As much of the garden lies dormant in fall and winter, deciduous fruit trees demand more care. The University of California Cooperative Extension's local office invites the public to its annual fruit tree pruning demonstrations on Dec. 12 and 13.

The demos will be held at noon each day at the orchard of the UCCE office, 1031 S. Mt. Vernon Ave.

Mohammad Yaghmour, of the University of California Cooperative Extension, will lead the demonstration on trees including apple, apricot, cherry and almond. Yaghmour will also show how to prune grapevines.

The beneficial climate of Kern County allows residential planting of many deciduous fruit tree species. Unlike shade trees, deciduous fruit trees should be pruned every year before bud swell for optimum growth and yield.

Pruning need not be complicated, but fruit trees are less forgiving than most shade tree species, and if pruned incorrectly the yield of fruit will be reduced or eliminated, and the life of the tree will be shortened.

Although pruning diagrams or photographs in books or on the Internet offer some guidance, but seeing pruning in three dimensions and being able to ask questions are advantages for those who attend one of the demonstrations.

To reach the UCCE office and orchard, take Highway 58 and exit at Mount Vernon, then proceed south for about three-quarters of a mile. Publications on pruning, fertilizer for fruit trees and fruit tree varieties for the valley portion of Kern County will be available. There is no charge for attendance, nor is preregistration required.

— John Karlik is an adviser with the UC Cooperative Extension in Bakersfield.

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