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Winter Fruit Tree Chores Can Be Done In Summer

SULTAN, Wash. – WSU Snohomish County Extension is offering two workshops on summer fruit tree care: “Summer Fruit Tree Pruning” and “Bud Grafting.” Both workshops will be held Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010 at Ed’s Apples, 13420 339th Ave SE in Sultan (just off State Route 2).

WSU's Gary Moulton demonstrating proper pruning and safe ladder technique at a pruning workshop at Ed’s Apples in Sultan. Photo by Kate Halstead.

While typically thought of as a winter-time chore, pruning fruit trees during summer can improve tree health by opening the canopy for circulation as well as helping fruit to ripen. It’s also much more enjoyable than clinging to a ladder on a blustery winter day. Grafting, another activity typically thought of as best reserved for the dormant season, is also a task for the pleasant days of summer. Using tiny chips of bud stock is a simple and economical way to add variety to your orchard.

Summer Fruit Tree Pruning: 10 a.m. – noon. Topics covered include the basics of pruning with an emphasis on the techniques and goals of summer pruning. Participants will learn what issues can be addressed or exacerbated and the physiology of a tree’s response to mid-season pruning, along with what to look for when deciding to prune, or not to prune. Bring your gloves and pruners for hands-on practice.

Bud Grafting: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Participants will learn about the different types of grafting, how to choose and take bud wood, choosing a receptor site, how to make the graft and seal it properly. Each attendee will receive a Victorinox grafting knife. Bring your gloves for hands-on practice.

Instructor Gary Moulton started with the fruit horticulture department at the WSU research station in Mt. Vernon in 1980. In 1991, he took over management, direction, and leadership of the program. He holds a Master’s from WSU in plant pathology, specializing in fruit diseases, and a Bachelor’s in pomology and fruit science from Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo. He has authored several WSU Extension publications and produced a widely regarded video on pruning fruit trees.

Class size for both workshops is limited to ensure a quality experience. Registration and prepayment is required to hold your spot; Moulton’s workshops often sell out. Cost for Summer Fruit Tree Pruning is $25 per person; $40 for Bud Grafting, which includes a Victorinox grafting knife. Or save and take both for $60.

To register, download the form at snohomish.wsu.edu/ag/workshops/SummerFruitTree2010.pdf and mail with your check or contact Karie Christensen at 425-357-6039, e-mail klchristen@cahnrs.wsu.edu.

For more information on the workshops, contact Andrew Corbin, corbina@wsu.edu, 425-357-6012.

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