Ipswich Tree Wardens met in Christchurch Park this month for a special fruit tree pruning course taught by orchard specialist, Anna Baldwin.
The 15-strong Tree Warden team, initiated at summer 2022’s Suffolk show and led by network coordinator for Ipswich Borough Council, Sarah Kilshaw, were recruited to help look after trees in the 100 parks and open spaces across Ipswich. This includes the community orchard of Christchurch Park in central Ipswich.
The two-day training included fruit tree identification, appropriate tool use and pruning principles for fruit trees of all ages.
Ipswich’s volunteer Tree Wardens got plenty of hands-on experience pruning the community orchard’s range of apple and pear trees, many of which showed signs of neglect after many years’ undermanagement.
Tree Wardens were encouraged to spend time observing and analysing the trees one by one, to work out which cuts would be of benefit to the tree, and to consider the optimal shape of the tree in five years’ time. For apple trees, Tree Wardens were taught to look for signs of where a natural bowl shape could be encouraged, to ensure airflow and balance between leaf and fruit.
Tree Warden network coordinator, Sarah Kilshaw, organised the training with the aim of ensuring Ipswich’s Tree Warden network can eventually independently manage the town’s orchards, including those in schools and allotments, as well as teaching others the principles of good fruit tree management.
Ipswich was granted Tree City of the World status in 2021, one of just nineteen cities and towns in the UK to have received this recognition. The FAO- and Arbor Day Foundation- led award recognises leadership in management of urban trees.