UC Master Gardeners

Now is the time to plant bare root fruits and nuts

UC Master GardenerDecember 26, 2012 

Correction: An earlier version of this article had the wrong name for the author. This article was written by Terri Sonleitner Law, Master Gardener. The Master Gardeners of San Luis Obispo County submitted another writer’s name in error. They apologize for any confusion.

As we transition to a new year, you may be busy making resolutions. A great resolution is to visit your favorite garden or home center. Now through March is the bare root season, and your favorite local nursery or home center has the largest and freshest selection of dormant bare root fruit and nut trees available now.

Deciduous, or dormant, fruit trees that are available bare root include apple, apricot, cherry, fig, nectarine, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, pomegranate and prune, along with nut trees such as almond and walnut. In addition to those trees, you will find an abundant supply of bare root berries, grapes and other vines.

In selecting your bare root trees, look for varieties with the correct chill requirements for your location. Chill re quirements equate to the number of hours below 45 degrees F, so select low-chill varieties for coastal areas. Look for trees with well-hydrated bark, and buds should appear alive, but should not yet be actively growing.

In handling bare root trees, never allow unplanted trees to dry out. Keep roots in moist organic matter, or dig a shallow trench and bury them temporarily before planting, and resolve to plant within a short time.

For information on growing your own deciduous fruit and nut trees, we recommend consulting the University of California, California Backyard Orchard website. It has detailed information on selection, chill requirements, planting, first year care, fertilization and pruning of deciduous fruit and nut trees: http://homeorchard  .ucdavis.edu/The_Big_Picture  .

Information on “Suggested Fruit and Nut Varieties for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties’ Backyard Orchardists” is available at http://cesanluisobispo.ucanr   .edu/files/61216.pdf.

If all this seems daunting, our local Master Gardener “Advice to Grow By” workshop on Jan. 19 will discuss and demonstrate fruit trees and vines, including choosing the right fruit tree for your region, as well as winter care of dormant fruit trees. The workshop will be from 10 a.m. to noon in the demonstration garden at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo.

GOT A GARDENING QUESTION?

Contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners at 781-5939 on Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m. in San Luis Obispo; at 473-7190 from 10 a.m. to noon in Arroyo Grande; or at 434-4105 on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon in Templeton. Visit the UCCE Master Gardeners website at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or email mgsanluisobispo@ucdavis.edu  .

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