Landcare workshop should bear fruit

After a week of cold windy weather, it was a relief to both organisers and participants when August 19 dawned calm and sunny.

Nearly 30 people attended the Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop hosted by Boorowa Community Landcare Group, at “Tulangi”, Boorowa.   

The landcare group’s first pruning workshop, held last year, was so popular that local orchardist Robert Fitzpatrick was invited back and many of last year’s participants returned to hone their skills.

Robert, now retired, has many decades of experience running the “Petal Falls” orchard at Kingsvale.

After a frosty start, the layers were slowly peeled off as the group moved amongst the various fruit trees and Robert demonstrated pruning techniques.

Some young trees required early training; older trees needed annual pruning to maintain fruit production, whilst others were renovated to develop new fruiting wood within easy reach for harvest.   

Whether it be apples, pears, quince, plums, peaches, nectarines or cherries; Richard demonstrated how to prune for a strong frame and quality fruit.

His commercial orchard expertise was invaluable as he answered questions on pest and disease control, fertilisers and irrigation.

He provided advice on pollination and fruit set and an insight into commercial variety selection.

Later, participants were shown grafting techniques including, ‘whip and tongue’, ‘wedge’ and ‘bark’.

They learnt how these methods could be used to create new trees, introduce new varieties to established trees or renovate old trees.  

Regardless of experience, whether you had a couple fruit trees in your garden or a small orchard, this workshop had something for everyone.

Participants were served morning tea and a delicious BBQ lunch.

A wealth of knowledge and experience was shared and pruning techniques were put into practice.  

Thanks go to the hardworking organisers from Boorowa Community Landcare Group; Robert Fitzpatrick and to Gary and Anne Johnson for hosting the event, allowing participants to help shape this season’s harvest.