Joel In The Garden

'The trees are asleep and it's a great time to get them planted'

'The trees are asleep and it's a great time to get them planted' »Play Video
Now is a good time to plant and prune

Watch Joel in the Garden on KMTR NewsSource16 at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursdays

EUGENE, Ore. - If you're hoping to grow your own fresh fruit, now is a good time to think about planting.

Advice is easy to find for both planting and trimming fruit trees. Amateur orchard growers have their pick of fresh inventory. New shipments of young bare root trees are in stock at several places in Eugene and Springfield.

“The ground may be cold, but the trees are asleep and it's a great time to get them planted so when the weather starts warming up, they can start growing,” Jerry’s Home Improvement manager Jeff Choate said.

Choate says even though these trees won't be producing this year, they can use the time until summer to grow their root systems.

“It doesn't really take a big spot in the yard like some people might think it sued to, because they have what they call dwarving root stocks, which are pretty much the norm now,” Choate said.

If you have a smaller yard, you can plant what's called a combination tree. That can include as many as three or even four different varieties of apples, pears or cherries grafted onto one tree. The disadvantage is, they're a little more difficult to prune.

“The height of a branch on a tree never changes,” Choate said. “A tree grows out in diameter.”

“By pruning, it brings on new wood. And the new wood is where most of the new fruit is produced,” Ross Penhallegon from the Lane County Extension Service said.

The extension service is currently offering several classes showing people proper pruning techniques for both bushes and fruit trees.

“Once that cut is made, it's actually going to re-grow,” Penhallegon said. “So in essence, you can't make a mistake. It may take 10 years to grow back. But in many cases, just because you prune it, it stimulates growth, so it will grow back.”

Pruning can improve air circulation and reduce the chance of disease. You can also encourage new growth by cutting back dead cane raspberries or blackberries.

The next pruning class will be held on Saturday, February 15th at the Grassroots Garden on Coburg Road in Eugene. The class begins at 10 a.m.