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The cold days of winter not only bring hope and dreams of what spring will bring, but there are also winter chores best accomplished in the later winter months. Gardening chores best performed this particular time of year include pruning. We prune our dormant shrubs and trees, and we prune our fruit producers to help induce a good crop for this coming year. Many still prune the way tradition has held for generations. If it works that is great, but that may not be the best recommended practices held today. Pruning incorrectly may actually negatively affect your plant in the long run.
There are several opportunities to attend classes on pruning that will be presented by North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. If pruning landscape or ornamental shrubs and trees aren’t your favorite, then I invite you to attend “Pruning Ornamentals 101.” This 2-hour presentation will be held Saturday, January 28, 10 a.m. –12 noon, at the O.P. Owens Agriculture Center, located at 455 Caton Road in Lumberton. The proper time of year and appropriate type of cut for various ornamental shrubs and trees will be discussed, as well as how to prune various shrubs and training trees.
Pruning muscadine vines is another area of interest. I have seen many different ways to prune a muscadine vine, and the current recommended practice is even different than what I was taught a decade ago. This class will address recommended cultural practices, proper trellising, and fertilizer requirements. We will also discuss some common muscadine diseases and pests with some information presented on variety selection. After the classroom presentation, we will head out to a local vineyard for some hands-on pruning practice. This class, “Muscadine Workshop,” will be held Saturday, February 4 from 10 a.m. – noon, also at O.P. Owens Agriculture Center, with additional time allowed for travel and hands-on pruning practice. If you are interested in trying some muscadines this coming year, this is the class for you!
Another commonly-grown fruit that Robeson growers and homeowners alike can benefit from pruning correctly is our wonderful blueberry. Proper pruning can increase fruit production and berry size, giving you a more bountiful crop. This program will be taught by our very own expert from NC State University, Dr. Bill Cline, Small Fruits Specialist. He will address best-recommended practices for practical culture and cover pruning extensively. This workshop will be in the blueberry fields belonging to Ms. Sandra McKellar, located at 2173 NC HWY 130 West in Rowland, NC. Bring your pruning tools to this class for hands-on practice.
To help with planning, please register in advance for each program you are interested in attending. If you are interested in any or all of these classes, please call our office to register. For more information, contact Mack Johnson, Extension Horticultural Agent, at 910-671-3276, by Email at Mack_Johnson@nscu.edu, or visit our website.