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WSU Extension Workshop Series Focuses on Home Tree Fruit Growing for Westsiders

SULTAN, Wash. — WSU Extension is offering a series of Saturday workshop teaching skills for home tree fruit growers on how to establish and maintain a healthy orchard in Western Washington. Although western Washington weather gets a bad rap when it comes to growing apples, pears, peaches, and cherries, years of WSU Extension research into variety selection and improving growing techniques are changing that reputation. With new, disease-resistant cultivars coupled with updated methods of managing pruning, pests and fertility, Westside growers can establish and maintain healthy, productive orchards. All workshops include a catered box lunch and are held at Ed’s Apples, 13420 339th Ave SE, Sultan, Wash., just off SR 2.

  • Orchard Management on the Westside: Jan. 21; 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; $80 per person

Learn the basics of tree fruit production; varieties and different fruit kinds; rootstocks, nutrient management, pest management, irrigation, orchard layout, planting, pruning, and harvest indices. This will be mostly an inside workshop with some time spent in the orchard. Dress for weather and mud. Register online at http://bit.ly/z0Zs10.

  • Dormant Pruning: Feb. 25; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; $70 per person

Topics covered include the basics of pruning with an emphasis on the techniques and goals of dormant pruning. Participants will learn which issues can be addressed or exacerbated by pruning; the physiology of a tree’s response to pruning; and what to look for when deciding to prune or not. Dress for weather and mud; bring gloves, pruners, and saws. Register online at http://bit.ly/zfjnpA.

  • Grafting: Apr. 14; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; $80 per person

Learn about different types of grafting; how to choose and take scion wood; choose a receptor site; make the graft and seal it properly. Participants will spend time practicing inside, and then head outside to top work larger trees. Each attendee will receive two apple rootstocks and two pear rootstocks to bench graft and take home. Dress for weather and mud; bring gloves. Register online at http://bit.ly/A0N2WQ.

Horticulturist Gary Moulton will teach all three workshops. In 1980, Moulton began work at Washington State University’s research center in Mount Vernon in fruit horticulture. In 1991, he became director of the center’s program in fruit horticulture. Since 2009, Moulton has been a consultant and workshop speaker. He holds a M.S. in plant pathology from WSU, specializing in fruit diseases, and a B.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.

Enrollment for the workshops is limited. To register online, follow the links, or download the form at http://bit.ly/wjEB6L and mail with your check, or contact Karie Christensen at 425-357-6039, e-mail christensen4@wsu.edu. For more information on the workshops, contact Andrew Corbin, corbina@wsu.edu, 425-357-6012.

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