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Danelle Cutting: Pruning program a sucess

Apple tree

Cooperative Extension Dr. Mike Parker prunes a very mature, tall apple tree.

Cooperative Extension Dr. Mike Parker prunes a very mature, tall apple tree.

Cooperative Extension has been in full swing this week, and this is not even our busy season. We have already had two successful pruning demonstrations this year. Just recently, we finished our peach and fruit tree pruning and growing program.

We had 60 participants attend the pruning and growing fruit program. Many of these classes have been in partnership with other counties, and the programs were created because of client requests. Below are some of the program topics.

Training and pruning fruit trees is very important, and the preparation starts before you even plant the tree. You need to properly identify your site and then, test the soil. After receiving your soil test results, you need to make the proper amendments before you plant.

Since fruit trees live for many years, you want to make sure that the soil is right or you run the risk of losing your trees before you even harvest the first fruit.

After planting your tree, you will need to start training and pruning the trees. Peaches and apples are trained differently. Peaches are trained in the open vase system; apples are trained to the central leader style.

If you start your tree off right and prune every year, you can help increase the quality of fruit. If you have an overgrown mature tree, it is very hard to get the shape you need for optimum production. Fruit trees take time to prep, so it is not something you want to jump into head first without prior knowledge.

Another key piece of information is that you really need to know your varieties and what rootstocks they have. If the label does not mention the rootstock, you should stay clear from that plant.

It is also wise not to plant apple or peach seeds from your favorite fruits. Why, you ask? Well, many of the peaches and apples are hybrids, so you are never guaranteed to get the same fruit that you enjoy so much.

That is just a small portion of what we learned. If you have questions or ideas you would like to see in a program, call your local agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970, or email her at danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu

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