- [Tammy] "I've yet to see a fruit tree "that was over-pruned," says this fruit specialist with UT Extension. Tammy Algood is amazed at the amount of pruning necessary for a tree to produce bigger, better fruit. Phillipe Chadwick learns the things we should be looking for on that first walk around the yard in spring and Annette Schrader tours a backyard that makes you wanna stay awhile. Join us. First, even if the limb has buds, it may still need to be clipped. Fruit trees are beautiful additions to the landscape, but you can't just plant them and leave them to their own devices. They have to be pruned. How, when and why that's done is what we're gonna talk about today. Dave. Oh my goodness. Was that fun? - Oh, it's a good time, yeah. - Dave Lockwood, Fruit Specialist with UT Extension and oh my goodness, I thought we were just giving this tree a little trim but you've given it a buzz cut. - Well, we're just getting started, actually. Yeah, when I prune a tree, I wanna make big cuts first. And so we look at dead or broken or diseased limbs and then we're trying to keep in mind that we need sunlight through all parts of the tree to get fruit bud formation. And we can keep a tree fruitful from the tips of the limbs back into the lower part of the limb if we get sunlight in there and you get fruit off of young wood, that is the wood that grew last year. - So you're, what you just cut out with the chainsaw were things that were blocking light. - Right - from healthier parts of the tree. - That's correct, yeah. - Okay, so it, can you be a little bit afraid about over-pruning or is the worst thing under-pruning? - Under-pruning is a lot more of an issue. And the only way you can over-prune is if you cut it down there. - Oh, got it. - But very few people over-prune a tree. Most of them are afraid of damaging the tree. And they're very, very conservative in the number of cuts they make and where they make the cuts. - Got it. So you've used the chainsaw to take care of the big things. - Right. - Now, you've got pruners that are gonna take care of the smaller things. - Right - And show me what the small things are. - One of the things that a peach tree is bad about is growing a lot of water sprouts and water sprouts are vigorous shoots that grow straight up in the air and they get so high that they're hard to reach, so that's a water sprout. This is a water sprout. This is a water sprout. And they'll fruit, but if our goal is to keep the tree low. - Right. - Obviously we can't leave those. And all of this weaker wood down here also has fruit buds on it. So we try to maintain as much low growth as possible and get rid of the tall stuff that we can't reach, that's also going to be shading the low growth. - And these water sprouts, even though they've got buds and things on them, it may seem hard to cut that because you think, oh, I'm getting rid of fruit, but this could actually maybe even break this limb. - It could very well break that limb. You know, one thing that we don't think about a lot is the fruit buds on this tree were formed last summer and in a healthy tree, if we don't have winter kill, if we don't have a late frost, you can set a full crop of fruit on about 10 percent of the fruit buds on a tree. And so as we prune, we're cutting off a lot of the crop but we're still gonna have more buds left on the tree than what we can tolerate. And so, as the crop develops a little bit later in the spring, we're gonna have to come back and pull some of the remaining fruits off to adjust the crop load on the tree to get the size we want and to avoid breaking the tree down with the weight of the crop. - So if you left these and all it's doing then is pulling the size from the fruit that you can actually reach. - Right. - So you would come back here with pruners and get rid of this, this, all these straight up things. - Yeah, we're gonna come in and like, we're gonna take that out. We're gonna take this upright one out. And then this, of course this big one back here. who's gonna come out. - Would this make a typical homeowner nervous to see you do this? - Yeah. - Do they think you're killing their tree? - A lot of times, yes. It makes them very nervous because they don't understand what we're trying to accomplish with the tree. And the fact that the tree has a lot more fruit buds on it now than what it should be allowed to keep. And so when we prune the tree, one of the things we're doing is thinning the crop to make it more manageable. Generally, it's not going to do the finished job but it certainly is gonna help. So that when growth starts in the spring, that first stage of fruit growth becomes a lot better and the potential size for the peach will be better than if we hadn't pruned. - Okay, so now that you've said this, Dave, now I'm starting to see like this right here behind you. - Right. - That, is that something that would come out? - That would be one of the first cuts that we'll make. And then out further out, we've got several upright shoots that will be coming out as