Autumn is here and it’s time to start planning the tasks for the winter.  Earlier this year in March, Bradford Apple Group hosted a series of workshops teaching Community Growers how to prune and graft apple and other fruit trees.  These activities were supported by funding obtained through BEES (Bradford Environmental Service) and BCEP (Bradford Community Environment Project)

We met initially at Springfield Community Gardens over in Holmewood and were taught by RHS-trained Horticulturist Andrew Chapman, of those plant people in Keighley.  We then had the chance to practise on the trees in Bowling Park Community Orchard with Julia Pearson from BEES.

At the second session on grafting fruit trees, Andrew made the whole process really clear and simple and recommended using a grafting knife in a specific way which more or less guarantees that you cannot hurt yourself; the main hazard in grafting.

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IMGP0817Andrew gave us very easy to follow instructions and he specifically showed us the way which guarantees most success, as long as your newly grafted trees are stored somewhere where they don’t get knocked.

We attended 2-hour workshops on pruning and grafting respectively and went back to our community projects armed with just enough theory and practice to maintain our trees and grow some new ones.

The pruning held at Bowling Park Community Orchard came in handy once back on the land at Horton Community Farm.  In February we planted the tree layer of our Forest Garden and we were able to give all the trees their initial pruning, setting up with the right shape for the growing season.

This winter Horton Community Farm will be grafting and planting trees in the community, funded by The Big Tree Plant.  Watch this space for confirmation of dates.  We will also post any dates of other available tree grafting or pruning training, so you can find somewhere close to home.

Please follow the links to see more photos of the tree pruning training and tree grafting training.

If you’d like to get in contact with one of the projects mentioned above for further info or training then please contact them via our map.