Monday, February 9, 2015

Friendly Fruit Tree Project: Having a Conversation with Your Tree

By Carlene Ramus

Jessica assessing a pear tree from
an orchard ladder.

I have always been a big fan of communitarianism.  Which is why I was happy to learn that here in the Friendly Neighborhood of Eugene Oregon, we have the Friendly Fruit Tree Project organized by my neighbors Matt Lutter and Jessica Jackowski.

In the harvest season, twenty or so neighbor 'harvesters' are on a contact list ready to get together to help other neighbors pick their fruit, press cider, share food preservation recipes, and other productive activities made more fun and informative by doing them together.  It keeps us active when the fruits ripen.

So what do FFTPers do in the off season?  We help in the care of our neighborhood fruit trees!  To do so in the best way possible, I clad myself from head-to-toe in pink rain gear and trudged across the street on a very rainy morning in February half expecting to be the only one willing to spend  4 1/2 hours studying pruning with Heiko Koester of Urban Eco Gardens (contact Heiko here).

Much to my surprise, I was late and lucky to get a seat with eleven other neighbors in Matt and Jess's living room.  Their son Avery's chalk came in handy as Heiko scratched it away illustrating his six- point system of pruning.  Hawthorn berry Rose petal tea and popcorn sustained us between our trips out to examine real, wet, and grimy trees.

Matt and Jess open the center of the tree by tying over branches.
This increases air circulation, which is critical here in the
Pacific Northwest in preventing fungal diseases
Most fascinating to me was the concept of pruning as an ongoing "conversation" between the pruner and the tree.  And how you can read the healing of past cuts to learn how to do them better.

The next day, some of us went out to join in a "conversation" a neighbor was having with her fruit trees.  A very personal thing actually.  Maybe that's what it feels like being a marriage counselor.

And then I came home to my own fruit trees, I wondered what I was saying about myself through my pruning and, perhaps more importantly, what my fruit trees were saying back to me.

1 comment:

  1. This arrangement literally bore fruit the other night when got home and found some of Matt's hard cider on our doorstep.