watervole: (Default)
Judith Proctor ([personal profile] watervole) wrote2017-04-08 04:02 pm

Gardening and what people don't know

 Chatting to the lady next door  who has a small pear tree.  It had one pear last  year when it had 12 the year before.  She had no idea why.

After discussion I discovered that she'd transplanted it from her mother's garden last year.  So transplant shock would account for a lot of it.

However, when I suggested adding some garden compost, she was surprised at the idea that it might need feeding....

She's no idea how to prune it either.  Fruit trees only bear fruit on horizontal branches - you have to prune regularly to get a good crop (I don't even have a fruit tree, and I know this, but my mother in law probably told me as she lived in an area with lots of orchards.)

She also didn't know that the flowers were where the fruit would eventually appear.  I was a bit flummoxed by that one.  I thought fertilisation of flowers was school biology level.

So, how much of what I assume to be general knowledge, is actually general knowledge?

How much do you know about where apples and pears come from?

coth: (Default)

[personal profile] coth 2017-04-08 03:14 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't know a lot about growing fruit and didn't know about the horizontal branches. My newly planted plum tree is teaching me about plums.

As for how much people know...well. Everybody knows some things and nobody knows everything.
aunty_marion: (apple a day)

[personal profile] aunty_marion 2017-04-08 03:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Pears come from my pear tree.
Pear tree in blossom

It's a columnar one, so mostly grows upwards, and pears appear anywhere. That photo was 3 years ago; it's somewhat taller and wider these days, and has been full of blossom, though it's going over a bit now. Also full of bees.
kotturinn: (Default)

[personal profile] kotturinn 2017-04-08 03:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Nice tree. My plum should be one of those, and should have stopped at about 7 foot. At 12 foot and still going strong I 'beheaded' it and am attempting to train it into a more contained but wider shape!
aunty_marion: (raspberries)

[personal profile] aunty_marion 2017-04-08 03:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Mine got amputated at about 10 or 12 foot (by a friend with a long-handled lopper) a couple of years ago, but the top shoots have gone "Whee! Clear airspace!" and are now at least 20 feet up. I think it was supposed to get to 10ft...
aunty_marion: (apple a day)

[personal profile] aunty_marion 2017-04-08 05:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, it's certainly columnar, but rather more vigorous than I was led to expect. OTOH, it was £4.99 from Wilko's. Maybe it would have been more restrained if I'd planted it into the 10L tub the box suggests. OTGH, it's very likely it would then be dead, because I wouldn't have watered it enough. (I did lose a previous two efforts to drought.)
kotturinn: (Default)

[personal profile] kotturinn 2017-04-08 06:45 pm (UTC)(link)
They're a snare and a delusion these 'small columnar trees'!!!!!
kotturinn: (Default)

[personal profile] kotturinn 2017-04-08 03:32 pm (UTC)(link)
More than many people around me :-) I know that many (most) apples are spur fruiting. I'm going to disagree with one statement; fruit trees don't only bear fruit on horizontal branches (see my apple and my so-called-minarette (I think I got sold a pup there) plum) but they will often fruit more consistently on branches that tend more to the horizontal (and if they're cordon or stepover, then yes, go for the horizontal), but I do agree with the requirement for pruning to keep a tree in good shape. In theory I know how to prune most fruit; in practice I find it a lot harder (especially the apple tree I inherited when I bought the house). But then I was brought up in the country and my parents, my mother in particular, were competent gardeners (as were quite a lot of the people they got to know, especially after they joined the village Gardeners' Society).
I've learnt over the years not to assume much, especially when it comes to things wot grow and things wot fly and/or run! Even I was surprised though a couple of weeks ago, when a man of around my vintage clearly didn't know magpies when he saw them.
feng_shui_house: me at my computer (Default)

[personal profile] feng_shui_house 2017-04-08 03:37 pm (UTC)(link)
I randomly harvest information, so I have spotty groups of data on many things. I know that apples don't breed true, so when a tree turns out to have desirable characteristics, people graft cuttings to reproduce it.

I don't even know that much about pears.

