so we can see a tree here that was
planted two years ago and although the group responsible for planting the tree
have topped up the mulch a little bit as you can see there is actually quite a
lot of bare root now around the base of the tree now we can’t emphasize how
important it is to keep the tree topped up with good bulky organic mulch for the
first three to four years of its life mulching serves various purposes it
helps to retain moisture in times of drought it helps to regulate temperature
if you think about where this tree would be originally the ancestors of this tree
in the fruit forests of a Kyrgyzstan they would be surrounded by other plans
which wouldn’t allow direct sunlight to the bare roof underneath so it helps
about temperature regulation but importantly it helps to begin to build
the soil around the base of each of our trees from top down so as the organisms
come to the surface pull down the mulch break it down we’re initiating the
health of the soil food web and really a healthy tree depends upon healthy soil
now using a mulch made from woody materials because specifically younger
wood the branches of the trees we can begin to create soil that mimics that of
the soil on the floor the floor of a forest so by adding more woody material
we’re actually feeding the beneficial fungi and it’s these fungi that will
also help in turn to feed our trees so generally the healthy of a tree the less
susceptible it’s going to be two infestations of pests and also disease
so by creating holistic tree health we’re going to be working towards a
healthier tree the stems from healthier soil but hopefully will be more
resilient to such attacks we have an apple tree here which is
showing signs of obvious aphid infestation over the summer telltale
signs here where these leaves as you can see a crumpled they’re deformed and many
of them have died back now and are falling off prematurely so what would have
happened is when we have this new growth from a spring into the summer time the
aphids prefer the young growth because it’s weaker for their proboscis to get
into the leaves and they’re able to suck out the sap and they always attack the
young leaves and you can see them covering many of the leaves and young
trees but here the tree has gone on to develop new growth and this hasn’t been
attacked by the aphids so possibly in this situation natural predators were
attracted by the aphids they’ve come in they’ve eaten them kept a population
down and then let’s allow the tree to put down a second burst of growth later
on in the summer so this shows the importance of attracting these
beneficial insects these predators that will come in and do the pest control for
us so that we don’t have to resort to using chemicals so you can attract these
beneficial predators such as hover flies and lace wings by planting plants such
as deal fennel daisies poached egg plants or dandelions they generally like
small white and yellow flowers you could pluck these around your trees and that
would help to increase the numbers of these predators you may find ants around
the aphids now ants themselves aren’t a pest but annoyingly they encourage aphids and actually farm aphids for the sweet honey dew they extract from
the aphids so it can be an idea to try and prevent ants from climbing up your
tree by putting a grease band around the base of the tree quite low to the
ground and that can prevent the ants from protecting the aphids which then
leads the aphids open to predation by predators so one of the easiest things
to do with aphids is actually just manually removing them so if you’re not too squeamish you could squish them up with
your fingers some people prefer to put gloves on when
they’re doing that but that’s a good way very simple way of taking them off
keeping an eye on them and just squishing them scab is a widespread fungal disease of
apples and pears and it’s one of the most common diseases we find in fruit
trees in London it prefers cool wet periods and spring and early summer as
it’s a fungal pathogen similar to the summer we had in 2012 generally it’s not too much of a problem it might cause the apples not to look very
pleasant but it wont effect their taste and as we’re not doing this
commercially then it doesn’t matter so much it’s more of a problem for
commercial growers over winters in with fallen leaves and twigs so one way to
deal with it if you have a bad outbreak is to remove any affected leaves and
twigs and infected fruit or if you want those to go back into the mulch which is
of course the natural feeding routine of the tree then you can help it to break
down more quickly by adding something like urine and by mowing the leaves
first so that they break down more quickly so it’s important during the
winter to look for any disease material in the tree and prune this out and indeed
good pruning should allow airflow into the canopy structure of the tree which
will help to eliminate the microclimate favored by pathogens such as scab we can see here a powdery mildew so
these shoots that look almost ghostly white tips have died back there a
massive fungal pathogen and again it’s one of these with with organic gardening
we’re also looking at observing and trying to nip things in the bud and
actually you know destroying them getting rid of them before they get out
of hand so in this case in the summer if you see any leaves that are looking
white like they’re covered in a white kind of powdery film then just take
those off and it’s best to remove them from a site if possible powdery mildew
can be caused by the tree not getting sufficient water especially in the first
couple of years after planting when their roots are still establishing which is why
it’s important to make sure that you water your tree during times of drought
during times of dryness in the spring and summertime it is possible to grow a
good quality fruit organically through a holistic approach but works alongside
nature to increase the diversity and resilience of the orchard ecosystem the London watcher project is a fresh
initiative to plant and harvest fruit trees in our capital we’re developing a
skilled community of Londoners to plant care for and harvest fruit trees by
doing this we’re reconnecting urban communities to their fruit and to each
other and helping to secure our long-term access to fruit in partnership
with these groups we’re identifying sites coming up with designs for the
orchards training people from the groups to plant and look after the orchard in
the long term helping them plant and then providing long-term follow-up
support to make sure that the trees produce abundant crops in the future all
right guys I want you to think when you’re tasting these apples these apple
trees are going to be what grows here in our food growing garden that he made so
it’s really important that you pick the apples that you really want to taste
later down the line they’re going to take a while to grow when they do these
are the different apples that could come out with trees being so long growing and
it’s important to have a really sustainable and long lasting project
that can support that all the way through so having the London orchard
projects train-the-trainer sessions and providing training for local people
teachers and parents means that the project’s got far more chance of success
than it would be if it was just myself trying to pass on the knowledge so it’s
really important for us to have those that detail support that you guys can
offer us and what do you think you’ll do with the fruits in a few years when you
start getting crops in the trees I think we’ll do an enormous number of
things we will draw the fruit will measure the fruit science will test the
fruit in science will eat the fruit eat the fruit raw will eat the fruit cooked
we’ll try and work out recipes we’ll make fruit smoothies we will give the
fruit out we will use the fruit to give to children at break times and lunch
times that we already have some but not quite enough for everybody to have it
for free everything is possible to do with fruit will do first I should think
what say well what do you think of this project then fantastic absolutely
fantastic no more fruit trees the better why do you think it’s important for
residents to be planting orchards well I think it’s it brings a community
together you know it’s just sort of actually work on the areas that they’re
going to live in and I growing is a fantastic way of doing that bringing
community together it pushes the healthy eating agenda so the orchard project
fits in with all of those things and it it looks nice it offers something to the
community around here and we’re right in the middle of some flats and if we have
nice apple trees and pear trees and plum trees growing eventually we hope the
community will have access to as well it’s a win-win so how you feeling about
this is hot right yeah why the great well been trying to work towards this
for kind of well a year and finally the trees going wonderful and why do you
need the help along an orchard project well expertise funding extra enthusiasm
and facilitating it really so yeah great great partnership really we’ve chosen
locations in some of the most deprived areas in London we’re creating a supply
of local fresh fruit could really make a difference to the state of the nation’s
health just yeah we just want people to help themselves really that’s that would
be the best thing if people just Mowgli come down from the flats and help
himself to an apple and eat it