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Spring Pruning (The New Farmer's Almanac, 2021)

Rob Jackson
The New Farmer's Almanac
Journal Volume/Pages: 
Vol. V: 107


Spring Pruning


I shape a plum tree first,

leggy in its second-year growth,

clipping the central leader a foot or two

above the first ring of branches,

in turn trimming each of those

a shoe’s length from the main stem

—just past a bud and at angle instead of flat

to ensure water drains.


Where disease struck the apple and peach trees, I cut more,

severing branches stricken with fungal rust,

fire blight, or virus, disinfecting the pruning shears

with alcohol between cuts.

I trim extra to be safe, mindful

of things newly pruned by virus from our lives:

unnecessary flights, shopping from boredom,

nights playing music with my son,

our elders and begetters.