Sharpen your pruning skills

Staff writer
January 17, 2014 01:00 AM

Certified arborist Cheryl Topping will present two pruning workshops next weekend through the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society.

February is an ideal month for most pruning, so this is the time to sharpen your tools and skills.

Next weekend (Jan. 25 and 26), two pruning workshops will be offered by the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden, one at the Garden, and the second in a Roberts Creek orchard.

Next Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Sparling Pavilion, certified arborist Cheryl Topping will explain the basics of pruning shrubs and trees to improve their health and beauty. Admission is by donation: $10 suggested. Bring your questions, and dress for the weather -there will be time to go outdoors for demonstrations.

On Sunday at 1 p.m., Topping will discuss the specific needs of fruit trees and how to prune for improved fruit production, quality, and overall health of the tree. As this takes place in a private orchard, space is limited and registration is required to receive the address ($15 Botanical Garden members/$20 non-members). This workshop will be mostly outdoors, so be prepared with boots and warm rain gear.

Pruning is both art and science, but it's not magic. Every cut encourages the plant to grow in a certain direction, so knowing the growth habit makes it simpler to guide with pruning. Clean sharp tools are essential. While the basic ideas are simple, many people either hesitate to get started or hack away without understanding how the shrub or tree will react. Mal-pruned trees quickly become an eyesore or worse, so arm yourself with some knowledge and confidence.

With support from Sunshine Coast Credit Union, the Garden is open daily, with winter hours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gar-den members enjoy unlimited visits; for non-members a donation is requested for admission. By becoming a member, you'll receive updates and early notice of events, including hands-on workshops such as this, lectures, plant sales and much more. For more information, visit

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