Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fire blight

So this weekend I spent a lot of time pruning. Mostly I was up-pruning the birch/maple/elm/dogwoods so that you can actually mow under them, and to open the trees up to better air flow.

Unfortunately, I also had to take out a fair bit of several fruit trees (one of the pears, two of the apple trees) because they'd developed fire blight, which is a virus that causes the branches affected to look as though they'd been scorched. I found some online guides that said to prune back the affected branches to well below the start of the blight, dipping the pruners in a bleach solution between cuts. So that's what I did.

The buerre bosc pear tree is now half its former size. This is not a good thing -- severe pruning encourages watersprouts, which are also prone to blight -- but I looked at which branches had the blight, and decided to do drastic surgery. It's better than losing the tree. And even if I lost the tree, I'm hoping to keep the blight from progressing further on the other trees. So I need to spray the now-reduced trees periodically through the rest of the summer, and hopefully things will get better. It broke my heart to throw out the branches I pruned that had so many half-grown pears on them. But it was necessary. You gotta do what you gotta do.

I've been thinking about gardening off and on, particularly while weeding. It's really clear (esp. while weeding the back fence, which borders on wild land) that gardening is really the act of imposing order on chaos. I tend to be a bit of a chaotic gardener -- I don't like lots of pruning and fussing and coddling plants -- but I still have to keep the wild bits from taking over. And there's something about tackling a little corner of the garden and making it look good that makes the rest of life, no matter how chaotic, seem more manageable.


Post a Comment

<< Home