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Orchard Tree TLC
Care & Maintenance
How does one prune old fruit trees?
Very carefully, as one would expect!  Many of the trees have been forgotten and have not received TLC for 30 or even 50 years.  Pruning too much the first year will likely send the tree into shock, and possibly even kill it.  Care must be taken the first year to remove only the dead wood and a few small to medium-sized limbs that are crossing one another.
Each subsequent year of pruning should then focus on slowly thinning the tree canopy to allow more sunlight into the middle of the tree, and lowering the height and widening the spread of the tree's canopy. 
OPRD foresters often prune for 3 or 4 consecutive years and then give the tree a rest for a year or two before resuming the pruning.  This approach appears to be successful, as we have vast improvement in the health and vigor of the trees and with fruit production. 
Although most of the historic buildings have long faded away into the wind, many of the orchard trees remain. Struggling from years of neglect, many of the trees were in a state of decline when OPRD foresters began inventorying them in 2001.  However, since then, staff foresters have been actively engaged in rejuvenating the trees with annual pruning and fruit thinning.  The trees seem to enjoy the attention as they are once again bearing delicious fruit!
For more information on pruning visit: