Most all the fruit trees are producing great this year. They are 3 years old and trained espalier to keep them manageable, tidy, and productive. Organic fertilizer is applied about every 4 - 6 weeks. Irrigation occurs as needed. I use a moisture meter to determine when to soak the basins. Pruning/pinching happens as needed and it’s been needed quite a bit lately. So far, the trees have been pruned 3 – 4 times this spring. The goal is to encourage a dense canopy over the open branches to avoid any sun scald to the fruit, trunk, or branches. The wire cable seen in some images is used to train the espalier. When the branches mature, it will be removed.
Plum - Santa Rosa
Plum – Santa Rosa: This is the western most tree and maybe the hardiest. The fruit is really developing nicely with the weaker ones thinning out naturally. Thank goodness. Thinning is taxing to me psychologically. Seeing the smaller, weaker plums take a dive for Darwinism helps me out. Thanks weaklings.
Peach – O’Henry
Peach – O’Henry: Pinching the tender new growth of the peach tree is a snap and can be do simply using my fingernails. By pinching the tips, new growth is forced elsewhere helping to form a thicker shade canopy. The peach isn’t the most vigorous tree but the fruit is really good.
Apple – Granny Smith
Apple – Granny Smith: Not many fruit was produced in 2010 on this tree. 2011 looks to be way more successful. These should be ready to harvest in August. Old Granny had sun scald troubles. Umbrellas will be used to shade any trees that are showing signs of being sensitive to the sun. The umbrellas will go up nonetheless to comfort a whiney gardener with swamp pants.
Pear – Warren: Sadly, I didn’t snap off a picture of Warren. There are no fruit but the foliage is looking great. Pears are some of the easiest trees to espalier train.
Nectarine – Fantasia
Nectarine – Fantasia: Poor thing. This is the 1st year any fruit has formed. Sadly encouraging. This tree suffered major sun scald. I thought it would need to be replaced this past winter. But it seems to be producing. The goal is to encourage more leaves and make it stronger.
Apricot – Blenheim
Apricot – Blenheim: One of my favorites. “Who put the ape in apricot?” Name the movie. This is really exciting to have a healthy apricot tree. Blenheim sits at the eastern most point on the line of espaliers. It is as vigorous as the plum. New growth is regularly pruned/pinched. Only recently has it begun to shed weaker fruits. There are still plenty of beautiful, healthy apricots that should be ready in a few more weeks.
Another application of fertilizer is due in the next few weeks. The trees were last fertilized during the 2nd weekend in April. Heck. This weekend seems like a fine time to feed these hungry babies.