Back in June (oops, time flies!) I pruned all the stonefruit and pipfruit trees and sprayed the stonefruit trees with copper to try to prevent fungal disease. Several trees had to be drastically pruned, partly thanks to the neighbours’ now deceased bull and partly thanks to brown rot. Although I have wire netting all along the fence now, the bull was an expert at reaching over the fence, standing on the wires to reach places I didn’t think he could.
The younger Billington plum was badly chomped by the beast so I had to cut it back a lot to get a good structure again. This is annoying but it’s better than growing a lopsided tree in the long run.
But it gets worse. The nectarine, further along the fenceline, was also badly chomped and broken by the bull and the one branch left was diseased as well. So I had to cut it back to a trunk. It looks terrible but it will regrow.
But it gets worse. The Golden Queen peach tree was affected by cankerous rot too far down on its branches and trunk to be salvageable. It got chomped by the bull too but I have struggled to keep it healthy ever since I transplanted it from its large pot after we moved here. The trouble is, it had been in its planter for too many years and by the time I planted it it wasn’t as strong as it should have been.
I cut it down and The Little Fulla helped me to dig it out, which wasn’t too difficult as it did not have a very good root system. However, the silver lining of removing it is that there is more space for another raised bed in the Veggie Garden now.
But it gets worse. The more mature white-fleshed peach tree in the Citrus Pen has also been bothered by disease. When I went to prune it I was sad to find that a number of the branches were dead. It has struggled with brown rot too, but was doing better this past season than the one before. I had to choose whether to leave the tree with main branches on just one side, cut it back to the trunk or take it out. Since the trunk and lower branches were’t much affected I chose to cut it back to a stump to allow new branches to grow. This was also a good option because the branches started way too high, making the tree impossible to climb and harvesting difficult. It was like that when we got here. I had improved the shape a lot but a peach tree is unlikely to grow main structural branches lower down than the existing ones, unless you cut it right back. Here’s hoping it will make a comeback.
Let’s just say that I’ve learnt a lot about stonefruit trees lately. Apparently the varieties in our country have not been bred with good disease resistance as a priority. Spraying was the answer. Or the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. This is not helpful when you live in a humid climate. Having a variety that tastes or looks slightly better than another one is of no consequence if you have to end up cutting it down. In future I intend to either 1) choose heritage varieties of peaches and nectarines that are grown on their own roots, not grafted onto rootstock, or 2) choose new varieties that have qualities of good disease resistance. For now, I need to do more rounds of spraying. Even though the copper spray is organic, I don’t like doing it.
Most of the fruit trees are up-to-date with pruning this year. I haven’t finished pruning the big apple tree and the big pear tree. The citrus trees will be pruned of needed after they fruit. And then I’m left with the giant feijoa tree. I know, I know, I STILL haven’t done a proper pruning of it. It’s just so… mountainous.
In good fruiting news, we got two yummy oranges off our young tree this year and the mandarin beside it has a decent crop that are just starting to ripen. The tangerines have just started ripening as well. Citrus fruit is the queen of winter.
I’ve bought two more blueberry bushes and a cranberry, which I divided into two plants. I’ve planted the cranberries in the blueberry beds, since they both like soil that’s a bit more acidic.
The first of the fruit trees are flowering already. I said to The Little Fulla, “Look, the blossoms are coming out!” And he thought I said ‘possums’. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not to call the flowers ‘blossoms’ anymore.
Here’s the list of fruit trees and bushes that we have in the garden at the moment. It might be surprising considering the size of our property, but when edible plants are a priority, you find you can fit a lot in.
- Apricot ‘Aprigold’ (dwarf)
- Apricot ‘Royal Rosa’
- Nectarine ‘Theo Ching’
- Peach (unknown, white-fleshed)
- Peach ‘Springcrest’
- Plum ‘Billington’ x2
- Apple (unknown)
- Apple ‘Belle de Boskoop’
- Apple ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’
- Apple ‘Granny Smith’
- Pear (unknown)
- Pear (unknown dwarf)
- Lemon (unknown)
- Lemon ‘Yen Ben’
- Lime ‘Kaffir’
- Lime ‘Tahitian’
- Mandarin ‘Burgess Scarlet’ (dwarf)
- Mandarin ‘Encore’
- Mandarin ‘Silverhill’
- Orange ‘Best Seedless’ (dwarf)
- Tangerine (unknown)
- Cherry Guava (yellow)
- Feijoa (unknown)
- Feijoa ‘Golden Goose’
- Fig (unknown)
- Almond ‘All-in-one’
- Almond ‘Garden Prince’ (dwarf)
- Walnut (unknown)
Bushes, vines & berries
- Blackcurrant ‘Ben Ard’ x6
- Blueberry – ‘Ono’ (Tasty Blue) x2, ‘Whitu’ (Blue Magic) x3 and ‘Takahe’ (Blue Dawn) x1 – 2 yet to be planted
- Boysenberry ‘Tasman’ (soon to be evicted in favour of the better quality ‘Brulee’ that’s waiting to be planted)
- Cranberry ‘Bergman’ x2
- Grape (unknown red)
- Grape ‘Candice’ – yet to be planted
- Raspberries ‘Aspiring’ and ‘Autumn Bliss’
- Strawberries ‘Camarosa’, ‘Chandler’ and ‘Gabrielle’