long as possible.  As this orchard is being used by COCO (Conderton and Overbury Community Orchard) I though that we would target those trees that were potentially unsafe and those that were already dead. 
After the dead trees had been re-modelled, the timber that was cut off, was left next to the trees. This meant that it would continue to provide a habitat for bugs, insects, beetles and fungi that were already present in the wood.  This re-modelling was aimed at making the trees more stable in high winds so that they would remain upright as long as possible.  Where wood was removed, say from a branch leaning right over, the stump was trimmed with a 'Coronete' cut to make it easier for insects to access the dead wood, as shown below. 

After the most urgent trees were trimmed up Tim and Simon from Treeessence (who did our pollarding earlier in the year), moved on to some of the living trees.  Again we were targeting those that had lots of top growth making them vulnerable to wind damage.  We have done 50 trees this year and we have the same amount to do for the next 4 years, so we should re-invigorate the orchard over this time scale.  It really is a great project to be involved with.  In the New Year we will be helping COCO plant some Perry Pears to provide fruit and wildlife for all of our heirs.

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