1) In winter, branches on apple trees are full of water and therefore VERY heavy.
2) You know that little cut you do on the underside of the branch to prevent it falling and stripping away a load of bark on the way? You do that FIRST, even if you think it might be slightly in the wrong place so you’d better just do a little cut in the top first to make sure you’re going to line the two up.
3) When you ignore the two points above, the following happens:
- you slice through around, oh, let’s say 10cm of the top of the branch
- you suddenly realise that previously stout branch is inexplicably moving away from you
- there’s a sort of creaking noise and the sound of splintering wood
- your chicken run fence disappears under half a tree that’s now lying on the ground
- because you failed to make the underside cut first the branch takes with it a massive strip of bark and you have revealed yourself to be crap at pruning trees.
My final weekend finishing off the apple tree pruning didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Fortunately I’d made this rubbish cut halfway along the branch so I could get rid of the top weight before making a neater cut closer to the tree – you see I do know the theory, I just don’t always follow it – so I was able to cut away most of the shockingly big tear, but there’s still quite a bit left and I feel the tree is reproaching me every time I look at it now.
This post is inspired by GOOPs – Gardening Oops, a meme probably dreamt up especially for me as it encourages us gardeners to stop taking ourselves so seriously and more to the point ‘fess up that we’re not all as perfect as we’d like everyone to think we are. So thanks Joene over in Connecticut – lesson in humility duly learned!
I doubt you are alone in this GOOP. I know I've done the same when in a hurry or just plain tired. Welcome to the GOOPs fun. I'd like to say you were the poster child for GOOPs, but actually it was me … just imperfect me. But it's nice to have the company of other imperfect gardeners.
Plant Mad Nige said:
Yup – we've all been there. Another favourite trick of mine is to 'balance' a tree's canopy by taking one side in a bit, then the other, then the other . . . You end up with a set of stumps.Apples are remarkably forgiving, though. You should see what I did to mine, when we moved here – total brutality, but they're both fine, now.
The Constant Gardener said:
you're too kind… actually there's comfort in numbers knowing that others far more experienced than myself have also made spectacular boo-boos like this. Nigel – have also done the prune one side, prune the other till you have a stump thing. I have an allergy to giving plants haircuts rather than pruning them "properly" which probably doesn't help: sometimes it's a good thing to be a wuss. Sigh…