Drunken Elk rescued from Apple tree !

AN elk was left stuck up an apple tree in Sweden after getting drunk on its fermenting fruits.

The inebriated animal was bellowing and kicking ferociously when it was found by Per Johansson in his neighbor’s yard in Saro, south of Gothenburg, The Local reported today.

“I went over to take a look and spotted an elk stuck in an apple tree with only one leg left on the ground,” he said. “My neighbour recognized it as the animal that almost ran into her car earlier in the day. She was pretty sure the elk was already under the influence.”

Mr Johansson and his neighbours tried to saw down the tree’s branches but they could not untangle the animal and had to wait for the fire brigade to arrive.

When it was freed, the elk laid down on the ground and slept off the effects of the intoxicating fruit. The following morning it woke up and staggered away from the garden.

Drunken elks are common in Sweden during the autumn season when there are plenty of apples lying around on the ground and hanging from branches.

My thanks to ‘The Australian ” for spotting this article – made me laugh.


Red Spiders on the Rampage

Hot and dry in the greenhouse ? this creates the favourite living conditions for the Red spider mite ( or more correctly known as the ‘Two Spotted Mite‘ ) which is actually more of a pale colour with two dark spots on its back – they only turn red in colour when the hibernate in late autumn.

A slow moving mite when compared to its predator ” phytosellius” which is a smaller pear shaped mite that is – weirdly -coral red in colour.


The speckling above is one of the first signs and a call to action . At this stage the problem can be cured using predators available by post or with an organic spray such as ‘Plant Invigorator‘ .



When the cobwebs above start to appear you may be too late for a simple remedy and sacrificial pruning may be the only way forward.

These cobwebs will cover the tips of young shoots, often bending the tips downwards and almost ‘dripping’ with mites. Your best answer is to prune out all you can and then start regular sprays with an organic spray to wash the plant clean, if it is in a pot remove the plant to the garden and hose it down – Red spider mites do not like getting wet.

Regular seaweed sprays such as ‘Seasol‘ will also help by strengthening the leaves.

There are no chemicals that work effectively for amateur use.


On this under side shot you can see the tiny mites- just !


Moving closer………

Already it is early August and the new Nursery site is leaping ahead or perhaps I should say ‘flattening down’ as we prepare the new container plant standing area ready for our September move date. The JCB has churned, rattled and scraped, removing some enormous concrete lumps leaving us with a now level site. Some sand is next as we create a 1200 sq meter ‘beach’- alongside  the same area of shiny pea shingle, all fine tuned with the laser level and soon to be covered with capillary matting.

All our water will be captured, recycled and filtered through a ring well ,which also collects rainwater from every possible roof surface we can find .Once the containers have had their trickle irrigation for breakfast all the run off drains through and back to the start again. Moves are afoot to generate onsite power too ,though that may be awhile yet !

The phone lines are in and working – so if you fancy a chat on fruit – or some advice – our new number is 01986 895555 but do not ring it until the 5th September -ish !

As always in life some things get rescheduled and shuffled around to suit, but we are getting into shape.

To give you a few clues the shiny silver bit is the new packing shed and the vast flat area in front will be plant standing for trained trees ,fans, espalier and the like. The hideous yellow box will be a temporary office once we have painted it a more appropriate shade.

Propagation areas and more growing space to come ….Our view from the office is sublime ..tranquil Suffolk marshes as the Waveney valley stretches away into the distance.. gosh must get some work done !

Japanese Plums

This is the time of year for Japanese plums, small round dark red ones, larger yellow ones (also round), some are maroon, but the best one to date is this new one ;’Ozark Premier’ wow it is huge,as big as a nectarine. The skin yesterday was red fading up to golden yellow at the neck yet today it was an amber red colour.

Flesh colour -pale straw yellow , firm yet meaty with a buttery texture and juicy to the dribble down the chin point ……..

Peaches trained for a wall.

Flatwards ! – Peach and Nectarines for walls are very easy to train ,  just think logically and use the tree’s natural tendency to branch.

Use those shoots that are in the right place and remove those that are not.

Only prune in May or at the time of harvest.

Do not try to bend or force growth by pruning, this will create more wounds to let in disease.

This method is called ‘extension pruning’ it does not involve heavy cutting back, which is disastrous for stone fruit as it is  a sure way to let in bacterial canker.

I leave these sketches to do the explaining -All we do with a maiden tree is to prune out the centre in May; training the two shoots below outwards, if you get stuck ,add a comment so I can edit to help you.

First Years training result

Fan Training at Year two

Peaches & May

May is the best month for pruning peach and nectarine trees. This post is for bush trees,( yes they are hardy enough in most parts of the UK), fan trained trees can also be pruned now, the principles are the same except the tree is flat ! I will post separately on Fan training.

Trees that were planted early in the Autumn will by now be growing strongly and it should be obvious where most pruning cuts need to be. There is one overriding rule to remember when pruning peach and nectarine trees in May – Fruit is ONLY borne on the second year wood, consequently you need to be able to replace this each year with fresh, strong shoots that will carry the following years fruit.

Shoot tips- are they growing strongly ? Those that are, leave well alone .

Weak, spindly shoots need to be taken off completely.

Those with ‘blind wood’ (a length of wood behind a shoot with buds which have not opened or grown) need pruning back to just above the second strong side shoot.

By doing this you will also have now taken out any wood that has die back on it, leaving you with healthy vigorous shoots that will be ready to carry next years crop.

The bush tree pruning is now nearly complete – simple really, one other consideration is the access for picking fruits in the centre of the bush at harvest, remember that the light and sun will need to ripen the fruits and the picker will need to get into the centre to collect the fruit so leave space for both by thinning out any overcrowding branches that cross into the centre of the tree.

Thinning the fruits is a two pronged affair, the first few will be taken off by pruning as above, also check for twins, these will need to be singled out or neither will ripen properly, then check that all the remaining fruits are at least 4″apart.

Second thinning is done after the fruit reach thumbnail size, there may by now have been a small , natural drop, but you need to go over the tree thinning to 8″ – or a hand span apart.

Trees that are not growing vigorously will need looking at to assess the reason, are you feeding? with what , and how often do you feed your tree ? Peaches are very heavy feeders and can look chlorotic and pale if left alone. Consider foliar feeding with Seasol seaweed or a liquid feed to the roots as a temporary measure, then get some slow release pellets onto the soil as soon as you can and water them in well.

Have I explained this in a way you can get to grips with ? Let me know so I can edit if needed.