Moving mature fruit trees

Moving mature fruit trees

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Moving mature fruit trees need some special attention as they grow to maturity. At the right time, prune and cut back. I always use a hand pruners with a 15" blade. Also give the trees a healthy boost by fertilizing and water. It is a slow and somewhat expensive process but well worth the effort. It seems that as trees age and grow that they will grow from stronger roots with strong branches, this is the perfect time to cut back the tree, to allow more light to reach the trunk and roots.

A mature tree that is heavily pruned and shaped correctly will respond to the next tree by growing a beautiful crown that is filled with the colorful flowers of its new season. If you want your tree to do well for many years to come this is the most important pruning step you can take.

When the tree is old enough, thin out the branches. This is a delicate and slow process to get right. The best time is in early summer when the tree is flowering. Take an old pair of wire cutters and cut out any dead wood and broken branches. You can't do it all at once so do it over a few weeks. You will want to remove all of the leaves and small shoots but don't go crazy and remove large leaves. You can prune all of the winter buds back but don't remove the new flush of buds that spring and begin to fill in as the tree opens.

Once you have a reasonable number of well-shaped branches, cut back each pair. Keep in mind that this should be done in multiple cuts over several days, don't cut back all at once or you will lose that year's growth. Remove and discard the cut branches at a reasonable distance from the trunk. If they need to be closer to the trunk they can be reattached later.

Thinning out the tree at this point is difficult, there are so many small shoots to remove but you don't want to remove too much or you'll end up with a bunch of stubs. This is usually done a couple of years after the tree is in place.

If there are branches that look weak and that you think could be better, remove them, you may decide to replace them but you can't expect to have the first time you do it to be the perfect thing and if you wait to replace them, they will probably have to be replaced.

As you go through and prune, if you see growth like new shoots emerging that you don't want, like the flowers on this dogwood ( _Cornus florida_ ), just cut it out. You can always plant something else and when it's grown and more established you can replace it.

Pruning a tree may seem like a daunting task but it's not that hard. Follow the steps and the tree should grow and flower and fruit well for many years to come.

## **CHAPTER 8


The tomato is one of those plants that has taken over the world. No matter what part of the world you look at, you see tomatoes everywhere. From the Mediterranean to the Americas to Africa to Asia, the tomato has conquered all of them. It is in practically every food I eat and I'm guessing it's the same for you.

The thing that makes the tomato unique, if you look at how it's used, is its shape. It is one of the fruits that take on the shape of their container, for example, the cucumber will naturally fit in a glass or a jug, whereas the tomato won't.

This is where it all started and where many of the cultivars come from. The most popular varieties are the ones that are best for home gardens. They are:

**HEIRLOOM:** Usually bred with more than a small area of growth and larger than garden-sized. Some of the best we grow are heritage types that have been around for generations. For example, the Brandywine type grown in North America and the heirloom 'Tumbler' from the same area. The variety has an oval shape and it's red in colour. It has a high yield of fruit and can keep longer than most types of tomatoes. These are most popular in the commercial markets so it's not really grown in home gardens.

**PLOUGHMAN:** This is the main type used in the home garden, either for fresh or in a sauce. They are usually small, not much more than finger length and they have a round shape. They can be any colour but in general they are a dark red. These types do not keep well if they are kept in a warm room for too long because they quickly deteriorate. So look at the time they were bought to make sure they are not too ripe and that they are in a good condition. It's best to keep them in the refrigerator for around 5 to 6 weeks, making sure you remove them from the fridge every day for a few hours to let them come back to room temperature.

**PRUNELLA:** Similar to heirloom tomatoes but in the tomato family.There are two main groups: _Carpino_ which is medium sized with red flesh and is a sweet type. _Carmo_ is very round with red flesh and more similar to a garden cherry. They are all usually grown for use in cooking.

**JULIENNE:** These are smaller than garden cherry tomatoes. They are best used in sandwiches and salads. They have a bright orange flesh and a delicious sweet taste.

**GARDEN CHERRY:** This is the biggest tomato type. Its shape is longer than ploughman but it's smaller than prunella. It's generally more round than ploughman and it has a deep red flesh and is delicious when used in cooked dishes or as a pickle. It does not keep well.

**PLOUGHMAN:** These are bigger than garden cherries but similar in size to ploughman apples. The most common variety is orange flesh and has the best keeping qualities of all tomato types.

**PLOUGHMAN APPLE:** These apples are slightly smaller than ploughman but bigger than garden cherries. They are good for eating out of hand but are very easy to peel and can be used as a dessert apple with a crisp texture.


Lemon is fantastic on almost any type of fruit or vegetable, but it is especially good on tomatoes. When you cut them, you can spread a little lemon juice around and let the skin breathe a little and the tomato will keep much longer.


**SERVES** 3–4














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