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GARDEN JOBS

Flowering Fruit Trees

January 25, 1987|GEORGE HARMON SCOTT and BILL SIDNAM

Flowering peach, nectarine and apricot trees are grown for their springtime blossoms, not for fruit. 'Alma Stultz,' for example, is a flowering nectarine, sterile but with large, pink, showy flowers. Prune flowering fruit trees after they bloom, not now. However, do cut back fruit-bearing trees this month or next. Make clean cuts that are flush with the trunk; stubs may rot and provide access for insects and diseases.

Prune roses before new growth starts. Not all types of roses should be trimmed in the same way, however. For climbing roses, the long canes should be tied down in horizontal positions and the rest of the branches eliminated; this is unlike what is necessary for hybrid teas. Floribundas and tree roses should be pruned in a ball shape; this ensures the most bloom though not the largest flowers. Unless you have had experience with roses, a pruning manual should be consulted.

Save rainwater, and use it to leach out salts that have accumulated in the soil of house plants that have been watered with tap water. Let it run through the pots several times; then, because this process removes nutrients, you should fertilize. The foliage will be cleaned, also, if you put the plants outdoors in the rain and let nature do it in its own way.

Dormant oil sprays, applied now, are effective in killing insects wintering in non-deciduous fruit trees. When applying the spray, it's essential that every nook and cranny of the tree be covered; to work, all insects and their eggs must be smothered.

Avocado trees thrive in the milder Southern California climatic zones. In areas that get little frost, the avocado makes a marvelous shade tree. A number of avocado varieties are available in local nurseries; however, two stand out: 'Hass' and 'Fuerte.' 'Hass' produces fruit from April through October, and 'Fuerte' bears from October through May. If you plant both varieties, you'll have a year-round supply of avocados.

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