An orchard management event in Northern Ireland is set to focus on soil fertility, disease management, caring for younger trees and winter pruning.

The training event, which will be held at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Loughry Campus, in Cookstown, will take place on Wednesday, March 18.

Agricultural inspector Kieran Lavelle will also give a detailed demonstration of different pruning techniques to give a clear understanding of when and how to prune trees of different age ranges.

[caption id="attachment_300905" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Image-source-CAFRE-Keiran-demonstrating-pruning Kieran Lavelle, agricultural inspector, demonstrating how to prune a tree[/caption]

When an orchard has received adequate fertiliser and has the correct soil pH (between 6 and 6.5), the next step to improve the fruit size is through substantial winter pruning.

The poorest quality apples are said to be found in the shaded sections of the tree and on older, less productive timber.

Removing the lower branches and those branches which have become heavy, thick and poorly dressed with fruiting branches should be a priority for removal, according to CAFRE.

About the event

The free event is open to all those who wish to learn more about orchard management. It will be held at the Loughry College orchard, in Cookstown on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - beginning at 10:30am.

Participants should register and book a place online. For more details, you should contact Nicola Warden on: 028-9442-6939.

Those attending the course can get to the event by passing through the main Loughry College entrance and going straight at the mini-roundabout to park in the old Lindsay Hall car park. The orchard will be signposted from there.