Jun 152016

Which parts of the tree bear the fruit

In his seminal book, The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia, Louis Glowinski said that the more he read about pruning grape vines, the more confused he got. Well, I feel the same about pruning more generally. I think I understand the basics and how pruning in the first few years is a very different exercise than that for mature trees. And, on Robin Gale-Baker’s recommendation, I am currently reading Vegetable and Fruit Gardening in Australia, which discusses such subjects.

One of the things I want to be clear about is how different trees should be pruned differently. It seems to me that an important part of this is knowing which parts of the tree bear the fruit. For example, a grapevine fruits on the current season growth so, after the harvest, winemakers can (and do) safely cut off all of current season’s growth. By contrast, a peach tree fruits on last year’s growth so if, after the harvest, you cut off all of the current season’s growth, then you won’t get any fruit at all next year! Rather, for peaches, you should focus on removing laterals that are more than a year old, as they will never fruit again. And a sweet cherry tree fruits on (all) older wood, so the pruning should focus on structure and shape. In this context, the following table summarises my current understanding of which parts of each fruit tree bear the fruit.

Pomes Apple most: 2-year-old wood and older
some: 1-year-old wood and older
Pear 1-year-old wood and older
Stonefruit Almond 1-year-old wood and older
Apricot 1-year- to 3-year-old wood
Cherry sour: 1-year-old wood
sweet: 2-year-old wood and older
Peach 1-year-old wood
Plum 2-year-old wood and older
Evergreens Avocado 1-year-old wood
Citrus 1-year-old wood
Guava current year’s growth
Loquat current year’s growth
Olive 1-year-old wood
Vines Grape current year’s growth
Kiwifruit current year’s growth
Passionfruit current year’s growth
Berries Blackberry 2nd year canes
Blackcurrant 1-year-old wood
Blueberry 1-year-old wood
Cape gooseberry current year’s growth
Gooseberry 1-year- to 3-year-old wood
Raspberry everbearing: 1st year canes
summer bearing: 2nd year canes
Redcurrant 1-year- to 3-year-old wood
Other Hazelnut current year’s growth
Pomegranate 2-year- to 3-year-old wood
Walnut 5-year-old wood and older

I have added this material to the graphic of our North East Melbourne fruiting schedule. Any comments or corrections would be gratefully received by email.

In passing, if you want to receive regular (weekly) newsletters about all aspects of growing fruit trees in Victoria, you might want to consider subscribing to the Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens newsletter (thanks to Bev Robertson for the recommendation).

New events

Composting workshop and solstice afternoon tea

What: Go along to a workshop to build a composting bay from recycled materials and start the process of turning garden and kitchen waste into food for the Produce With A Purpose garden. They will also be planting the garlic crop for the coming season. Afterwards they will celebrate the Winter Solstice by the fire with a warm afternoon tea and a conversation about ttheir vision of a community committed to social justice growing and sharing fresh food together with those who need it.
When: Sunday, 26th June, 1-4pm.
Where: Lower Plenty.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Louise King by email.
Bookings: just turn up. You can also indicate your intention on Facebook.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Bush tucker

What: It is NAIDOC Week and Uncle Ian Hunter will be sharing his knowledge of indigenous food found in the City of Whittlesea. Find out if you have any indigenous food items growing at home.
When: Friday, 8th July, 2-3pm.
Where: Lalor.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Lalor Library by phone (9465 2353).
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Community lunch

What: A two course home-cooked meal is shared in their dining room with other friendly community members. Go along for company, conversation and support. A great opportunity to find out what’s available in the neighbourhood. RSVPs required.
When: Every 2nd Wednesday, 12.30-2.30pm (next one on 13th July).
Where: Thornbury.
Cost: free.
Enquiries/Bookings: Span Community House by phone (9480 1364) or email.

Winter garden party

What: They will harvest and cook some of their winter veggies and share a warm lunch next to an open fire.
When: Sunday, 24th July, 11am-3pm.
Where: Lower Plenty.
Cost: free.
Enquiries: Louise King by email.
Bookings: just turn up.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Biodynamic course (two-day)

What: A 2-day course covering: Rudolf Steiner and the Biodynamic Movement – 8 Steiner lectures; biodynamic preparation 500 / burying cow horns / stirring and spraying; biodynamic compost – the preparations and making the compost; cosmic nutrition, seed saving and collecting; the planting calendar and nature’s rhythms, Gothean science; biodynamic peppering – plant, insect and vermin elimination; and elementals, intention, mycelium, weeds, mosses, lichen, tree paste.
When: Saturday, 6th August and Sunday 7th August. The course will be repeated on the weekend of 15th/16th October.
Where: Warranwood.
Cost: $290.
Enquiries: Grit by phone (0477 408665) or email.
Bookings: Cheques, cash, electronic transfer, Paypal or credit card – see the LFC calendar entry for details.
Further information: LFC calendar entry.

Australian Community Food Hubs Conference

What: Sustain, Growing Change, the City of Greater Bendigo, the Open Food Network, Bendigo Kangan Institute, William Angliss Institute, La Trobe University, Melbourne Farmers Markets and Pip Magazine in what will be Australia’s very first Community Food Hubs conference. To view the two-day program, visit the Sustain website.
When: Monday, 8th August and Tuesday, 9th August.
Where: Bendigo.
Cost: $240 for two days or $130 for one.
Enquiries: the conference organisers by phone (5434 6100) or email.
Further information: the Sustain website.

Summary of upcoming events

Over the next week
Over the next month

Click here for the complete calendar of upcoming events.

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