Saturday Scott and I attended a Wild Apple Tree Releasing and Pruning course at the Harris Conservation Center in Hancock, NH. Having two dozen or more apple trees scattered across the Burrows Field at Moose Mountains Reservation we thought it would be a good thing to learn. Most of our trees looked in bad shape and needed a lot of work that we were not sure how to go about. We learned a great deal at the 3 hour class and rather quickly had the principals down on the proper way to release and prune apple trees. Carrie from the Forest Society who attended and helped lead the class sent us home with an "apple tree" ladder and saws.
And naturally the next day on Easter we were up at Moose Mountains again! We got to the parking lot at 11:30am. We first decided to rake out and blaze the trail head section of the new Phoebes Nable Mt. trail that leaves off of the parking lot. This done we drove up to the field and parked at the Burrows Cemetery. The weather wasn't all that great. Cloudy, cool, a slight wind and spits of snow. But once we got going it was rather comfortable.
We began with the pair of apple trees on the left side of the Cemetery. We cleared the sumac and other brush under the tree. We then began removing dead and diseased trunks and branches. The next step was to prune branches that we either water spouts, branches growing too close together or branches that were touching and being sure to leave a leader near the top. A slow, analytical task that requires concentration and patience and ultimately a lot of choices.
We finished these trees up in an hour. They were much smaller in size when we were done but looked so much more healthy and cleaner. They were just more pleasing to the eye and now actually looked like apple trees! We took a short lunch break but were soon back at it again!
The next clump of three on the right side of the cemetery were a bit more work. Lot's of brush underneath and the trees had a lot of dead and diseased trunks and branches. The same process ensued and another hour or so later these were done.
Again a far cry from what they were from a tangled, rotted mess to clean cut and healthy looking trees! While it was certainly a difficult and tiresome task, seeing the end result was just amazing! We actually can't wait to work on the rest of them!
But ready to call it a day we dragged our two piles of brush over to a ditch and piled it all up there to be burned later in the year to kill any of the diseased "Fire Blight" wood. No ticks bothered us all day, YAY! Happy Easter and here's hoping we see apples on these trees this fall!