Apple orchards have certainly changed over recent years, as British growers have to find new ways to grow their fruit to compete globally. Varieties such as Royal British Gala and Braeburn have helped to save and turnaround the British industry into one which sees annual market share here in the UK growing year on year. One of the most important stages in the management of an orchard is the pruning of the trees, which is all done by hand and when you have well over 1 million trees to prune, this certainly takes a lot of time. Depending on the variety of the apple, the shape of the tree being aimed for is similar to the Shard building in London. This allows an equal amount of light to reach all of the fruit on the tree and the correct amount of light ensures the right colour of the fruit when it is time to be picked.
Tree management is vital to ensure an even production is achieved throughout the whole orchard. When it is harvest time, some of the trees will be picked up to three times. The fruit from the bottom of the trees tends to go into long term cold storage, whilst the fruit at the top of the tree will ripen more quickly due to the extra sunlight, so it will be stored separately. This month the trees are looking particularly lush as they have benefited from all of the extra rain fall here in the South East, which means we have not had to water the orchards quite so much this year.