Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Worming Their Way In

So, there's not many things in life better than picking ripe black-red cherries right off the tree and popping them into your mouth, still warm from the sunshine. For years, our neighbors have let us pick off of their massive and abundant cherry tree, and it has become something to look forward to in the early weeks of the summer as we watch the cherries ripen.

Last year, the house was sold and the new owners had the tree trimmed right in the middle of summer, by just a gardener who obviously knew nothing about tree trimming. I thought at the time that the outcome was probably not going to be good. For one thing, the tree looked leggier after the trimming, and it wasn't a good shape, especially for a fruit tree. For another, the season for trimming is not while the sap is running strong during the fruit-bearing season.

Sure enough, this year the damage has appeared. Unpleasantly, we only discovered after eating many cherries from the tree (eewwwwww!) that nearly all of them have worms. So cherry processing this year took a lot more time and energy as I had to pit each cherry and remove worms instead of just using the cherry pitter on them. Also sadly, the tree only produced about a third of what it usually does. Now of course it's not our tree, so I'm definitely not looking a gift horse in the mouth here. But it's sad when something that has been a regular producer not just for the owners but for several families in the neighborhood is mangled just via someone's non-knowledge of managing a fruit-bearing tree. Several other fruit trees in the neighborhood underwent a similar fate this summer as owners with no knowledge of proper pruning and maintenance hacked away at them. As food prices grow, one can only hope that people begin to appreciate and cherish the treasure that a good producing fruit tree can be!

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