well. - Got it, and so you just keep going until when? How do you know when to stop? - Well, for the most part, almost all of these water sprouts need to come off. And then once we've gotten those out of the way, then we can see what else is on the tree and make our further decisions as to what other pruning needs to be done. - Okay, so Dave, in essence, then, what you're doing is, you're the architect of this tree. - Right. - So you're changing and making this tree better. You're building a better tree. - Yeah, what we're doing is determining where the fruit will come, where the new growth will come for future years. Yes, we're trying to open the tree up for sunlight. The key to growing fruit is the sun. You know, we, if we don't get good sunlight penetration, we don't get fruit buds. We don't get color in the fruit or sugars. We also have more disease issues because after a rain or a fog, the fruit and foliage stays wet which is conducive to disease development. - Got it. - When a shoot or a limb grows below the horizontal, it loses its ability to have as good a fruit as it once had. So we cut off the lower part of the shoots to an upward and outward growing branch. Also, we're looking at sunlight penetration. So branches that come off the tree underneath the limbs like these small ones are going to be shaded and not have good fruit. So I get rid of all that undergrowth. And my vision for the limb is to make it a two-dimensional object. So it's got length, it's got width, but it really doesn't have any depth. We've cut off the undergrowth. - Right. - We've cut off the water sprouts on top. We have left some shoots that are smaller, but if this sets even two or three peaches, which it sure will it's going to pull over and by harvest it's down here. - Got it. - And so we're going to leave a lot of that type of fruit in here, who, of course, we've got a lot of fruit buds too, so I'm making a two-dimensional branch out of this entire structure. - Okay, so Dave, let's go. By what you just said then, then this needs to come off, right? - It does. It does come off right there. - Oh, okay. - Okay, so I can maintain the fruiting capability of this area. And then of course, any broken shoots that I see along the way or any dead ones I'm going to prune those out as well. - Okay, so already I'm seeing a whole different tree here and the increase in sunlight is just huge. Okay, so Dave, why wouldn't you cut this whole thing off? - Well, this goes out and upward toward you and it's out where it can get some sunlight. It's one of those questionable things. When we're pruning at this time of the year. Now we still got a time where frost and freezes can be an issue and further thin the crop. So I have a tendency when pruning at this stage of development, to leave more fruit wood and more fruit buds than I would if we were on after the chance of frost was pretty much over. That way. if we lose 50% or so of our buds, we stand a better chance of still having a good crop on this tree. - Okay, so that brings me to the question of when do you prune? - Yeah, to me, I tell people to wait as late in the winter months to prune as they can and still get it done. We need to prune every year. The ideal, the best results of pruning are accomplished with annual pruning. But the fine pruning, especially on something like a peach, where frost is a real threat to the tree the detailed pruning can actually be done after blossom. - [Tammy] Oh, okay. - And that's another thing that a lot of people don't understand, but by pruning now, making our major cuts, we've made it a lot easier to finish up the job after bloom. - Thank you for this. You've not only showed us what to do as far as taking care of the tree, but you've given us extra pleasure by showing us how we can have bigger, better fruits. So thank you so much for showing us how to prune this fruit tree. - Well, you're very welcome. - With the really Long, tough winter we've had, we're all excited to get outside and look at our plants and check them out and see if they're still doing well. A lot of them may look like they have burn or diseases. I'm here with David Cook from the UT Extension Office. And he's gonna explain a little bit about that. - Yes, we're here today, actually, to look at plants and try to understand why do they look the way they do? And sometimes, it's they're not very aesthetically pleasing to us. So I've pulled some examples, good examples out of my yard and extension agent's are no longer exempt from having plants that look unsightly. So I have that. Here, what I've got is an Azalea. This is good example Azalea and we see two different type leaves on there. So we see the new foliage. And if you notice it is fairly bright and green and it's uniform in leaf color. So we don't see the leaf spots on the new foliage. That's what is desirable. Now, the older leaves, they look kind of worn and ragged and it's because they've been outside. They're the older leaves, a little bit weaker. The waxy cuticle is worn off a little. It's a little