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  • Writer's pictureDale Newton

Less is More - Nearly 50 Years of Pruning at Fruitlands

I can't think of a more fitting poem than this as I complete this spring's pruning tasks. When you look at an apple tree's structure before the leaves come out, every twist and turn tells the narrative of decisions made. Perhaps this is not so different than the wrinkles on our faces as life "prunes us."

"On Pruning" ~Allison Funk

Cut it way back. Do not be afraid to pinch the first, the only blossom. The berry cannot thrive in freedom. Have no mercy,

gardener. Train the tree to a leader crowned by the uppermost bud. Make ten o’clock your angle for the outstretched limbs of the apple. Prune when the knife is sharp, taking care that the scar be neat. To share the surgeon’s belief in healing, you must trust what has been taken from you is a blessing. Trust

by April, the cherry and pear will fill in, stitching the dreamiest lace, punto in aria, think of it as a veil if you must.

And the rose, this is a special case. When winter’s close, cut back the tallest stems, then with soil topped with straw or leaves, bury the plant, make the mound as high as you can, as if the grave were your own impermanent home, as if you believed anything could bloom again.







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