Spring Cleaning and Community Efforts!

Thank-you to all of the volunteers who came out to help with the orchard pruning workshop and the volunteer work day on February 15th!

Check out some of the amazing work students, faculty, and parents accomplished:

The Earth Shed nearly sparkles after powerhouse parents cleared, sorted, and organized all of its contents

The Earth Shed nearly sparkles after powerhouse parents cleared, sorted, and organized all of its contents

A brand new bed was built to replace a failing one.  Students worked with Mr. Johnsen and Farmer Ben to construct this beauty. Check out our DIY cloches serving as mini greenhouses for new transplants

A brand new bed was built to replace a failing one. Students worked with Mr. Johnsen and Farmer Ben to construct this beauty.
Check out our DIY cloches serving as mini greenhouses for new transplants

An apple tree starting to bloom in the lower garden All 25 fruit trees were pruned as part of our workshop--lemons, limes apples, pears, and plums!

An apple tree starting to bloom in the lower garden
All 25 fruit trees were pruned as part of our workshop–lemons, limes apples, pears, and plums!

Please come out to our next volunteer work day in April! Date to be announced

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How to prune your young fruit trees in the dormant season?

Things to keep in mind as you prune:
-Leaves need sunshine in order to photosynthesize and provide energy to developing fruit.  Remove branches that block out other branches’ sunlight and develop a shape that encourages all of the leaves to receive sunshine.
-Use sharp tools to reduce injury to plant
-Always cut above a bud that is facing in the direction you would like the branch to grow

Step 1: Remove dead, decaying, or diseased branches
Step 2: Decide the shape you’d like your tree or continue with the shape that was already established
Open-center trees look like a candelabra and have the trunk topped in the middle, allowing 4 to 6 main branches to share dominance.
Modified central leaders have two whorls of branches: the bottom one with 4 to 6 branches all the way around the tree and a top whorl with 3 to 4 branches
Step 3: Select the strongest branches that you would like to keep.  Branches connected to the trunk at wider angles are better (somewhere between 45 and 90 degrees; 60 degrees would the Goldilocks number).  Remove small branches or limbs that compete with other branches.
Step 4: Head all of the branches you would like to keep.  This means cut the branch 50% or more to encourage more vegetative growth from that branch.  Remember to cut it just above a bud that is facing the direction you’d like your branch to grow.
Step 5: Remove fruit and flowers from trees under 3 years old.  It needs that energy to produce strong roots and canopy

*Since citrus trees are evergreen, they can be pruned any time of year and should be pruned throughout the year to reduce shock to the tree.  If you use organic fertilizer or compost, add to citrus trees in Spring, Summer, and Fall
Too confusing?! Come out to the Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop at AP Giannini next year!  Date TBA

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