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More Trees and Bushes for Bowhunters and What to Prune

More on Pruning Trees for Wildlife

Click to enlargeChris Kirby, the president of Quaker Boy Calls, from Orchard Park, New York, hunts abandoned apple orchards in Upstate New York. “Luckily, I don’t have to plant more fruit and nut trees where I hunt, but I just take care of the ones that are on the property that I hunt,” KClick to enlargeirby says. One of the problems associated with apple trees is they drop apples on the ground. The apples rot and release their seeds. Then more apples grow under your main trees. Kirby explains, “To keep an apple tree producing a lot of fruit, I go in and clear other apple trees and other trees that will compete with the mature trees away from the tree I’m going to hunt. Oftentimes this will mean cutting down a really-nice young apple tree, however, I realize that the less competition for nutrients and water that an individual tree has, the more fruit it will put on. But, before you can cut any tree on any property, make sure you discuss with the landowner what you intend to do, and have his/her permission to remove the trees that may compete with the apple tree you’re hunting around.”

Next, Kirby cuts all the dead branches off the tree he’s planning to hunt around and removes the dead limbs from the tree. Then he prunes some of the top branches. “I’ve learned if you prune somClick to enlargee of the top branches, the tree will put out two more limbs at the spot where you’ll cut one limb off. Those two limbs usually will produce more fruit than the limb you’ve cut. I believe the more branches you can create by pruning, the more apples you will have the next year.” Kirby tries not to cut off any branches that are more than 1-inch in diameter. He simply tries to stimulate the growth of branches and increase the amount of fruClick to enlargeit the tree produces and not trying to reduce the number of limbs or the height of the tree. “What I try to do with these old apple trees is to give them an opportunity to grow more limbs and produce more fruit next year than they have the previous year,” Kirby advises.

In addition to pruning, Kirby also puts tree tablets (fertilizer pellets) around the drip line of the tree. “I dig several holes all around the tree on the drip edge of the tree, put the tree tablets in those holes and then cover up the holes. These holes are less than several inches deep. I just want to get the tablets into the ground where the rain can carry the fertilizer down to the roots.” Kirby believes that the fertilizer not only helps to produce more apples, but also sweeter apples. “If you take care of your apple trees during deer season those apple trees will take care of your deer hunting.” Kirby says.

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Check back each day this week for more about "More Trees and Bushes for Bowhunters and What to Prune"

Day 1: Trees from the North
Day 2: What About Persimmons?
Day 3: Pruning Fruit Trees for Wildlife
Day 4: More Pruning Fruit Trees for Wildlife
Day 5: More on Pruning Trees for Wildlife



Entry 403, Day 5