fruit trees

Mason beeBy Kym Pokorny

For mason bees, the wait for their first meal is a long one, six months if it’s a day.

There’s no TV, no smart phone, not even a book to while away the time as these solitary bees hang out in their tight cocoons waiting for the cool temperatures of early spring to break them out of lethargy, to convene at the floral banquet waiting for them among the branches of fruit trees.

And because honeybees and other pollinators haven’t made an appearance yet, there’s more sweetness for the native mason bees.

Bug tentBy Kym Pokorny
People tend to have a love-hate relationship with their fruit trees. The fruit they love; the work they hate.
Especially the regimen of spraying turns off home gardeners, said Steve Renquist, horticulturist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service. But times have changed. Research has resulted in easier methods of dealing with pests and diseases, from resistant trees to low-toxicity products. For years, Renquist and the rest of OSU’s Extension horticulturists have been advocating for integrated pest management or IPM, an approach using the most effective, least-toxic methods first.
“You don’t need to coach people nearly as vigorously as in the past,” Renquist said.

Apple treeBy Kym Pokorny
Anyone who buys or inherits a fruit tree faces the intimidating crossroads of how, when and if they should prune.
“It’s one of the most difficult things for people to understand,” said Ross Penhallegon, horticulturist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service. “Ultimately, they make a few cuts and think, ‘Oh, I’m going to hurt the tree’ and run back into the house to watch TV.”

PearsBy Kym Pokorny
Face next season’s fruit tree disease and pest problems by making a preventative strategy now.
Since late winter is a good time to plant bareroot trees, the first line of defense is to choose a resistant variety. Otherwise, look to sanitation and low-toxicity sprays such as dormant oil and copper to keep trees healthy.

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.