HOLLIS, N.H. — January brings with it the cold temperatures and snows of mid-winter. While fruit trees are dormant this time of year, work continues for New Hampshire fruit producers to prepare their farms for the year ahead.
Fruit growers do a variety of projects on their farms during the off-season months. One of these important tasks is tree pruning. Tree pruning involves the removal of parts of a tree in order to make it more productive. Pruning can involve simply cutting back certain branches to the more intensive kind of removing entire limbs. Pruning helps control tree growth, remove diseased or dead portions of a tree, and help stimulate the growth of flowers and buds making for a healthier, more productive tree. Pruning in the winter months prepares the trees for the growing season.
Ryan Wilson of DeMerritt Hill Farm in Lee said, “The off-season is a time where growers do the things they can’t get to at other times in the year.” For many growers this often entails maintenance and building work on the farm. For instance, Ryan mentioned they installed a new greenhouse and have been working on fence mending and drainage work at DeMerritt Hill Farm so far this winter.
The off-season is also an important time of planning for fruit growers. With a reprieve in daily duties, the winter months offer a time for growers to look ahead to the upcoming year and plan changes they want to make on their farm, plan events they will be hosting throughout the year, order promotional material for the year, and more. The off-season also gives them the chance to do important financial matters like bookkeeping and accounting.
Even though the fruit may not be growing at this time of the year, winter is still a busy time for New Hampshire fruit growers as it gives them the chance to catch up on tasks and improve and prepare their farms for the year ahead. To find out more about NH-grown fruit and the producers who cultivate them, check out the NHFGA website at www.nhfruitgrowers.org.
About the New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association:
The NH Fruit Growers Association (NHFGA) is a non-profit association made up of tree fruit farmers, commercial, and supporting members who share a passion for New Hampshire-grown apples, peaches, cherries, plums, and pears. Among the association’s approximately 30 member orchards and farms, there’s diversity in size, fruit, and farm products, but they all gladly share the hard work of taking great care to grow quality fresh fruit for their customers. Keep up with NHFGA on Facebook and Instagram (@NHFruitGrowers) for nutrition information, fun facts, recipes, and more!
–New Hampshire Fruit Growers Association