I know that bananas have never been a natural fruit- they originated as a sterile hybrid of two different species, and people have been cultivating them for something like 15,000 years by separating the extra plants that sprout at the base. They do try to grow new varieties, but it's not anywhere near as easy as apples- they can mash hundreds of pounds of bananas to get a few viable seeds, or they can gene-splice.

What astonishes me is how many people can't recognize species of animals. When I look at animal photos on the internet there are always some badly misidentified. Like a photo of a new hatched featherless, pink parakeet being eyedropper fed by a human. The hand is right there. The bird obviously is TINY and equally obvious it has a parakeet beak.

Photo was labelled- 'Baby Flamingo'...

And ok, mixing up leopard and jaguars I could understand, but so many times I've seen a cheetah called a leopard. Or a spotted Great Dane called a Dalmatian!
damerell: (food)

[personal profile] damerell 2017-04-08 04:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Flowers, yes. Pruning, no. Transplant, well, it wouldn't seem remarkable to me that a recently transplanted tree would not be entirely happy.
lexin: (Default)

[personal profile] lexin 2017-04-08 05:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I knew those things, but then I grew up in the country with parents who did a lot of gardening. I don't think they're universal information.
onyxlynx: 2 yellow iris flowers in sidewalk planting (Yellow Irises)

[personal profile] onyxlynx 2017-04-08 05:55 pm (UTC)(link)
When an apple tree and a pear tree love each other very much...

Sorry. The snark is strong Saturdays. There was a peach tree in the back yard of the house we lived in in the mid-'50s but I was too young to have any clue about it; there was a crabapple tree in front of the house my parents bought, but it may already have been dying, and it was certainly dead 2 years later. We were largely apartment-dwellers, and it was many years before the parents gave up and hired lawncare/landscape people to deal with the outdoors. I like plants and planting things but I'm not exactly consistent. I do know about blossoms, bees, and fruit; I do know (now) that plants need fertilization and like mulching (it is a good thing the "garden patches" get every leaf in the neighborhood, though); I am a complete idiot about pruning but the neighbor here prunes her roses, and so far it works.

(The tale of my gardening adventures is here, past the bulleted paragraphs, if you really want total floral ignorance.)
katherine: Girl with glasses: Fuzzy cat with a folded pair of glasses by her paw. (Default)

[personal profile] katherine 2017-04-08 06:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I know flowers becoming fruit (albeit it's always struck me as rather magic) and that they need polinated unless the plant self-polinates somehow. Transplanting something shocking is familiar but it might just be that it's a logical idea to me.

Had an apple tree in the garden when I was smallish.
kerravonsen: a rose bud: "Beauty is mysterious" (beauty)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2017-04-09 01:34 am (UTC)(link)
I have a brown thumb (as opposed to a green thumb) but even I know that flowers produce fruit. I would have thought that transplant-shock would have been obvious, too.

I also know that flowers are usually pollinated by bees (but some wierd plants are pollinated by flies, and some by nectar-eating birds) [from nature documentaries]. I know that some species of plant come in male and female varieties, and others are hermaphrodites [I think my mother mentioned it once. She was a fabulous gardener].
ranunculus: (Default)

[personal profile] ranunculus 2017-04-09 06:38 am (UTC)(link)
Not only do I know that flowers are necessary step for fruit, I know that if a tree has too heavy a crop one year it won't fruit, or will fruit very lightly the next year. That is why pruning and thinning is essential. Yes, if the tree is covered with fruit, remove half or more of the young fruits when they are dime sized.
vilakins: (fruit)

[personal profile] vilakins 2017-04-09 10:18 am (UTC)(link)
I didn't know that fruit trees only bear fruit on horizontal branches. We have huge plum trees which were covered in tiny (but sweet) plums and I know they need extreme pruning. We're having experts in to do it because they're too high for us, and I hope we'll have fewer and bigger plums next year.
raspberryfool: (Default)

[personal profile] raspberryfool 2017-04-09 11:15 pm (UTC)(link)
I should think the tree was fairly shocked by being transplanted; she should probably remove all the flowers this year, and 75% next year, to allow the roots to recover. Tree roots also benefit from myccorizal fungi in the soil, something that will take a while to develop.

