Pruning of fruit trees workshop 28th Feb 2015

fruit tree pruning feb 2015Saturday 28 February 2015 This half-day practical hands-on workshop organised by Melbourne Area Transition with the National Trust runs from 10am to 1pm at Southwood Farm, near Ticknall.

You will learn the basics of winter pruning to shape and prepare young trees and to improve the health and productivity of old fruit trees.

What will the pruning fruit trees workshop cover?

The workshop will provide participants with the basic skills through hands-on practical work to renovate and prune old apple trees and prepare young trees. These skills are essential to anyone caring for fruit trees, but the expertise to carry out this work is not very widespread or accessible. Fruit trees that are not properly cared for often become unproductive and diseased, frequently causing them to die prematurely.

Who is the workshop for?

This workshop is open to anyone aged 16 or over. No prior knowledge of pruning is needed. It is a practically based workshop. Participants should be willing, and consider themselves physically able, to ‘have a go’. While ladders are often required to gain access to taller trees, we will be learning on trees where it is feasible to prune without leaving the ground. You must also be willing to spend 3 hours out of doors!

The site

Southwood Farm is on the Calke to Ticknall road near Melbourne in South Derbyshire. Please advise when booking if you need detailed directions or help with transport from Melbourne area. There is no nearby public transport, although it is a pleasant 2-mile walk through the Calke Estate from the number 61 bus route which runs through Ticknall.

Learning methods and outcomes

A brief introduction will cover what participants want from the workshop and the reasons for winter pruning. The rest of the workshop will be practical hands-on experience with guidance from the tutor: assessing the health of the trees, deciding on a strategy, tools and techniques, and practice. By the end of the workshop, participants will have the practical skills necessary to carry out early shaping and renovation pruning of fruit trees without supervision.

Workshop tutor:  

Expert tuition will be provided by Paul Simpson, one of the lead gardeners with the National Trust, Calke Estate.


We strongly advise that anyone who intends to prune trees should have good tools. We advise that you bring your favourite tools to the course, though the National Trust will also be providing tools that can be borrowed.

  • A good quality pair of clean, sharp secateurs
  • A good quality clean sharp pruning sawThis book is recommended, but it is not necessary for those attending to buy or read it. RHS Pruning and Training, Christopher Brickell and David JoyceFees include expert tuition, soup (cooked on rocket stoves) and bread lunch, refreshments and optional tour of Tollgate Brewery on the same site. Depending on weather conditions, there may also be an afternoon option to visit the nearby Whistlewood Common to see the 150+ young fruit trees and 40+ mature pear trees at that venue


£30, payable on booking to Melbourne Area Transition UK.

Some concessionary places available – please discuss when making your booking if you think you might qualify.

Melbourne Area Transition endeavours to make its courses and events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.

Booking the pruning course

Booking is essential, as most of our courses/events rapidly become fully booked. However, if places are still available, then bookings can be made until midday the day before the course/event. Payment within 7 days of booking please. Your place is not secured until we have received the requested payment.

Book the 28 February 2015 workshop by phoning 01332-862028 or emailing



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