winter injuries, some overwintering minor leaf spot diseases. This is typical. So in azalea or rhododendron generally looks this way at the onset of spring. If you have a plant and it's prone to a disease and you notice that, you document that. Say, you take a diary and a diary is good way to document what's in your yard and what is causing problems. So we might have to incorporate a fungicide spray at a certain time of year to suppress the disease. Now, the myth about fungicides, you know this is that they don't kill diseases. So if we don't kill diseases are we actually getting control? No, we're managing problems at a certain time of the year. So you want the azalea to look nice. We want other plants to look nice. So if we have to incorporate the fungicide we do it at a period of time when the disease is most prevalent. You know, it could be cultural. When we look at these examples here, these plants have seen better days. Now this was a large laurel at one time. And if you look at this, the shape of the roots. Now this obviously is not normal, but it is normal for a plant that has been grown in a container too long. So when we move a plant and we put it actually in a good site where it could grow but the roots have been growing in a tight ball because it takes the shape of the container, they're not gonna grow out. I tell people, roots are kind of lazy. They're gonna, once they grow in a circle, they're gonna grow in a circle. This is what you're seeing, as this large root has grown out, it's taken a downward turn for the shape of the container. When it hit the bottom of the container, look at this. This is flat, so this is a nice free-standing example of a rhododendron. So what could have prevented this? Pulling the roots out, teasing them out, maybe doing a little root pruning. Get the roots going out in a direction where they can grow well. The same thing happened with this too, this small tree. And I believe this actually might've been a small Holly tree. You can actually see what happens when the roots hit the inner wall of a container. There's a no resistance, so they start following. And what will happen is these will always grow in a circular fashion and you can see when the new growth, new root growth occurred here, it didn't try to grow out. It is gonna grow in a circular fashion. So believe it or not, this is the number one reason why woody type plants, trees and shrubs do decline and die in our landscapes. They get off to a poor start. This generally is the typical appearance of a holly this time of year. Well, what we're seeing is probably some overwintering leaf spot diseases which are kind of a minor importance right now. These leaves will shed. And so we don't recommend any type of spraying of this. The plant will correct itself of this. We do wanna watch to make sure that new foliage didn't take on the appearance of a disease. Or if it's in a site, when we know that holly's don't respond well to extremely wet soil. They're prone what's called root rot diseases. So if we put the right plant in the right place, a holly planted by a downspout never works out well. They're getting abundant water. The roots are getting way too much water and they can get diseases we call root rot diseases. So preventable, but once the disease is there, it's hard to correct root rot diseases on plants. Right here, this really blackened material, and you can really see it on this tree right here. This is a fungal disease, a pathogen called Hypoxylon Canker. And again, when I say canker, refer to a localized infection. So we had a localized infection here and had it here and on the backside. So two infections are very close together. This is a sign of stress on a tree. There's some internal decay and rot going on. There's probably been some serious wood-boring insect issues, maybe issues with the roots. So this is a secondary type pathogen that comes in and is doing what it's supposed to do in Mother Nature, start to cull this plant out and recycle the nutrients. = Sure. - And so when we see symptoms like this and the bark falls off, that's a good indicator you're not going to save this tree. Think about having it removed. And a good thing about trees and plants is we can buy new ones and replace them. So sometimes the indicator is not good, good news, but it's good news that you can always get another plant. And, you know, powdery mildew. There's a lot of different plants that can get powdery mildew. This just happens to be on an oak. And this is actually where you can actually see the disease. You know, when we look at leaf spots and tar spot on maple, we see symptoms generally. But when you can actually see a disease, we call it a sign. So we actually see fungal growth coming out of the leaf. And so when conditions favor powdery mildew growth, you may have say a oak tree in your yard. You may have a crepe myrtle in your yard. Maybe have some annuals zinnias. And so there's different plants that can get powdery mildew. Dogwood can get powdery mildew. When conditions favor the growth of all the different types of powdery mildew diseases, they can occur at one time but the dogwood powdery mildew is not gonna go over and infect lilac. It's not going to affect the zinnias. - Okay. - The powdery mildew on crepe myrtle is not gonna jump over to another plant. They're distinct diseases, but why do they occur at the same time? Same favorable conditions. - Same conditions. - Like you said, right plant, right place. That's the key right there. Healthy plant can somewhat take care of itself. - Yeah, and they're not gonna live forever. They go through a life cycle, too. - Yeah, nothing gets off this planet alive. - Yeah. - I'm sorry but we can buy new plants. - That's true. - Support the industry. - All right, well, I appreciate your time here. We've, I think we've learned a lot about plant diseases and what to look for, what not to do. - Yep. And as spring weather warms up, you know, it looks kind of gray. We're getting out of winter. When we look around, we can see life coming back into these trees. Things will look better. - Yeah. - I'll guarantee that. - That's exciting. - They'll look better. - Good, well, great. Thank you. - Thank you. - We all have those leaky hoses laying around in the garage or in the yard that we trip over. What are we going to do with them? Well, we all are aware of the fact that people will use the hoses to take and use supports for wires, for guidewires entries. But what else can you do with these silly things? Well, I've decided that when I'm carrying a bucket of water to and fro, it hurts my hand. So what I decided is you take your old hose and you cut it into a workable section and you kind of measure the handle of your bucket. And again, this would work on any kind of bucket, for that matter. And you want to cut the opening on the top part of the curve if your hose is curved like this so that when you put it on there, it doesn't slip off. So I'm just gonna kind of eyeball it, cut my hose. And then again, you want to cut the top part where it curves. Makes for good support. Won't pinch your hand. Good recycling. In lieu of me finishing all this, I'll show you this one that I've cut all the way. All you do is slip it on your bucket handle. You can see why you wanna do it on the curve upward so that when you grip it with your hand, it's not gonna separate on the bottom part. But that's it. It's fun. It's easy. It's quick to do. Way to recycle those hoses. Give it a try. - This is a beautiful morning to be talking to a very educated Gardner, Jay Strunk, in Franklin. He is a member of the Williamson County Master Gardeners Association. Even though this is just a small garden, you have interest points whether it's in evergreens or stonework. Educate us about why you wanted to sight this garden like this. Well, as you pointed out, we have a relatively small garden. One of the things that attracted us is the background of tall trees here. That's a natural wetland. So it can never be any disturbed in any way and formed a beautiful background, backdrop for our garden. We started out. We had never, although we lived in different parts of the country, we've never really had a stream or water effect. And that was one of the focal points that we wanted. So we had a backyard magicians come in and create a design for us for the stream. And then the tree planting and the shrub planting came after the stream was actually operative. - Any of these trees that you have here are specimens alone. - Right. - But when we combine them into this yard let's just begin over here in the corner, there's, you have a Japanese Maple that's Bonzai. Do you know the variety of that one? - That's a Kashima Chiba. That specimen there is about 12 years old. It's only been, we started this garden three years ago. So it's only been growing here for about three years growth, but it's a very mature, very expensive plant. And actually our landscaper refers to that as his favorite tree that he's ever had. - He's drawn to it, isn't he? - And he comes whenever he's in Franklin on business, he stops by just to see how it's doing. And he is good enough to keep it trimmed for us, too. - I'm interested in your pond area here. You have another new world evergreen. Tell us about that one. - That's a Forminax. It's, of course, a member of the fir family. And the thing that's unique about it is that as it grows, it changes form. It'll twist and turn around. - And then you have some juniper. Is that juniper? - Right. There's Juniper. There's several different kinds of herbs actually growing there. There's a Golden Creeping Jenny up there. The carnivorous plant is actually, its specialty is wasps and hornets and the wasps and hornets are attracted down in the tubes because of the smell. - Right. - And then the tube is lined with millions of little hair. - And closes up on them. - All in one angle. - Yeah. - Once they can crawl in, but they can't crawl back out. And then the plant actually consumes them. - You know, another thing I like is the depth that you put into the