Although we’re deep into winter and summer fruit may not be at the forefront of our minds, January and February are the ideal months to tend to the fruit trees in your yard as well as the best time to plant a few new varieties.Timely trimming makes your trees stronger and more disease resistant, and it stimulates new growth for the harvest in spring.

Dwarf trees that grow between 8 and 10 feet tall are perfect for the backyard, and keeping all varieties small and manageable through effective pruning gives you the convenience of harvesting fruit within arms-reach, without having to climb ladders! Netting shorter trees to thwart our hungry bird friends is easier, and some of us even prefer the look of more compact, well-shaped trees. 

For an informative workshop on the basics of fruit tree care, including when and how to prune, graft, maximize disease resistance, and more, check out the “Bounty From Your Garden: Fruit Trees 101” workshop at Rodgers Ranch on January 18, 10am – 12pm. For more information and to register, go HERE 

Once spring rolls around, plucking tree-ripened fruit you’ve grown yourself is not only more delicious but more healthy, especially if you know pesticides haven’t been used. Walking a few paces out the door to claim those luscious plums substantially reduces your carbon footprint, too. If you are ready to add some new fruit trees to your landscape, now is the time to take advantage of hardy root stock plants available at your local garden center.

For a guide on pruning fruit trees and preventing pests from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, visit HERE. For a guide that shows you which varieties of fruit trees grow best in which zones in Contra Costa County, visit this link from the UC Master Gardener Program HERE

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