The Land Rover Owners Wife

Plums, acorns and Gall Wasps

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From little acorns ......

From little acorns ……

Yesterday was an exciting one for the school garden, as it managed to supply snack items for the whole of years 3, 4, 5 and 6! Children aged 4 to 6 which includes Foundation, year 1 and some of year 2, get free fruit or vegetables as a snack every morning which is a national initiative but children aged 7 and older have to bring their own snack item. So it was a great feeling when another mum and I managed to get 37 lovely ripe plums off the lower branches of the plum tree that lives in the bottom corner of the vegetable patch.

Mindful that not every child would like plums, we also picked a handful of cherry tomatoes and the last few pea pods to try and ensure that each older child had the chance of a snack from the garden. As it turned out there was actually enough for even the year 2 children (who share a class with 3 and 4) to have a second piece of fruit. All in all a very successful and rewarding day.

Snack time from the garden

Snack time from the garden

The plum tree is laden with fruit which I am determined to get my hands on and luckily the mum who was helping me yesterday (and is relatively new to the school but has a keen interest in helping with the garden), has a cherry picking device, on a telescopic pole which she is happy to lend to me.

Mine you, one thing did become apparent as we were picking plums yesterday and that was how desperately in need of a serious prune this tree and others around it, is/are. So weak are some of the branches of the plum tree, that they were snapping when we were gently pulling them down to release the fruit. Closer inspection of some of the other trees in that area, revealed several potential hazards waiting for the next strong wind.

One of the plum trees neighbours, is an oak tree and this has been a bit of a problem all year, as the ends of a few of the lower branches have now dropped to head height. The trunk of this tree is also almost completely covered with ivy all the way up and the leaves and many of the acorns are infested with Gall Wasp larvae, a condition called, I believe, Knoppers Gall. Whilst not life threatening for the tree, the end result of the infestation is unsightly, distorted acorns and also leaves covered with little brown/pink growths on the underside.

Signs of a Gall Wasp larvae infestation, I believe

Signs of a Gall Wasp larvae infestation, I believe

Coupled with the ivy, this tree is obviously not the happiest in the world and needs some serious attention but as this will have to include the removal of a few long, thick and extremely heavy looking lower branches, this is not a job for me and so I’ve requested that the County Gardeners have a look next time they come to do the grounds which should be in a couple of weeks. In the mean time the other mum knows of an organic ivy killer which you apply to the leaves and it does the business with out harming the tree or surrounding vegetation.

I know nothing about trees but I am learning fast and I suspect that we may well have to get a full inspection of all the trees on the school grounds carried out, to ensure that all of them are healthy and not accidents waiting to happen. I’ll keep you posted.


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