Pruning workshops January 26 and February 2 take the guesswork out of fruit-tree care

New this year: Learn to prune as your kids study "Birds in the Garden" on February 2

If the annual ritual of pruning fruit trees fills you with dread, relieve your anxiety by attending a pruning workshop with fruit-tree expert Orin Martin, manager of the Alan Chadwick Garden at UC Santa Cruz.

Martin will offer a pruning workshop for pome fruit trees (apples and pears) on Saturday, January 26. The pruning of stone fruit trees (peaches and plums) will be the subject on Saturday, February 2. Both workshops will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in the Louise Cain Gatehouse at the UCSC Farm. Wear warm clothes; heavy rain cancels. The fee for each workshop, which is payable the day of the event, is $10; $5 for members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden. No preregistration needed. For more information, call (831) 459-3240.

Proper pruning maximizes the productivity of fruit trees, enhances their beauty, and increases disease resistance. Martin will present the basic principles of pruning and will offer demonstrations if weather permits.

Also on Saturday, February 2, a new two-hour class for children ages 7-11 will focus on "Birds in the Garden." Youngsters will watch and learn about birds and will build simple bird feeders in this special class offered in the new Life Lab Garden Classroom at the UCSC Farm. The class will take place 10 a.m. to noon, and the fee is $5 per child. For more information, call (831) 459-2001.

The Louise Cain Gatehouse and the Life Lab Garden Classroom are located 1/4 mile up the gravel road above the Blacksmith Shop; free public parking is available across the street from the Blacksmith Shop in the Physical Plant parking lot.

Public workshops are sponsored by the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden, which supports the activities of the UCSC Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems and promotes organic gardening and farming.