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THE LATEST DIRT THE LATEST DIRT THE LATEST DIRT THE LATEST DIRT Winter Winter Winter Winter 2011 2011 2011 2011 THE NEWSLEER OF THE GREATER VICTORIA COMPOST EDUCATION CENTRE In backyards throughout Victoria, it is not uncommon to find aging fruit trees that have seen many seasons since their last visit from a pruning saw or secateurs. Some of these living relics are the historical remains of old home- steads and estates where they were once were a part of larger orchards and gardens, and are often heritage varie- ties that are unavailable on the market today. Others are younger trees that have simply been forgotten or aban- doned. Generally, an untended fruit tree will drop in fruit production over time and become an easy target for pests, disease, and wind damage. Unproductive and diseased trees over thirty years of age are sometimes worth removing entirely and replacing with a healthy sapling. For those who wish to hold on to their neglected trees, care and atten- tion can often coax them back into production. Winter is a great time to prune mature fruit trees, as it stimu- lates new growth. If discouraging growth is what you are after, summer is a better time to give your tree a haircut. The first course of action when renovating an old tree is to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased wood. Sterilizing your tools with rubbing alcohol or bleach in between each cut is essential to preventing the contamination of healthy trees or limbs, particu- larly if there are signs of disease. Branches should be removed cleanly right at the base using well-sharpened tools, as rough cuts and branch stubs are susceptible to pests and disease. Large branches requiring removal with a saw should be under- cut on the bottom side by about 1/4 of the branch diameter, before cutting through the top. This will prevent the bark from ripping along the trunk when gravity pulls the branch down as you cut through. Having a reference book handy on how to properly remove branches will help prevent damage to your tree. For larger limbs that require a chainsaw or power tools, it might be worth contacting an arborist to remove the branches for you. Once the dead and damaged wood is removed, bring your at- tention to the shape and symmetry of the tree. If the tree is leaning or lopsided, removing a few larger limbs on the heavier side can help bring the tree back to balance. After larger limbs have been removed, it is time to thin out crossing and over- crowded branches. Seek out any branches that cross or touch others, grow downwards, at awkward angles, towards the cen- tre of the tree, or beyond where your ladder can reach. The goal with many fruit trees is to encourage the horizontal growth of branches, creating an easy-to-pick tree with an open centre that has adequate airflow and light. In order to allow airflow and light, suckers and water sprouts – the unfruitful verti- cal whips that grow from larger branches or the base of the tree – must be thinned or removed entirely. Healthy, young vertical branches can sometimes be tied down and trained to grow horizontally, which helps reduce unneces- sary cutting. In the year or two following a heavy pruning, trees tend to produce more young shoots and sprouts, which will require thinning. For trees that have an abundance of unwanted limbs, staggering heavy pruning over sev- eral years can help prevent butchering the tree. Continued on pg. 4... Reviving your Neglected Fruit Trees By Kim Watt A - Suckers and water sprouts B - Stubs and broken limbs C - Downward growth D - Crossing or crowded branches E - Shaded interior branches F - Beyond ladder’s reach G - Narrow crotch H - Competing grasses H B

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Page 1: Compost Education Centre - The Latest Dirt Winter 2011 · 2015-10-02 · THE LATEST DIRT Winter 2011 THE NEWSLE ER OF THE GREATER VICTORIA COMPOST EDUCATION CENTRE In backyards throughout

THE LATEST DIRTTHE LATEST DIRTTHE LATEST DIRTTHE LATEST DIRT WinterWinterWinterWinter 2011201120112011

THE NEWSLE�ER OF THE GREATER VICTORIA COMPOST EDUCATION CENTRE

In backyards throughout Victoria, it is not uncommon to find aging fruit trees that have seen many seasons since their last visit from a pruning saw or secateurs. Some of these living relics are the historical remains of old home-steads and estates where they were once were a part of larger orchards and gardens, and are often heritage varie-ties that are unavailable on the market today. Others are younger trees that have simply been forgotten or aban-doned. Generally, an untended fruit tree will drop in fruit production over time and become an easy target for pests, disease, and wind damage. Unproductive and diseased trees over thirty years of age are sometimes worth removing entirely and replacing with a healthy sapling. For those who wish to hold on to their neglected trees, care and atten-tion can often coax them back into production.

