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Danelle Cutting: Pruning tips and a peach of a question

Pruning season is in full swing and almost every day, our office receives phone calls about how to properly prune plants. Spring is just around the corner and with that, more people want to get outdoors and take some educational classes to learn more about gardening. Below are some questions our office has received lately due to the warmer weather:

Q: How can I properly prune my trees? I read your articles frequently, and I do not want to commit “Crape Murder.” Please help!

A: This year, Cooperative Extension has teamed up with N.C. State, the City of Salisbury, and the N.C. Forest Service to host a pruning workshop on March 4 from 10 a.m. to noon at Horizons Unlimited (1636 Parkview Circle in Salisbury). This is a free pruning workshop, but registration is required. To register for this course, you can visit the website at http://go.ncsu.edu/rowantreeworkshop or call the office at 704-216-8970.

Q: I love Huffman Peaches but recently, I went by his orchard and all of the trees are missing. Are they closing Huffman Peaches?

A: I am sure this could be a depressing sight when driving by and seeing where there were once hundreds of trees now in large piles. Most people do not realize that peach trees are one of the shortest lived fruit trees; they usually peak production after 18 years. The trees at Huffman’s Peaches, closest to the sale barn, reached that age and were already starting to show their decline. So, the owner decided it was time to remove the peaches and clean that area. Luckily, Kevin Huffman planted another orchard just a little ways away, and it is now in full swing. To answer your question, Huffman Peaches is still in business! Hopefully we will have a mild winter and actually have peaches this year!

Q: Do you have any classes or conferences open to the public to learn more about agriculture?

A: Of course! Rowan County is actually partnering with Iredell County to host a conference and trade show on March 4 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held at the Iredell Cooperative Extension office (444 Bristol Drive in Statesville). The program is free to the public, and you can learn about rotational grazing, pollinators, cut flower production, and vegetable crop pest and disease management to name a few of the topics. Registration is required, and you can visit http://go.ncsu.edu/2017ncagritunity or call 704-873-0507.

Q: I have been hearing about a Farmer Appreciation Breakfast; what is that, and how can I attend?

A: This is an event that happens every year where many community organizations come together to celebrate Rowan County local farmers. This is a free event for local farmers, and we would like all Rowan County farmers to attend a free local breakfast. The event is being held March 16 at 7 a.m. at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, located at 11020 N.C. Hwy. 801 in Mt. Ulla. All farmers must register with the Cooperative Extension office to attend. Registration must be completed before March 10. To register, you can call the office at 704-216-8970, or visit this link: http://go.ncsu.edu/2017farmerappreciation.

Q: I read a lot about the age of farmers increasing and that there are not many who are willing to keep the farms in operation. Is there anything that Cooperative Extension is doing to help this situation?

A: Cooperative Extension works diligently to assist in this area. You may have heard about our N.C. Farm School program; we have this course across the state. If this is something that you are interested in, please look at our website (www.ncfarmschool.com). Another area that we are trying to assist growers with is estate planning. Cooperative Extension is hosting an Estate Planning Workshop on Mach 20 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension office (2727 Old Concord Rd. in Salisbury). The event is free, and dinner will be provided; registration is required. You can call the office at 704-216-8970 or visit http://go.ncsu.edu/estateplanningrowan to register. You must sign up before March 16. Dr. Guido van der Hoeven and Dr. Mark Megalos from N.C. State University will present on how to prepare your farm estate. Mr. Tom Haarmonn from Carolina Farm Credit will present on financial planning. They will all be available for estate planning questions.

Spring is quickly approaching and there are numerous activities happening around the county. Stay tuned for more garden activities that will be announced in the near future. If you have any horticulture or gardening questions, please contact your local Cooperative Extension agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970 or danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu

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