Over the weekend I completed an online certification course in fruit tree management – an increasingly pressing matter given the ongoing establishment of our little orchard populated now by 3-dozen fruit and nut trees that have yet to experience a trim. Pruning was a major focus of the course – how, when, where and why. We learned to recognize the difference between platform branches and scaffolding branches, the suckers and the leader branch. We differentiated between blossom buds and leaf buds and to know the varied purposes of winter pruning and summer pruning. And I'll have to admit that as daunting and intimidating as was the initial idea, nervous about imposing serious arboreal injury, I'm now somewhat eager to begin.
But nature may beat me to it.
Overnight and through the day freezing rain has glassed the driveway and sheathed every blade and branch. Various parts of the city have reported power failures from weight-broken lines, and more locally miscellaneous branches already litter the yard with almost certainly more to come as the Swarovski yard of the moment threatens to become a horticultural holocaust tomorrow. Less of a pruning than a purge, this thinning has more in common with last week’s fox invasion of the chicken yard that left multiple hens indiscriminately killed.
Perhaps I'm being melodramatic -- I'll admit to that level of guilt. But nature can, indeed, be brutal. The ice is beautiful, to be sure, but we’ll see how the juvenile trees withstand the assault. And then we will see how to pick up the pieces and go on. Literally. Stick by stick this week as it was feather by feather only days ago. In both cases nature’s random abortion of potential fruit.
It makes me look forward to summer’s drought…or will it be flood…or yet some other way the realities might intervene in the imagination? We’ll see.
For now I've got my pruners handy. On the off-chance they will still be needed.
Less in order to prepare, I'm guessing, than repair.