Winter is a great time to prune mature fruit trees, as it stimu-lates new growth. If discouraging growth is what you are after, summer is a better time to give your tree a haircut. The first course of action when renovating an old tree is to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased wood. Sterilizing your tools with rubbing alcohol or bleach in between each cut is essential to preventing the contamination of healthy trees or limbs, particu-larly if there are signs of disease. Branches should be removed cleanly right at the base using well-sharpened tools, as rough cuts and branch stubs are susceptible to pests and disease. Large branches requiring removal with a saw should be under-cut on the bottom side by about 1/4 of the branch diameter, before cutting through the top. This will prevent the bark from ripping along the trunk when gravity pulls the branch down as you cut through. Having a reference book handy on how to properly remove branches will help prevent damage to your tree. For larger limbs that require a chainsaw or power tools, it might be worth contacting an arborist to remove the branches for you. Once the dead and damaged wood is removed, bring your at-tention to the shape and symmetry of the tree. If the tree is leaning or lopsided, removing a few larger limbs on the heavier side can help bring the tree back to balance. After larger limbs have been removed, it is time to thin out crossing and over-crowded branches. Seek out any branches that cross or touch others, grow downwards, at awkward angles, towards the cen-tre of the tree, or beyond where your ladder can reach. The goal with many fruit trees is to encourage the horizontal growth of branches, creating an easy-to-pick tree with an open centre

that has adequate airflow and light. In order to allow airflow and light, suckers and water sprouts – the unfruitful verti-cal whips that grow from larger branches or the base of the tree – must be thinned or removed entirely. Healthy, young vertical branches can sometimes be tied down and trained to grow horizontally, which helps reduce unneces-sary cutting. In the year or two following a heavy pruning, trees tend to produce more young shoots and sprouts, which will require thinning. For trees that have an abundance of unwanted limbs, staggering heavy pruning over sev-eral years can help prevent butchering the tree.

Continued on pg. 4...

Reviving your Neglected Fruit Trees By Kim Watt

A - Suckers and water sprouts

B - Stubs and broken limbs

C - Downward growth

D - Crossing or crowded

branches

E - Shaded interior branches

F - Beyond ladder’s reach

G - Narrow crotch

H - Competing grasses

H

B

Page 2: Compost Education Centre - The Latest Dirt Winter 2011 · 2015-10-02 · THE LATEST DIRT Winter 2011 THE NEWSLE ER OF THE GREATER VICTORIA COMPOST EDUCATION CENTRE In backyards throughout

Staff

Nadine Collison

Marika Smith

Nashira Birch

Kim Wa�

Contact us at

1216 North Park Street

(at Chambers)

Victoria BC V8T 1C9

Hours of Opera�on

Wed. to Sat. 10 am to 4 pm

Closed on statutory holidays,

long weekends,

and the month of December

Phone: 386-WORM(9676)

Fax: 386-9678

E-mail: [email protected]

Website: www.compost.bc.ca

Board of Directors

Janet Hockin

David Neate

Wendy Dunn

Bill McKechnie

Amanda Broad

Nik Hill

Marion Wylie

Contributors to this issue of

THE LATEST DIRT

Nadine Collison

Kim Wa�

Nashira Birch

Marika Smith

Newsle/er Forma0ng

Nadine Collison

We gratefully acknowledge the

core funding support that we re-

ceive from the CRD and the City of

Victoria. Addi7onal support is pro-

vided through the generosity of our

Compost Club Members and the

residents of Greater Victoria.

