A pruning workshop was held on May 4th at the Dechow Farm in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. About 30 people were given instruction by professionals from the Leelanau County Soil Conservation District in Lake Leelanau.
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes provided a grant to purchase pruning equipment that was used at the workshop and will be used by volunteers throughout the year to maintain orchards within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
The workshop focused on maintenance of neglected apple, apricot, and pear trees and how to bring them back into production, and maintain their health. The course included 1) how to identify and properly remove dead materials from abandoned trees 2) proper pruning of the canopy for optimum maintenance and fruit production, 3) maintaining tree health, 4) how to maintain ground cover under the tree, 5) watering and care of the tree, and 6) equipment safety.
After training, we all grabbed some tools and started pruning the apple trees in the Dechow Farm orchard to get some hands-on experience and specific guidance from our instructors. This marks the seventh year that a pruning workshop has been conducted at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Participants in the workshop can sign up to take care of one of the historic orchards in the park through the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Adopt-An-Orchard program.