January is the prime time to prune your fruit trees. It helps them stay healthy and encourages the best fruit possible.
To register and get directions, go to cemariposa.ucdavis.edu/Master_Gardener, or call (209) 966-2417. Wear warm clothing and be prepared in case of rain.
There are several reasons for pruning the trees while they're dormant:
*Control size for easier care and easier picking
*Increase strength of limbs
*Control amount of fruit
*Bring more sunlight into the whole tree
*Renew the fruiting wood
*Remove dead, broken or crossing branches.
At the workshops, you'll learn about types of cuts, the best kind of pruners to use, and eliminating whole limbs to open the tree up.
Here are some reasons for good pruning from the University of California web site homeorchard.ucdavis.edu: (select "Pruning and Training"):
*Prune young trees fairly heavily to encourage good growth without fruit for the first three years.
*The horizontal branches bear more fruit, so keeping them cut back means better fruit on stronger branches.
*New growth occurs when you make a cut; the more buds you cut off, the more vigorous the fruit will be.
*Make clean cuts within a quarter-inch of a bud; don't leave stubs.
*For peaches and nectarines, remove 50 percent of last year's growth; for figs, apples, pears, plums and apricots, 20 percent; for cherries, do summer pruning in the first five years.