Pumpkin Smash 2011 Our 8th annual Pumpkin Smash was a great success! We collect-ed almost 16 tonnes of pumpkins from the 1,633 people who came to one of our four Thrifty Food lo-cations or to one of our two drop-off locations supplied by Ellice Re-cycle. We are thrilled that we managed to divert so many pump-kins from the landfill while teach-ing people about composting and telling them about what we do at our Centre. The 16 tonnes of pumpkins have now been mixed with equal amounts of leaves from the City and have been ground together and left to compost for the next year. Once aged, we will bag and sell the special Pumpkin Smash Compost to the public as a fund-raiser next fall! A BIG thank you to all the volunteers for all their hard work in the cold, wind, and rain!

Thank you to all our sponsors:Thank you to all our sponsors:Thank you to all our sponsors:Thank you to all our sponsors: Ellice Recycle, Thri�y Foods, CTV, Monday Magazine, Ellice Recycle, Thri�y Foods, CTV, Monday Magazine, Ellice Recycle, Thri�y Foods, CTV, Monday Magazine, Ellice Recycle, Thri�y Foods, CTV, Monday Magazine,

the CRD, and the City of Victoriathe CRD, and the City of Victoriathe CRD, and the City of Victoriathe CRD, and the City of Victoria

In September the Compost Educa-tion Centre was chosen to partici-pate in an exciting new program called Ready, Set, Solve (RSS) hosted by the Capital Regional Dis-trict Climate Action Program and goBEYOND Campus Climate Net-work. The program was designed as an applied learning challenge which focused on getting post-

secondary students to help solve small, but real, energy efficiency and cli-mate-related challenges that exist in the Capital Region during the fall 2011 academic. Our student team were given the challenge of undertaking a tri-ple bottom line cost analysis between backyard composting versus a house-hold kitchen scrap pick-up service in the CRD. We are pleased to announce that our student team came in 3rd place overall and produced some excellent work which will be used as a stepping off point for further research. Congrat-ulations and a whole-hearted thank you to Camosun College students Sara Keay, Cory Marshall, Ben Grieder and Julian Flanagan!

Ready, Set, SOLVE!

Page 3: Compost Education Centre - The Latest Dirt Winter 2011 · 2015-10-02 · THE LATEST DIRT Winter 2011 THE NEWSLE ER OF THE GREATER VICTORIA COMPOST EDUCATION CENTRE In backyards throughout

Volunteer Update

Kid’s Compost Corner

Spring and Summer Camps!Spring and Summer Camps!

• Grow f�d • Fun games • M�t Dr. Wri�les • Visit local farms

9:00am – 3:00pm Ages: 6 - 9

(250)386-WORM

Register Now!!

Spring Break:Spring Break: March 19March 19--23, 201223, 2012

Summer:Summer: July 16July 16--20, 201220, 2012

Register Now!!

Register Now!!

Register Now!!

Register Now!!

This fall we launched a brand new program for home learners called Garden Learners. The group of detec-tives and scientists from this winter’s “Winter Garden Mysteries” module of the program would like to share with you their song about what they found in the gar-den this winter:

In the garden we found…

Winter!

A sow bug

A caterpillar

Jack Frost and ice

Cabbages, lettuce babies, lemon balm, fennel and sage.

Compost, dirt, and leaves

Worms and spiders.

It was stinky, it was hot, it was MULCH!

Mint, raspberries, and pumpkins

Water and tea

A fig tree and a cherry tree

An apple tree...with yucky apples! YUCK!

Birds and music

Nasturtiums with water droplets.

In the GAARRDDEN!!

It’s hard to believe that 2011 is almost over and a whole year of outreach events, volunteer training, and garden work parties are behind us! Every year we reach more and more communities and individuals and introduce them to the wonderful world of composting, conservation, and local food pro-duction. In just 11 short months we have attended 40 community events and

shared our wonderful knowledge with over 12,000 CRD residents. Fun events attend-ed this year include Wild ARC Open House, Eat Here Now, PARK(ing) Day and the Saanich Fair. At the Centre, we’ve add-ed a rain garden, new raised beds, a major addition to our office, and revamped our worm bin system. We could not have accomplished all of these ventures and projects without the help of our enthusiastic volunteer team. We are looking forward to another busy and exciting year in 2012 and we hope you are too!

