Pruning: A mid-winter activity for fruit gardeners

Published on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 by By Kele Rankin-Sunter, Blaine Community Orchards for Research and Education

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While our vegetables gardens are sodden with cold soil awaiting drier days and our mailboxes are filled with seed catalogs, the lure the stay indoors where it is warm is tempting.

But, for those who practice edible landscaping, taking pruning shears in hand and “tidying up” those fruit-bearing plants, offers the chance to relish a day outside. Winter is the best time to look at your fruit trees and make those cutting edge decisions.

Fruit trees need pruning for two primary purposes: to establish or maintain the basic structure and to provide light channels throughout the tree so that all the fruit can mature well.

Additionally, a well pruned tree is easier to manage and harvest. Its well balanced look adds esthetic value to your garden as well. 

Have you noticed that most of the fruit always seems to be at the top of your tree, just out of reach of your ladder? It’s true, because that’s where the most light is available. The reason for pruning is to ensure good access to sunlight.

So whether you have just planted a new fruit tree in your garden or are assessing a pruning for that 50-year plus matron of fruit, we invite you to come and learn more about what you are about to lop, shear, whack or saw.

From identifying which branches will go, to choosing your tools, we can help.Two workshops will be at the Blaine Public Library at no charge. We ask that you RSVP so that we have an idea of attendance and can provide enough handouts for everyone.

They are scheduled Tuesday, February 8, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, February 12, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. (they are identical, we are just offering them at two times, so that more folks will have access to information). Call 332-7435 to reserve your space.

For more information visit www.blaine-core.com.