Pruning in the rose garden and orchard

Members and friends of the Mudgee and District Garden Club recently enjoyed an afternoon in the garden of Ros and Max Elliot. 

This extensive garden was planted in 2004, with a signature orchard of eight fruit species, and a wide variety of rose plantings.

Set in one of the most picturesque locations in the Mudgee district, garden lovers were fortunate to have on hand two local horticulturists, Craig Picklum and Helen Swords, who in turn demonstrated fruit tree pruning and roses pruning to an enthusiastic group.

Craig Picklum noted that there were some basic principles in pruning all fruit trees - remove all diseased, dead or damaged branches, then inward and crossing limbs, and also try to open up the centre of the tree to allow light and air to assist in fruit development. 

While demonstrating, Craig said “stone fruit trees should end up with a vase shape, while apples and pears generally should be more bottom heavy with their potential fruit bearing limbs, with a main leader branch that can extend up.”

Helen Swords, who is a prominent Garden Club member, then walked around Ros’s extensive rose gardens, demonstrating recommended pruning techniques for different varieties.

Helen began by noting that like all rose lovers she had regularly been “bitten” by them, and advised light but sturdy gloves when dealing with the thornier species. 

Helen noted that many of the principles of fruit tree pruning can be translated to roses: open up the rose, cut out suckers, dead wood, and crossing branches, and shape the rose to desired appearance. 

Helen, while also stressing the importance of mulching and water, said that following pruning it was advisable to spray all the rose and the soil around it with lime sulphur to control fungus.

Helen explained that black spot and scale were the most common rose problems, but that “roses are gross feeders, and supplying nutrients twice from Spring onwards, such as a special rose liquid feed, Dynamic Lifter or blood and bone fertilisers helps strengthen the plant and reduce disease”.

This type of activity on a monthly basis is part of the Mudgee and District Garden Club’s program of events each year. 

The next event is on Sunday, August 4 at One Life Church, Lewis Street, Mudgee for a screening of A Year in Kew Gardens, commencing at 2pm. 

Prospective members are always welcome.

Craig Picklum at the commencement of his fruit tree pruning demonstration.

Craig Picklum at the commencement of his fruit tree pruning demonstration.


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