In early March before the trees came into blossom we clipped little cement weights on the thin new growth branches. It looks a strange sight with the trees covered in little weights, a little like a group of alternative Christmas trees, but the weights serve an important purpose.
The branches naturally grow very upright, especially on the Ashmead Kernel variety. By weighting the branches down a little the tree will grow so its easier to pick the fruit and more air and sunlight get through the middle of the branches. This helps the fruit to ripen and for the trees to be healthier. Also when a branch is more horizontal, there is a change in the hormone produced and the new growth buds are more likely to be fruit buds instead of leaf buds. So, by using these weights we are helping to make sure we get good harvest later in the year. Linda has taken a great close up photo showing how the weights are made up of a peg, a small loop of wire and the cement block.
We met up at the Orchard last Sunday and took down the weights so so carefully so as not to damage the blossom.