Jennifer and friend at the Eat Here Now Festival

Volunteer training at the CEC!

Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers and Board Members who

contributed their passion and energy to the Centre in 2011 ! ~Marika

Page 4: Compost Education Centre - The Latest Dirt Winter 2011 · 2015-10-02 · THE LATEST DIRT Winter 2011 THE NEWSLE ER OF THE GREATER VICTORIA COMPOST EDUCATION CENTRE In backyards throughout

Not all workshops are confirmed at this point - our 2012 Workshop Schedule will be available on our website at

www.compost.bc.ca in January. Registra7on will begin on January 11th, 2012

MUST PRE-REGISTER FOR WORKSHOPS BY CALLING 386-WORM OR EMAILING [email protected]

Upcoming EventsUpcoming EventsUpcoming EventsUpcoming Events

Giving

Goes

Green!

Giving to the

Compost Ed. Centre is easy! Save 7me and paper by

offering your dona7ons on-line through Canada

Helps.org. Simply surf over to www.canada

helps.org and type in “Compost”. Our name is on

the top of the search results. Or, visit our website

and click the Canada Helps link. And of course, do-

na7ons are s7ll happily accepted at our office.

THE LATEST DIRT is published quarterly. Unless

otherwise noted, ar7cles appearing in this news-

le�er may be reprinted only in other not-for-profit

publica7ons, with the credit given to the author

(when named) and THE LATEST DIRT.

Printed on-post consumer recycled paper.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS

Date Event Time Cost

Closed for December - Except for Holiday Sale

January 4 Centre Reopens - regular hours resume Wed - Sat 10am-4pm

January 28 Backyard Pruning 2pm - 4 pm $15 - Members refer to policy

February 4 Composting Basics 10am - 12pm FREE

February 4 Planning your Year Round Veggie

Garden 2pm - 4pm $15 - Members refer to policy

February 11 Planning your Year Round Veggie

Garden 2pm - 4pm $15 - Members refer to policy

February 25 Mason Bees Part 1 2pm - 4pm $15 - Members refer to policy

March 3 Composting Basics 10am - 12pm FREE

March 3 Mason Bees Part 1 2pm - 4pm $15 - Members refer to policy

March 17 Worm Composting Basics 10am - 12pm FREE

March 17 No Dig Veggie Gardening 2pm - 4pm $15 - Members refer to policy

March 24 Advanced Composting 10am - 12pm FREE

March 24 Spring Plant Propagation 2pm - 4pm $15 Member refer to policy

...Continued from Page 1 Pruning is a valuable step toward reviving an aged tree, but it is not the only one. Often neglected trees are malnourished because their roots are competing for water and nutrients with weeds or dense grass. Remove any competing weeds or vegetation from the area beneath your tree, being careful not to disturb the tree’s roots. Top dress this area with a layer of finished compost or well-aged manure and cover with a few inches of mulch, ensuring that you leave a few inches of space between the mulch and the tree’s trunk. Replenishing this layer of mulch each fall will provide a continuous supply of organic matter to your tree and help suppress competing grasses. Planting this area with perennials that have a shal-low, non-matting root system, such as comfrey, strawberries, daylilies, or oca, will allow the tree to receive adequate moisture and nutrients, while also insulating and protecting the tree’s roots. As with most gardening techniques, reading an article on what to do with your neglected fruit trees is not enough to give you the information or skills needed to guarantee success. If you are interested in learning more about pruning, register

for our Backyard Pruning workshop on January 28th. You can check out the pruning section of our reference library

or the Greater Victoria Public Library for print resources on how to revive and keep your fruit trees healthy. Consulting your local arborist is another valuable way to learn more about your trees and ensure that you are providing them with the proper maintenance.

K. Cook Pacific Paint Centre

G. Seabrook L. Foster

B. Pegg J. Stewart