The Barren and Metcalfe County Extension services joined forces Monday to help locals learn how to grow their own fruit trees. A two-part program brought in Dr. John Strang, University of Kentucky fruit and vegetable specialist, to teach the basics of fruit tree planting, fertilizing and pruning.
The program began in Metcalfe County at 10 a.m. with an introduction lesson and a visit to Valley View Orchard. About 45 people attended that portion of the program, Barren County horticulture extension agent Kristin Goodin said. In the afternoon, Strang continued his lesson in Barren County with a two-hour class detailing the process of home growing fruit trees. A total of 71 people attended the class, filling the rows and lining the walls of the extension office’s auditorium.
The extensive crowd was a pleasant surprise, Goodin said. The idea for the program came about because so many community members had questions about growing their own fruit trees, but Goodin said she did not expect quite so many people to come.
Strang’s lesson in growing fruit trees at home covered everything from choosing a site to plant to calculating pesticide and fertilizer amounts.
After choosing a site with the proper elevation, slope and soil, Strang said one of the first challenges a home fruit tree grower will face is the variety of deer, squirrels, birds and other animals that will want to eat the tree.
“In the backyard, pests are a problem,” Strang said.
Other challenges to growing fruit trees are all the diseases and insects that can spoil fruit and damage or kill a tree. Due to the prevalence of those issues, Strang said a home grower has no choice but to spray pesticides on fruit trees regularly.
For the full story, see the print or e-edition of Thursday's Glasgow Daily Times.