We got a new puppy last weekend. It’s been 9 months since we last had a dog, and it was time. But it’s been a long time since we had a new puppy and we forgot how much work it is. Lots of “NO”s and training and encouraging when things go well. Kind of like raising children I guess. But we have done this before, and over time the puppy becomes a well behaved dog (knock on wood).
Growing apple trees isn’t all that different. When we plant a new tree, we know what we want it to look like when it is mature. But a tree doesn’t just grow that way naturally. The first years are critical in developing the final producing tree. We do a lot of tying and trimming and training the branches to shape the tree for strength and maximum production. And we repeat the process over and over as each tree must be treated individually.
During the winter we prune our bearing orchards to prepare for the coming year’s crop. But newly planted trees also get our attention throughout the spring and summer for the first 3-4 years as they “grow up”. Here is a short clip of Travis working on a block of trees that we planted last spring. He is trimming each tree by hand (over 4000 in this planting). By cutting the branches back now, we can force the tree to grow taller early on. Our goal is to have the tree to the top wire at 9 feet by the end of the second summer. Then the third summer we hope to leave some fruit on for harvest. Time consuming, yes, but the training now will result in a beautiful orchard in a few years.
So whether it’s puppies or young apple trees, they both benefit from patient training to become what we want them to be. The difference is, puppies can love you back!
Hoping you have a fruitful week!