Pear trees also usually need a partner to fertilise them, though some are self-fertile. a lack of local pear trees of the correct group could be part of the problem there.

I disagree that only horizontal branches produce fruit; my Warwickshire Drooper plum tree has many near-vertical branches that produce loads of fruit in a good year. I have heard horizontal braches produce *more* fruit than verticals. Perhaps it's an apple/pear thing.

When I was a child, my neighbour had two beautiful and productive Bramley's Seedling apple trees, so I knew where apples come from from an early age. Pears always came halved in tins from the supermarket! :-D
Edited 2017-04-09 23:19 (UTC)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

[personal profile] igenlode 2017-04-09 11:16 pm (UTC)(link)
I thought the vertical shoots were just young growth that wouldn't fruit this year, not that they wouldn't fruit at all! You prune them off to encourage the tree not to shoot straight up to the sky -- at least you do with our apple trees, which are on dwarfing rootstock. The crab-apple is on its own roots, and goes unpruned. Most of the fruit gets picked up off the ground when it drops, since it doesn't really matter what condition it's in for making crab-apple jelly with (you just cut off the brown bits) and it's so small and hard that the fruits don't take much damage by falling. Sometimes we shake the tree, but the trunk's getting a bit thick for that now.

I know that pear trees grow enormous; very frustrating it is too, when you can only reach the lowest of the branches with the longest-handled picker, and are forbidden from using a ladder for 'health and safety' reasons...

We certainly don't feed our fruit trees :-(
I was taught that apple trees tend to bear a heavy crop every other year and then have a 'fallow' year to make up for it, but I'm not sure this corresponds to observed reality. Heavy and light crops seem fairly random; some years everyone else's trees bear heavily and ours don't, or vice versa.
raspberryfool: (Default)

[personal profile] raspberryfool 2017-04-09 11:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I can confirm that mature apple trees will often produce a heavy crop one year, then a light crop the next. This is something I observed in my neighbour's Bramley trees (now sadly long-gone). Apparently the answer is to thin the crop during a heavy year so the trees don't get so stressed out.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

[personal profile] igenlode 2017-04-09 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)

Oh yes - I forgot; that's something else I know about apples. You need to thin the fruits out after the 'July drop' (when they thin themselves naturally to some extent) so that there are only one or two fruits per cluster. Any more than that and they come out crab-apple sized!

replyhazy: (Default)

[personal profile] replyhazy 2017-04-10 02:20 pm (UTC)(link)
I'll admit to only knowing that where the flowers are, the fruit will be. And remembering a piece of arcane orchard lore that apples bear better if you have more than one variety of tree, which has to do with attracting more pollinators? This could be utterly apocryphal.
jacey: (Default)

[personal profile] jacey 2017-04-10 11:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Sorry to hijack your comments for this, but I'm in the process of migrating the last 3 years LJ posts to Dreamwidth since everyone else is here (just about). I'm 'jacey' here rather than 'birdsedge'. The name change seemed to make sense at the time. I'll try to figure out how to crosspost to LJ for a while longer.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

[personal profile] matgb 2017-04-13 05:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Hah, kismet. I got an email from Dobies offering cheap fruit tree clearance, decided I didn't have space and they weren't really tub suitable but read up the the pruning stuff, which I didn't know, switched here and saw this on my reading page.

I don't think we've ever pruned our apple tree, which in hindsight I really should've known was needed, and that probably explains the problems we've had with it. Given it's also grown into an annoying shape that makes it hard to place in the garden, I shall put that way up my priority list to learn how/when to do: it's one of those three-variety grafted ones and is in theory self fertile but it's never really done well.

I have zero clue how you can not know the flowers will become the fruit.

And yeah, assuming basic knowledge can be a problem: because I did GCSE politics, access course/a-level politics and degree politics I forget how much of my "how the country works" stuff is specialist knowledge not general knowledge, but it still depresses me when people are surprised that I've met politicians and suggest things like inviting a Cllr/MP to a meeting.