Picture the perfect Saturday morning: For most of us it includes a beautiful setting, friendly, bright people, attractive gardens, stimulating conversation.
As many of you know, I’ve just described the Advice to Grow By workshops presented monthly by the Master Gardeners. On the third Saturday of each month we discuss a timely topic, illustrating hands-on in our Garden of the Seven Sisters.
Our subject Saturday will be of special interest to those of us fortunate enough to have fruit trees and/or grapes in our gardens. We will focus on summer pruning of fruit trees and thinning and suckering of grapes.
Many gardeners consider fruit tree pruning a wintertime activity, and it is true that there are advantages to pruning a tree when the leaves are absent so that the structure of the tree is easy to visualize. However, some pruning and trimming during the summer is helpful in controlling tree height and removing overly vigorous upright shoots that are not needed as permanent branches.
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Apricot trees are very susceptible to eutypia dieback, a branch-killing disease. This fungus infests freshly-pruned wood when rainfall occurs soon after the tree is pruned. So it is best to prune apricot trees after they have fruited, when there will be at least six weeks of rain-free weather.
Suckering, or shoot thinning, of grapes is vital to quality fruit production. Vigorous vines may produce more new shoots and fruit clusters than they can support, and the resulting fruit will be of poor quality. Suckering removes all but the desired number of shoots, so that the remaining canes will carry healthy, high quality fruit. Suckering also allows for light and better air movement within the plant’s canopy that helps prevent disease.
At our workshop you will learn the principles behind these activities, get careful instruction, then observe and even participate in pruning and thinning the trees and vines in our garden.
Join us from 10 a.m. to noon at 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo.