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SoCal Gardening

Around the Yard

January 14, 1999|ROBERT SMAUS

Things to do this week:

Prune fruit trees. It's time to prune deciduous fruit trees. This is even more of an art than is pruning roses, and there are books on the subject. In general, apples and apricots need the least pruning, peaches and nectarines need quite a bit, and plums fall in between. The idea is to encourage new growth but not cut off actively producing "spurs"--short branches that bear most of the fruit. Proper pruning also lets light and air into the center of the tree; rids the tree of unsound, crossed or crowded branches; reduces the size of the tree if desired; and removes "waterspouts," those overly long branches that shoot upward.

Spray again, roses too. If you haven't already done so, spray leafless deciduous fruit trees with dormant oil and lime sulfur or other dormant-use fungicide. The next of three sprayings will be in February. Once roses are pruned and leafless, you can spray them with dormant oils and fungicides too, for a head start on spring's pest and disease problems.

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