Class is back in session: Pruning School returns to OSU South Centers in March

By Bradford Sherman
CFAES/OSU South Centers

PIKETON — Lessons in proven pruning techniques to help maximize production and quality in your vineyards and fruit plantings will be taught as part of a special Pruning School workshop coming to The Ohio State University South Centers in March.

OSU South Centers is hosting a Blueberry, Bramble, and Wine Grape Pruning School workshop from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14. This daytime educational opportunity will feature Dr. Gary Gao, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at OSU South Centers, Research Assistant Ryan Slaughter, and Dr. Maria Smith, Research Associate with the Ohio State University Department of Horticulture Crop Science.

Gao has hosted pruning workshops at South Centers annually since 2012, and he says March is an ideal time to get started for most growers.

“Most of the cold days should be over, making March the best time to prune fruit crops,” he explained. “Fruit crops are typically pruned every single year in order to improve fruit quality, production efficiency, and make them easier to harvest. It also helps reduce the potential for disease and insect problems.”

The cost of the workshop is $25 per person and includes a lunch. You will need to preregister by Friday, March 8 by calling Program Assistant Bradford Sherman at 740-289-2071 ext. 115 or by emailing your registration information to sherman.1473@osu.edu.

Topics covered will include:

  • Project update of brambles, hardy figs, and hardy kiwis research
  • Blueberry rootstock and grafted blueberry tree project update
  • Grafting of fruit plants
  • Pruning demonstrations of grapevine, blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry
  • Field tour and more

Morning activities will take place indoors, then following lunch, attendees will take a wagon ride for field pruning demonstrations on grapevines, blueberries, and blackberries/elderberries. The workshop will be held rain or shine, although the agenda is subject to change depending on weather.

Techniques on display during this workshop will not only serve as an excellent starting point for beginners, but will also benefit experienced pruners, as you can never acquire enough knowledge and practice when it comes to pruning, according to Gao.

“Pruning is more of an art – it is not like you can pick up a book, or watch a few videos, and then you learn it and have it down pat,” he said. “It really takes many hands-on trainings and practice in order to get good at it. Learning how to prune is like learning how to swim … you learn by doing.”

OSU South Centers is located at 1864 Shyville Road in Piketon. Attendees should enter the Research and Extension Building upon arrival.

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