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Plan to Prune!

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The bumper crop of almonds is ready to be harvested! This is a branch earlier this year (see those in the shade by my hand too?). Now they’re yellowed and splitting open – time to harvest!

Today was the first day I went outside in the morning and almost needed a sweater!  

As I reflect on the changing of seasons, I must share our greatest success and lesson:  Prune!!  Everything we pruned last fall gave us bumper crops this summer. 

It’s embarrassing to admit my gardening ignorance (not yard design ignorance though!), but I will, because so many people say the same thing as I used to:  it’s hard to cut off healthy plant life!  (Actually, I still say that, but I do it.)

I used to think, “Plants in nature don’t need to be pruned, and since I imitate Nature, I don’t need to prune.”

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Even though these are dwarf peach trees and didn’t need much pruning, they still responded positively with a double-sized crop.

The error is in the phrase “plants in nature.”  The truth is that very few of our garden/yard plants are actually wild and natural.  Many have been genetically selected for traits such as hardiness, which can make a plant grow too vigorously for it’s own good – unless it’s pruned.  And even Nature does a fair amount of pruning, through windstorms, for instance, which we try to curtail with fences and plantings against walls for their protection.

So, attend a pruning class, or go online.  Clean and sharpen your tools, or buy or borrow the correct ones.  Then set aside a day, maybe invite some friends over to help and learn, maybe work at their house next, and get it done!

HUGE apricots!
HUGE apricots!

Fall, after leaves have actually fallen, is the generally-accepted best time, so it’s not too soon to start gearing up.  But if it’s too busy a time for you, other seasons have benefits too.  Look it up.

You might also read about planting cuttings to generate new plants instead of throwing those branches away.  Also, you might save a few large branches for natural stakes next year – and other uses.

Have fun out there!  Enjoy the cooling weather.

Twice the cherries on our little tree too!
Twice the cherries on our little tree too!
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Artist, author, and speaker.

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