It’s that magical time of year when strong sunshine permeates the chilly air and spring promises to win over winter. Many of you will be inspired by the warmer days to take to your yards and start sprucing things up, and this is the perfect time to prune your fruit trees. The buds haven’t yet begun to open, the nights are getting warm enough where you don’t have to worry about frost cracking.
The basics of pruning are simple – take off the dead wood, open the canopy to allow air and sunlight to reach into the middle, and keep the tree at a height easy to harvest. But pruning isn’t all technical, it’s also an art form and trees are living sculptures we can shape and reshape year after year. Worcester Tree Initiative spends several days each spring visiting urban groves of fruit trees that we have planted and passing on these skills to the people who are tending the trees throughout the year.
We also offer a public fruit tree pruning workshop, so if you want some guidance about caring for fruit trees before you break out your own saw and pruning shears you should register for this year’s class. This year, Joann Vieira, will lead the class at Worcester Academy on Tuesday, April 9, from 5:30-7 p.m. Joann is the former Director of Horticulture at Tower Hill Botanic Garden and she managed an orchard of nearly 200 heirloom apple trees for over 20 years while she was at the garden. Worcester Academy will make for an excellent training ground for participants; WTI has planted more than a dozen fruit trees on the campus over the past five years with students from the school and the oldest trees are getting quite robust.
Joann’s class will have something for everyone. Beginners will learn the basics but seasoned orchardists can also pick Joann’s brain about specific issues. Each time she teaches her depth of knowledge shines through. Register here.