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NMSU Grant County Extension office to hold fruit, nut, berry pruning workshop

As spring approaches, growers of fruit trees and berry bushes dream of getting their pruning tools out of the shed and preparing their orchards for the upcoming growing season.

Extension specialist Richard Heerema trims a young pecan tree in an orchard
NMSU Extension specialist Richard Heerema performs a bit of touch-up pruning on a young pecan tree at the university's Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center near Las Cruces. He will be the featured instructor at the March 12 Fruit Tree / Berry Pruning and Training Workshop in Santa Clara, east of Silver City. The event is sponsored by NMSU's Grant County Extension office. (NMSU photo by Jay A. Rodman)

Producers and backyard gardeners in southwestern New Mexico can learn the latest approaches to keeping things trimmed and trained at an upcoming workshop in Santa Clara sponsored by New Mexico State University's Grant County Extension office.

The Fruit Tree / Berry Pruning and Training Workshop will begin at 5 p.m. Monday, March 12, in a private backyard orchard in Santa Clara, nine miles east of Silver City.

The instructor will be NMSU Extension specialist Richard Heerema, who will cover pruning and training issues related to apples, peaches, apricots, almonds, cherries, blackberries and raspberries.

"We had a similar workshop two years ago in the same orchard, so we will actually be revisiting some of the same trees," Heerema said. "For example, we are working to prune one particular apple tree to a central leader system.

"We will also focus on at least one open-center / vase-type tree, which would be a stone-fruit tree, and we will talk about pruning issues related to trees of different ages," he said. "And, of course, the various different bramble varieties need individualized approaches."

The timing of the class should allow orchard owners to apply what they learn at the appropriate moment for this year's cycle.

The free class will be limited to 30 participants. Beverages will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to monitor weather forecasts and wear appropriate attire for outdoor evening conditions. Remember that daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 11.

For more information or to register, call the Grant County Extension Office at 575-388-1559. Online registration is available at http://grantextension.nmsu.edu/