Pruning School to be held at OSU South Centers in March

By Bradford Sherman
Ohio State University South Centers

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

The Fruit Pruning School workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12. This daytime educational opportunity will feature Dr. Gary Gao, Professor and Extension Specialist at OSU South Centers, and Research Assistant Ryan Slaughter.

Gao, who has hosted pruning workshops at South Centers annually since 2012, explained that March is an ideal time to start pruning for most growers and gardeners.

Dr. Gary Gao“Most of the cold days should be over, making March the best time to prune fruit crops,” he said. “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.

New this year is a discussion and demonstrations on apple and peach tree pruning.

 “A lot of growers and gardeners have apples and peaches, so we decided to expand the pruning school to include those common tree fruits as well,” added Gao.

The cost of the workshop is $25 per person and includes a lunch. You will need to preregister by Monday, March 9 by calling Bradford Sherman at 740-289-2071 ext. 115 or by emailing your registration information to sherman.1473@osu.edu.

Topics covered during this year’s pruning school will include:

  • Pruning and training apple trees
  • Pruning and training peach trees
  • Pruning blackberry bushes
  • Pruning mature blueberry bushes
  • Training hardy kiwi vines
  • Dormant pruning of hardy figs
  • Demonstration of rotatable cross-arm trellis
  • Pruning mature grape vines
  • Pruning demonstrations, field tour, and more

 Morning activities will include apple and peach tree training and pruning demonstrations indoors, then following lunch, attendees will take a wagon ride for field pruning demonstrations on grapevines, hardy figs and hardy kiwis 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.”

First 50 people registered will receive free elderberry cuttings, and everyone who attends will be given a certificate of completion and be entered into a drawing for prizes to be given away at the conclusion of the event.

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