Pruning them prunes

Pruning them prunes

You have most probably never heard of Masanobu Fukuoka. Other than the rather unfortunate western pronunciation of his surname, he will most probably slip out of your short term memory quite quickly.

Well, let me introduce him to you. Born in 1913 in Japan, he is celebrated as a philosopher and creator of many natural farming techniques. He was a simple farmer, but his love of the land and of the way nature works, made him a proponent of no-till farming, no-herbicide cultivation and natural farming. One of his philosophies is called “do-nothing farming”, but is not the sitting-on-the-stoep-drinking-beer kind.

He believed that there is a difference between nature and non-intervention. When he left his citrus trees unpruned, they did exceptionally well in the beginning, as the balance between growth of roots and verge was re-established. However, soon enough, entanglement and insect attacks crippled and eventually killed his trees.

He found that if fruit trees are grown from a seedling and not pruned at all, they grow into a natural shape and maintains this shape, which leads to higher yields as well as healthier trees.

Pruning fruit trees

Pruning fruit trees

Enter reality.

My fruit trees have not grown into natural shapes and have a tendency to over-extend themselves and to break branches when they bear fruit. For this reason I have to prune.

Pruning boosts the budding process as well as the bearing of good quality fruit. If done well, entanglement is minimised and you can get to the fruit with ease. Furthermore, since I am genetically endowed with a ladder built it (according to my mother I was made on a long weekend), it is not only more comfortable to move under pruned trees, but it also keeps the smaller folk from stripping the trees before I got enough to cook my jam with. (Selfish, but nice).

And then, as I love my mulches and compost, I take these cuttings and put them through the mulcher. Interestingly, one of the best sources of organic food for trees is wood. So sad that the winter batch of poodle puppies chewed off the electrical wire of my mulcher. Ai, the work never stops…Correct Pruning Cut

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