Educational Dinner Meeting
Please join us Tuesday, March 15, as we rejoin our WVU Extension Educational Dinner Meeting Series. Tom Basden, WVU Extension Nutrient Management Specialist, will be the speaker. His area of concentration is animal waste and nutrient management research and educational programs for West Virginia beef, dairy and poultry farmers. Tom also provides composting and soil fertility educational programs to master gardeners and small vegetable farmers throughout the State. RSVP to 304-799-4852, by Friday, March 11.
Community Garden Sign-up
Marlinton Community garden spots are available for summer 2022. Reserve your spot by calling 304-799-4852. First come, first served.
Pruning Fruit Trees
It’s time to start thinking about getting your fruit trees and grape vines ready for warmer weather. Most fruit bearing plants and trees should be pruned every year to ensure the highest quality and quantity of fruit during the summer months. The best time to prune is during late winter or early spring, just prior to the beginning of active growth. Pruning during the late dormant period is critical because most of the plant’s energy is stored in the trunk and roots. This means that pruning can be done without changing the energy reserves of the plant. Also, wounds to the plant caused by pruning will heal much faster when growth begins, and bark is less likely to tear when cuts are made during this time of year. Newly planted trees should have the top pruned off at the time of planting to a height of about 36 inches above the ground. This will force shoots to develop at the desired levels. Older fruit trees should be pruned with the idea of forming a desirable framework which maximizes fruit exposure to sunlight and makes harvesting easier. In general any dead, diseased, or damaged branches should be removed. Severely crowded and shaded branches and branches that have few fruit buds should be pruned. Remove branches that bend to the ground and prune out water sprouts, which grow at the junction of productive shoots or scaffold branches and the main branches of the tree. For trees that have been neglected, all branches hanging lower than four feet off the ground can safely be removed. Generally a maximum of one third of the total wood of an apple tree and up to one half of the wood of a peach tree can be pruned each year without damaging the health of the tree.
When pruning grapevines it is best to determine which stem is the strongest and strive to make this the trunk of the grapevine. Trim everything off the base of the stem that is between the ground and the horizontal support structure (arbor). After the first year’s growth has been established, prune back all but the two strongest vines off the top of the main stem. With mature plants, in late winter prune back all but about a dozen buds from the branches. These buds will form this season’s vines and be the source of fruit production. Be sure to leave some “renewal buds” each year. Trimming all these off may damage your harvest for next year.
For more information contact the WVU extension office at 304-799-4852 or stop by and see us in the basement of the Pocahontas County Courthouse.