Class: Fabulous Fruit Trees

With a last name pronounced like “bloom,” you’d think I’d have a tender ability to make plants grow. Let’s just say that my gardening and landscaping skills may be better suited to planning, hardscaping, digging, and removing dead plants and shrubs.

I’m about to add pruning to that skills list because our old fruit trees are OUT OF CONTROL!

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We’ve hired outside help and done limited limb pruning ourselves, but these apple and cherry trees are begging for some dedicated attention. I mean, look at that mess.

That jumble of branches produced over 3000 apples of varying quality last year. Most of them fell to the ground and we spent time each day cleaning them up for compost. Some fell on our heads while we dined under the tree lights. Some were really tasty and justified the space that the trees consume in our back yard. A few bushels went to the food bank as part of Salt Lake City’s fruit gleaning program.

Consistent, clean, and contained are the tree goals for 2013. Lifelong Learning’s Fabulous Fruit Trees to the rescue. Co-sponsored with Red Butte Garden, the class offers a fabulous mix of classroom instruction about planting and care, combined with field trips with loppers to learn how to prune live dormant fruit trees.

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In order to get our apple trees back in shape, I’m learning to do the following:

  • thin out the spurs to 4″ separations
  • remove some zealous sprouts
  • cut back about 25% of the height
  • select growth we want to encourage
  • reestablish some dominant apical meristems

Hope I got that right. I may even plant some baby fruit trees. Wish me luck and drop by for some pie this fall (once I’ve taken a class about pie-making).

P.S. Anyone in SLC up for a fruit exchange?

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