Along with learning multitudes of strawberry facts in Strawberry School, our first week here on the farm was spent diligently plucking individual fir cones off of the trees. You may know more about this if you have been reading the Jones Farmer Blog, but I’ll provide you with a little science lesson anyway.
They are wind-pollinated, so the cones are usually found on the very tops of the trees. You know what this means! We’ve been bringing step ladders to the base of each tree, climbing up and snapping the cones off.
Why do we take them off? Well, there are a couple of reasons: when the trees produce these cones, they are using their energy to create seeds, rather than continue their own growth process. Removing the cones restrains that reproduction process so the trees instead devote their energy to creating new growth, which you can also see in the picture above, on the tips of each branch (it’s the brighter color green). We also remove the cones for the same reason we prune the trees each summer–to help them maintain their classic Christmas tree shape.