You might know that there is a well-established orchard with a plethora of local traditional varieties of fruit trees right on our doorsteps.
Planted in 1999, the Millennium Orchard situated at Manchester Met’s Cheshire Campus (behind Laurence building), originally formed part of a wider Cheshire Orchard Project, which commenced in 1994.
The project aimed to promote the importance of orchards and fruit growing, establish a network of community orchards, to keep the tradition alive and carry it through to the next century, and, if not most importantly, to conserve the historically important apple trees of Cheshire. Staff and students from Cheshire Campus rallied to raise funds to cover the basic costs of the trees, stakes and planting activities- from which, the Millennium Orchard was borne.
Recently, staff and students from the campus joined forces with the Environment Team to help develop and maintain the Millennium Orchard. Part of the objective for the day was to undertake a basic health check of the fruit trees – staff and students found that most of the trees were in perfect health, with the exception of one tree with a small patch of woolly aphids- these were swiftly removed by non-chemical means.
During the Orchard Workshop, our group also created mulched areas around the bases of the trees with the intention that the existing grassed areas dieback, thereby allowing the fruit trees’ feeder roots to grow to the soil surface- that will in the longer-term improve the overall health and condition of the trees.
As the season progresses, we hope to work to identify the different varieties of tree located in the Millennium Orchard areas, and, along with students and staff we will look forward to running a number of orchard focussed activities over the course of the year- from completing the mulching activities to delivering a celebratory harvesting event in Autumn 2016.
If you would like to find out more about the project or participate in Orchard activities, register to receive our monthly newsfeed which will have details of future activities as when they are planned in. You can register by going to our homepage www.mmu.ac.uk/environment.