garden with the actual fence there but on the outer sides, how you've created a small garden. It just doesn't stop right there. - Well, we've done this in three stages. The original part here including the stream was done three years ago. So it's been in place three years. And then that went as far as the end of the stream, right there beyond the lily pads. And then, we knew once we had that finished, that we needed to go beyond the fence to create, you know, a natural look and flow because it just it looked like it was truncated too much, cut off by, artificially cut off by the fence. So you're absolutely right. That was two years ago we did that. And then we extended it down to the end of the yard last year. - You know, and I do floral designs for Federay Garden Cuts. but that's one of the things about doing a flower arrangement. Even though you'd think that someone's just gonna see it from the front, it's important to finish off the backside. - Absolutely. - Because there it gives a completion. - Right. - It just the wraparound effects of it. You've got another Japanese maple that's a nice variety over on the other side of the fence there. That is a variegated Japanese maple? - Yeah, yes, it's one of the few Japanese Maples that when the leaves come out in the spring is variegated. We don't show much variegation right now, in a similar manner to the Red Dragon here, which has brilliant red leaves in the spring. And as the summer goes along, they gradually fade to more of a deep green, deep red color, not as bright or vibrant as they are in the spring. - That has an interesting structure. What is that one? - That's a fir pendula and you can see the way it grows. You'll get a long spike of growth. And then you'll get small side branches every so often up that spike of growth. And then each one of them develops almost into its own skirt. So it'll probably get maybe another five or six feet taller, but it'll, as it grows up, it keeps adding, you know, another row or layer of skirt, if you will, if I can call it that. You know, and even though this is a small garden, I can see that wind at the curves here that you have the trees that you really can't see on their own to the other side of your garden. So you have that degree of suspense about what's on the other side. I think we sometimes overlook proper seating in our gardens, Jay. I like yours. Those are natural stones? - They are natural stones. In fact, we are, my wife and I like the natural look. And not only in form, but in colors as well. You can look around and you see everything here, the patio and the table and benches, situated throughout the garden are all very natural products and natural colors and look to it. - Jay, I know that you're not satisfying all your gardening needs right here in this small garden. You're involved in the community with the Master Gardeners and other things. - The Master Gardeners Association of Williamson County does a tremendous amount of volunteer work. And for example we are involved in maintaining the gardens, the vegetable gardens at Carnton Plantation. We're also involved at the Carter House. In fact, we started a new project with the Carter House this year. They're going to recreate the original orchard that was there with the Carter House. - I think that's the main focus of any of the Master Gardener Associations. It's giving back to the community. - Right, yeah. - It's not just those few hours that you're gonna learn to put into your garden here at home. - That's right. - It's what you can do. And most people don't have an idea about what really is put back into the community with your organization. - Yeah, we have roughly 250 members. - That's large. - That's a, now, like many organizations, some of those are more active than others but that's to be expected. But our requirements are for new folks who have completed the Master Gardeners class and program, they need to contribute 40 hours of volunteer work the first year to get certified. And then on an ongoing basis, it's 25 hours a year. So when you start multiplying that number of hours times several hundred people, it's a tremendous contribution that the organization makes to the community. - Well, I know that it's a lot of time and a lot of effort, and we thank you for allowing us to see how your gardening begins. And I know that our seasons are changing, but it's beautiful, I would say, here in your garden any time of year. - [Announcer] For inspiring garden tours, growing tips and garden projects, visit our website at volunteergardner.org or on YouTube at the Volunteer Gardner channel and like us on Facebook.
March 25, 2021
Season 29 | Episode 10
On this episode of Nashville Public Television's Volunteer Gardener, Tammy Algood sees how drastic the pruning should be on a peach tree so it will produce quality fruit. Phillipe Chadwick learns how to evaluate plants coming out of the winter to determine what may need attention. Annette Shrader tours a backyard with a great water feature and the landscape that accentuates it.