Wednesday, August 27, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Garden Doctor: Now’s the time to prune fruit trees

ladybugs on artichokesW

Ladybugs take a rest on the leaves of an artichoke plant in the Davis Community Garden during the last week of January. Stuart Pettygrove/Courtesy photo

By
From page A7 | February 09, 2014 |

Upcoming events:
* At the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St. in Davis, gather on the third Sunday of every month from 2 to 4 p.m. for a Master Gardener program as part of the “Urban Homesteading” series. Learn about low water, lawn removal, vegetable, fruit and edible landscaping with several tables that will present visual and hands-on information on the monthly topic.
* At Grace Garden behind the Davis United Methodist Church, 1620 Anderson Road: “Selection and Care of Garden Tools” from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, and the annual plant sale March 29.

* At Woodland Community College: “Backyard and Worm Composting” from 10 to 11 a.m. March 15, and a plant sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 5.

At Davis Central Park Garden: “Lawn Removal” from 9:30 to 10 a.m. March 22 and “Waterwise Irrigation for the Garden” from 11 a.m. to noon March 22.

Question: What recommendations can you give me for pruning fruit trees, especially with the unpredictable weather we are experiencing this winter?

Answer: First the exceptions: apricots and cherries, which are very prone to bacterial infections, are pruned in the summer or fall when the weather is dry. Citrus doesn’t need to be pruned except for attractiveness and to keep the size of the trees — to have fruit is in reach for harvest but not for enjoyment by rats. Sprouts from the graft union (suckers) should always be pruned; cut them under the soil if possible. They will suck energy from tree and produce undesirable fruit, if any.

Pruning increases the quality of the yield; it invigorates the plant; it removes undesirable branches that may be blocking air flow; and it removes dead and dying branches. The equipment needed are a good set of hand pruners (65 to 70 percent of pruning is done with these) and perhaps a pair of loppers as well as a pruning hand saw for those large, cumbersome branches.

Winter is such a good time to prune because it is easier to see the silhouette of the tree/shrub and where branches are crisscrossing and rubbing. Prune out dead branches, cutting back to a healthy spot on the branch. Look for the “collar” at the base of the branch. Avoid cutting into this to prevent wounding the branch you are keeping. The branches should come off the main trunk close to or at a 45 degree angle. This holds true for most trees and shrubs as well.

After you have worked on the structure of the fruit tree, head back by an overall amount of approximately 30 percent (no more) of the new growth that remains. Look for new growth — red or greenish bark — that would whip around on a windy day.

One last item to consider is frost. We can have a heavy frost or even hard freeze into late March. Resist removing frost damaged dead leaves and branches from that cold spell in until the weather is reliably warmer. Any frost or freeze that occurs between now and then will rest on those dead branches, protecting the new, tender growth that is starting to emerge.

Question: What do I need to do to make sure the mulch on my landscape and vegetable garden is doing its part to save water?

Answer: Beyond personal preference, a minimum layer of at least 2 inches deep should maintain soil moisture and discourage weeds. Mulch is available in various forms, ranging from coarse bark chunks to walk-on mulch, and even pebbles in some cases. In vegetable gardens, a thick layer of untreated grass clippings can be used to hold soil moisture around plants. Mulch decomposes over time and needs to be restored periodically to remain effective. If you notice weeds poking through the mulch, you probably need to add more.

Keep in mind that the soil under the mulch is an ecosystem, inhabited by earthworms and other smaller organisms that gradually work in mulch. You may also have larger organisms such as birds, squirrels, and chickens that will have their own uses for your mulch.

— Send questions, addressed to the “Garden Doctor,” by email to mgyolo@ucdavis.edu, voice mail to 530-666-8737 or regular mail to UCCE Master Gardeners, 70 Cottonwood St., Woodland, CA 95695. Be sure to include your contact information because any questions not answered in the Garden Doctor column will be answered with a phone call or email to you. You can request the Yolo Gardener newsletter delivered by email and learn more about the Master Gardener program in Yolo County at http://ucanr.edu/sites/YCMG.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

 
Yolo grows sunflower seeds for the world

By Margaret Burns | From Page: A1 | Gallery

True Blue Devil Arnold gave back starting in high school

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Play groups offered by Center for Families

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Give blood and get a free movie ticket

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Chat with Poppenga at coffee shop

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sunder campaign distributes signs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Farmworkers’ son wins prestigious NIH scholarship

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Interested in Portuguese? Drop by I-House

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Global warming on group’s agenda

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

A sweet reward for turning in cash

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

 
Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Try yoga, meditation at Holistic Health Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Troops get ‘Hugs From Home’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Raley’s pays $1.6 million to settle hazardous-waste lawsuit

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Back-to-school party benefits Archer campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Breast cancer program examines surgery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Crisis nursery bill on governor’s desk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

UCD West Village gets an electric Zipcar

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
 
Documentary reveals ‘The Village Under the Forest’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Little Rock hero featured at reunion

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
UCD ranks No. 16 for serving the public interest

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Wolk’s infrastructure bill clears state Senate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
.

Forum

Parents could use a hand at home

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Play structure idea endorsed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Thanks for firearms info

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Obama risks alienating Latinos

By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

A water plan for all of California

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

MRAP sends the wrong message

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Buschman, Cats mute the Sounds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
New coach eager to see his Aggie charges hit the courses

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Shaw respects Aggies, while is Gould happy to get a shot at Stanford

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils prep for tough 2014 volleyball schedule

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bumgarner deals as Giants blank Rockies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Carter’s blast send Astros past A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sports briefs: Online registration ends Friday for Labor Day Races

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

Field to fork: Play catch-up with summer’s produce

By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Franco M. Navazio, M.D.

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6