Winter Pruning at Schloss Puetnitz
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Our beautiful Schloss Park is a mix of old, well established trees, and fairly newly planted bushes and shrubs. We even have some protected trees on our property; Two huge Sycamore (Platana) trees estimated to be circa 270 years old. In addition to The Platana, there is a beautiful Yew Tree (Eibe), and a particularly stunning red Beech tree ( Rot Buche). at the bottom of the garden that catches the afternoon sun - stunning! We have 6 old, established apple trees (variety unknown), and a mix of beautiful evergreens, that give the winter garden some much needed colour. Our Roses are a mix of old and new, and gave us some pruning challenges this year too!
The roses were the first to get the chop. We had read online , and in our last Blog quoted, that we must have ‘ a hard heart, and a sharp pair of shears’. This is easier said than done, especially as some new bud leaves were already set.
So we have a mix of standard and climbers, and I have to say its harder to prune the climbers than the standard, as so much growth must be removed in comparison. It was a good few hours of team work ... especially carting away the cuttings ... glad to have thick gloves. We decided that as there were a fair amount of diseased leaves removed, we would burn them and not add anything to the compost.
That done, we tackled the 3 Wisteria and a 4 year old grapevine. With Wisteria, if one prunes deeply, then the flowers will suffer for 1 to 2 years. We had planned to go in harshly, but then backed out and did a mild pruning. If this proves to be a mistake, we will be able to prune after the first summer flush, to keep them under control. They do look beautiful winding up to the window of the ‘Parkblick’, a 2 bedroomed, second floor apartment with a beautiful view of the Recknitz and our Schlosspark. A second Wisteria winds beautifully over the doorway of ‘Am Park’, a spacious ground floor, 1 bedroomed apartment with a private terrace and garden view.
Our Grapevine produced a bumper crop of grapes last summer. But shape wise, its a disaster - it seems that over the last years, everyone had had a go at pruning our grapevine. Short explanation: we don’t live at Schloss Puetnitz, thats our retirement plan! But we have a manager couple that take on a lot of the gardening maintenance. Also some kindly neighbours pitch in every once in a while. Luckily, you can do almost anything to a grapevine, and it will grow back and flourish. Again, we went in with a ‘hard heart’, and did what was needed!
The 6 apple trees took the longest to prune by far! The plan was to cut the middle branches out of each tree to achieve the wine glass shape (this also allows sun to get to the middle area). One has to look at the overall growth of each tree, keeping in mind the desired result .Firstly, carefully remove any dead wood, and also any crossing branches, cutting slightly above any outward facing bud (which will be the next branch extension). Ha, this is so hard! It requires stopping every few cuts, and standing back, walking round and constantly looking at the shape of the tree - not fun when you are up a ladder! This took quite a few hours of cutting with hand secateurs, loppers and a saw. Lots of hard work, but very satisfying. Look forward to seeing the fruit (literally) of our endeavours!
We will be back with more adventures in Mecklenburg Vorpommern at Schloss Pütnitz