California Rare Fruit Growers – Central Coast Chapter
January 2020 Newsletter
by Lori Bright
Meeting January 11, 2020
Tucker started our meeting off today.
- Thanks to Cal Poly and Dr. Lauren Garner for the use of their crop Science Building. Let’s all support Poly by buying at their fruit stand.
- The Fabulous February Meeting is our Scion Exchange on the 22nd. The Scion Exchange has been moved from the 3rd Saturday to the 4th Saturday of the month to ensure we get our rootstock in time for the event.
- The March Meeting will be on the 14th at the Master Gardeners’ Community Garden, the Seven Sisters Garden, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo, CA.
An additional note: DP is offering to give his personal wheelbarrow to anyone who is in need of one. If you would like more information about this wheelbarrow, please talk to DP at the next meeting. If you don't know who DP is, please ask anyone in charge. We can steer you his way.
Yearly Pruning Meeting
Today we are honored by Dean Harrell, instructor at Cuesta College, North County. Dean starts us off with a “Shameless Plug”
for his upcoming class. 😀 Dean will be covering Plant Propagation and Production, AGPS 243. He will cover everything around
the care of plants in a nursery. You will learn skills from how to graft fruit trees to growing vegetables for a community
plant sale! Dean also teaches Soil Science, Plant Science and Viticulture classes. If you are interested in participating
in his classes you can email him at Dean_Harrell@cuesta.edu.
Why do we prune? When we remove buds from the tree there are consequences such as:
- The tree will be smaller
- There will be less leaf area
- Possibly less fruitfulness
- The tree will be invigorated
Dean will discuss winter pruning and therefore wants us to avoid pruning Apricots, Cherries and Grapes
during the winter season. These plants are susceptible to diseases predominant in the wet Winter season.
Dean wants us to use the 3 D’s. Cut out Disease, Damaged and Dead wood first. Next keep an eye on Spatial
areas. Size up the tree based on Sun Exposure, Ultimate Height and Width desired. If you are doing
restorative pruning, don’t hurry it. You might take up to 3 years. When uncertain “Wing it, Learn and Repeat.”
Know the bearing habits of your tree. Nectarines and Peaches bear on 1-year old wood. You can remove 40 - 50 percent of the wood on those trees. Many fruit trees bear on spurs which are formed over a longer time period. Some, such as Cherry have mixed buds (the terminal bud has fruit and leaf potential). On these trees you will want to remove 20 – 30 percent of its wood. For more information on Fruit-Bearing habits of fruit trees you might want to see http://fruitandnuteducation.ucdavis.edu/generaltopics/Tree_Growth_Structure/Bearing_Habit/
When pruning your new tree, prune to accommodate its function. Are you short and want to harvest low, do you need the tree to accommodate a narrow area? Face your tree's graft to the North or North East. Avoid getting Sun Scald by using a thin paint mix made up of 50 percent latex paint to 50 percent water. Paint the graft union, the trunk and branches. Dean likes to use an organic nitrogen fertilizer, but if you want to use a conventional fertilizer just “go easy” on its application. Dean led us over to the CRFG Demo Orchard and continued educating us on pruning techniques. Thanks so much Dean, we learned oodles from you today!
The orchard looked amazing before we began pruning but when we left it looked even better. Thanks be to everybody that pruned their little hearts out. Dara and Manny are working hard to keep up the orchard and they are doing a great job. Having said that: when D & M propose “Orchard Days”, let’s pull together and further that pruning, weed-pulling and raking. Our Orchard looks lovely. Thanks again Dara and Manny!