Forest Hill Permabee
On the day our hosts Adrian and Sandra were hoping to achieve:
- Fruit tree pruning
- Tool maintenance and sharpening
- Chook yard extension
- Sheet and regular mulching
Sounds like a lot for one arvo?
Needless to say we smashed it!
We recognised the house by a massive pile of mulch lying on the pavement. Meanwhile, in the backyard an enthusiastic gang of blitzers were sharing their experiences with trees. Yes, for some (including your author) it was limited to climbing and hugging.
We had three experts on the ground to assist us in the expansion of our tree knowledge and guide us through the activities. Rowan gave us great handy tips on tool sharpening including secateurs. He’s learnt all his tricks from his dad who incidentally was present during the sharpening demo… cheered on the loudest!. Dom aka the tree whisperer guided us through of tree pruning and Terry was the Espalier extraordinaire (from Latin spatula ‘shoulder blade)!
With the sharpened tools, Dom kicked off the first task which was pruning. Please see some of his helpful hints at the end of the report and have a look at the photos.
Terry led the Espaliering workshop. The technique was developed in Europe around the 16th century as a way of helping temperate climate fruit trees to grow in the colder regions by taking advantage of the warmth of the sunny wall. After a very comprehensive introduction to the technique we got our hands dirty. The plan was to place two dwarf apple trees along the chook wire fence. We all had a chance to line the wire, clip it to the poles, transplant the two freshly pruned apple trees and place the leading branches horizontally.
No blitz is complete without some mulching and really, who does not love pushing around a wheel barrow…?! Well, maybe my arms later that evening.
I also wanted to specifically give a shout out to Sandra who made us a delicious quiche along with homemade salami (yep!). That supply of delicious treats kept us pretty lubricated through all the fun activities.
A surprise workshop was given by Alison, who spoke about soil blocks and the advantages they give – pretty interesting!
So it was another great afternoon spent with people who treasure the idea of community and sustainability. Thank you Adrian, Sandra and family for letting us come out and play in your garden. As always we learnt an immense amount and we ate an immense amount too. Those lemon slices – oh boy!
And, thank you Permablitz for always delivering on the best times.
Report supplied by Sakshi Chait. Photos by Anya Williams and Eka Moseshvili. You can check out a gallery of the day here!
Here are some helpful hints from Dom who has generously shared his extensive experience in tree management.
Beyond Wishful Pruning.
- Shaping food trees will increasing fruiting, ease of fruit access, tree health, Sunlight sharing.
- To avoid disease transfer and assess if sharpening was needed – using turpentine, emory paper and clean rags.
- The vast majority of tools usually have either sappy gunk(black) and/or rust(reddy brown ) sanded and need to be wiped off.
- The turps acts a disease killer, other oil based fluid can be used.
- Do NOT use water (the tools will rust).
An example of a successful pruning session on the day.
- One overgrown, poorly fruiting but healthy six yr old Apple tree.
- It had its supple small branches weighted with bricks and lengths of cloth material; other vertical branches were removed , so a kind of 3D Umbrella shape Espalier was created
- Larger cuts were painted using leftover exterior house paint, to prevent fungal attack.