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Don’t know how to prune your fruit tree — or when? This workshop is for you

Q. Should I trim back my fruit trees in June?

Carol B., Paso Robles

A. After generous rains and spring warmth, your fruit trees are in prime condition to produce a bountiful harvest. Proper pruning is essential to promote healthy growth, discourage disease and maximize the ability of your tree to give nourishing and tasty fruit.

But what does that entail? If you are new to pruning, just added a new tree to your garden, or would like a refresher course in fruit tree care, this Saturday's Advice to Grow By workshop is for you.

The first half of the two-hour workshop will focus on fruit tree selection. Deciduous trees are dependent on chill hours for fruit production. Find out which cultivars are best suited to your climate.

You will learn how and where to plant your tree, what is necessary to foster growth in new trees and how to help your tree flourish through the years. Questions such as how much water your tree needs, what type of fertilizer to use and how often should the tree be fertilized will be addressed.

Most fruit trees require at least annual pruning to maximize sun exposure, provide ample air flow, and direct energy towards fruit-bearing branches. Summer and winter pruning is beneficial for many types of trees, though there are a few varieties that require pruning only in the summer.

Also slated for discussion is the process of thinning as your tree begins to fruit. Disease prevention and pest control through integrated pest management (IPM) techniques will round out the speeches.

The second half of the workshop will be held in the garden where pruning techniques will be demonstrated on trees in the orchard. Pruning workshops are among our best attended and offer camaraderie, pertinent information and a boost of motivation and confidence to manage your own trees successfully.

To learn more about pruning, join us at the UCCE Master Gardeners Advice to Grow By workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdayin our demonstration garden at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Visit our website to register, http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/. In the event of inclement weather, please meet in the auditorium. Garden docents will be available after the workshop until 1 p.m. (depending on volunteer availability).

Andrea Peck is a UCCE Master Gardener.

Got a gardening question?

In San Luis Obispo call 781-5939, Arroyo Grande, 473-7190 and Templeton, 434-4105. Visit us at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or email us at anrmgslo@ucanr.edu. Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Garden docents are available after the workshop until 1 p.m. To request a tour of the garden, call 781-5939.

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