Fruit Tree Training and Pruning Workshop Workshops scheduled for April 13 and April 14, 2018 have been canceled due to low enrollment. I am leaving information as a space holder to share the content of what will be covered if we are able to have a 2019 pruning workshop.
After covering general principles of pruning (for example, identification of the branch collar, type of cuts, response of tree to different types of cuts, tree structure options, training techniques, etc.), training and pruning practices for each stage of a fruit tree’s development will be covered. The sequence of pruning interventions in the first few years lead to a tree that can more easily be maintained and harvested in its productive years (vs. needing to correct limb structure after the tree is already in production). The workshop will cover the quite distinctive pruning principles used with apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries, taking into consideration the typical growth patterns of the different varieties, differences in location and characteristics of fruit buds, structure options, etc. Along the way, our instructor, Bob Purvis, will also be commenting on the effects of rootstock and variety combinations that influence tree vigor and fruiting patterns relevant to training and pruning interventions. The use of various fruit tree training strategies (spacers, twine, clothespins, etc.) will be covered. Cost of the workshop is $25.
Special note - among the demonstrations are special consideration to: - pruning large, mature peaches/nectarines/apricots to control their height and width ("You want me to keep cutting until 50% of last years growth is lying on the ground?") - correcting "aspect ratio" problems encountered in the early development of central leader trees - managing the top of a central leader tree (how to contain the height without getting the "witch's broom" from a heading cut)
Instructor for Workshop Bob Purvis earned his masters degree in horticulture from Washington State University and owns a nursery and orchard in southern Idaho. In addition to a career with the US Department of Agriculture, he has extensive experience in establishing and maintaining multi-variety orchards (some in difficult climates) and has taught pruning and grafting skills in each of the locations where he has established orchards. In the course of his orchard management work, Bob has set successful grafts numbering in the thousands (somewhere near 15,000 to be more precise). Bob has a keen interest in finding and evaluating cold-hardy apricots and other fruit varieties for cooler climates like those found in USDA Zones 2-5. He is a regular contributor to the North American Fruit Explorers’ publication, Pomona.
To Register: - class has been canceled due to low enrollment. Since enrollment is limited to 15 people so that everyone can get a good view of the techniques demonstrated, it is important to enroll right away. Please contact Mike Chase at mikeinspangle@gmail or (509) 723-4990 to verify that there is still an opening in the workshop. Then mail a check made out to "Purvis Orchard and Nursery" for the $30 registration fee to Mike Chase, 3717 E. Keevy Road, Spangle, WA 99031.
Preparation for the workshop
I have put together from a variety of sources (Bob Pervis' notes, ag school pamphlets, You Tube presentations, and workshops on pruning I have attended) 4 summary sheets that provide quick access to the topic of pruning. After you have worked your way through these you will have a pretty good overview of the issues and challenges of pruning. This will prepare to go into more detail in the PDF's from various ag colleges that are listed below these summaries.
"Just Cut It vs. Thought" distinguishes between the easy cuts (of course, take out the broken and dead branches) and the ones that require multiple variable thinking (e.g., What is the downside of making this corrective cut?)
For your convenience I have several PDF's of pamphlets from ag schools and other experts listed below (click on the dark green text for each entry). The way to approach this reading is to look for good diagrams and illustrations of tree structures, types of cuts, etc., and read the text associated with those graphic depictions.
"Fruit Trees: Training and Pruning Deciduous Trees" by the Putnams is actually a power point presentation (not an article). As a power point they were able to use great photographs and enough corresponding text to make it very useful for seeing and understanding major pruning and training principles.
I like the excellent pictures in the Fleming's Nurseries article (click here) on pruning because of the excellent photographs of the finished product (it also includes non fruit trees -- you can skip that part).
Although the workshop doesn't explore renovating old fruit trees there are some resources of interest to those facing this task. Check out "Renovating Old Apple Trees" and the Fedco discussion of this topic. Also check out my summary of the principles of renovating old fruit trees - Mike's Summary.
Workshop Location: The farm of the hosts, Mike and Linda Chase, has about 150 fruit trees (apple, pear, plum apricot, peach, and cherry) in various stages of development, making it an excellent setting for conducting a pruning workshop. There are also some examples of chip bud grafting and T-budding done in 2015 and 2016 among these fruit trees. The address is 3717 E. Keevy Road, Spangle, WA.
Another Workshop on the same day . . .
Some of you may also be interested in the duplicate Grafting Workshops in the afternoon on April 13th and April 14th from 1 pm to 6 pm. (also canceled)
Grafting Workshop Description This workshop provides a hands-on experience in preparing, placing, and securing two major kinds of grafts, the whip and tongue graft and the chip bud graft on apple, pear, and stone fruit root stock. Participants will gain valuable practice in the alignment of cambium layers of the scion and the understock and of ensuring proper coverage of exposed grafting wounds, both of which are crucial to grafting success. The workshop also provides a conceptual understanding of the callusing process and the critical elements of after-care of grafted material. Cost of the workshop is $70 (includes rootstock, scions, and supplies). Check out the details under the "Grafting Workshop" menu choice on this website.
I usually try to let everyone know of all of the pruning classes going on in our area each spring. There is one taking place on March 10th from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm at Resurrection Orchard , 15319 E. 8th Avenue in the Spokane Valley. To register go to this web site: