As usual on these occasions we went through the risk assessment, safe handling of tools and list of tasks for today.
Before pruning started in earnest we ran through the reminder of what to look for with the branches:
DEAD, DAMAGED OR DISEASED
CROSSING OR CONGESTED (i.e. overcrowded)
The plum and cherry trees can only be pruned in summer as winter pruning risks developing Silver Leaf, a fungal disease that could destroy a tree. It is probably better to summer prune in July and August but today was our workday for this task.
Before we could prune, some of the tree guards needed to be reduced in height. They have helped to protect the trees pretty well, despite two guards having been damaged during the past few months.
|Jonathan inspects the Quince before cutting the height of the tree guard|
|Sandra with Lane's Prince Albert apple|
|Robert & Jon reduce the height of the guard round the cherry|
|Jon among the plums|
|Christopher chops up comfrey leaves to use as mulch|
Two other able-bodied young helpers were Thomas and Daniel, watched over by Carol while Jonathan cut down the guards around the quince.
|Daniel and Thomas supervise the work|
Half-way through our work Lewisham's Mayor, Steve Bullock, came to officially open the newly refurbished tennis courts. They have been open for a few weeks already and have been welcomed by most of our enthusiastic tennis players.
|Newly refurbished tennis courts - May 2017|
We were invited to join in to see the cutting of the ribbon and share in the delicious strawberries and cream cake.These photos of the Mayor and the cake were taken by Carol Robinson.
And here are photos from the official photographer, including
- a group photo of the Mayor, tennis players, young children and the orchard volunteers
- the tennis courts
- the amazing cake
Three hours of orchard work by the team of volunteers passed by very quickly and the opportunity for a group photo was lost as people went home. In addition to pruning, guard height reduction and comfrey mulching, we also managed to weed round the trees and cut the grass round them.