If you’re feeling overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by the yield of your fruit trees, LUSH Valley’s Prune-Along program can help.
“Our trees would not be in the wonderful shape they are now if not for the Prune-Along program,” says homeowner Mary Bogue. “We are so happy to share our lovely pears with neighbours and friends, as well as LUSH’s gleaning program. We look forward to seeing their volunteer crew come to pick our fruit every year.”
Prune-Along pairs tree experts with participating tree stewards to pass on the fundamentals of fruit tree care and pruning. Each Prune-Along session takes place in the homeowner’s yard and is tailored to meet their unique needs, to improve tree health and produce higher-quality fruit.
Prune-Along sessions are available weekly through April 7.
Each session focuses on the essentials of tree care: creating an ideal shape for ease and safety of harvest, optimizing sun penetration and airflow to improve fruit quality, and pruning to promote good health and vigour.
“I look forward to having the Prune-Along program session every year because I always learn something new,” says tree steward Jen Mac. “The consistency of the informative team assists in monitoring and promoting both the health and growth of my fruit trees, shrubs and vines.
“These folks are highly knowledgeable and friendly; it’s always a pleasure to venture out in the yard and swap gardening stories, ideas and goals as we prune along together.”
When the trees yield abundant fruit in harvest season, LUSH Valley encourages tree stewards to join the ever-growing list of homeowners who allow their trees to be picked by the organization’s keen volunteers.
“2024 will be the fifth year that we have offered Prune-Along, and the 25th year of the Fruit Tree Program,” says Griffin Wright, food access co-ordinator. “These programs really complement one another, with regular pruning promoting higher-quality harvests, and well-maintained trees being so much safer and easier for our volunteers to pick. We see both of these efforts as ways to help keep our ‘community orchard’ resilient and abundant for years to come.”
Each two-hour Prune-Along session costs $180 and aims to leave homeowners equipped with the skills and knowledge required to care for their trees and yield abundant fruit for years to come. All equipment and ladders are supplied and transported by LUSH Valley.
For more information or to register, visit lushvalley.org/events