My Apricot and Plum trees suddenly stopped producing. The trees have been quite productive, however, they were a big disappointment last year. How do I correct things this year? Apricots and Plums produce fruit on the second year wood. If the trees are A. pruned too severely, the fruiting spurs are removed. This probably is the number one reason why deciduous fruit trees fail to set fruit. There are other reasons but they really don't apply to your trees. Generally, you should remove fifteen to twenty-five percent of the growth each year. The fruiting spurs are easy to detect. Those branches with buds clustered in a grouping of three or more are the fruiting buds. These stems are a darker color than the one-year old growth, which is a much lighter color and has a single bud. The good news is the trees productivity will return once the pruning technique changes. I have fifteen roses in raised containers that have sunk nearly a foot, so I need to add more soil. My thoughts are to prune the roses and then extract them from the boxes. I’m planning on keeping the bushes in water while adding fresh soil to the planters and then replanting them. Is this going to work? This is a very workable solution. With fifteen roses to prune, move and then replant, you can take your time and spread it out over several weekends instead of completing it in one. It is not necessary to keep the roses in water for days on end. You could remove the bushes from the planters with soil on their roots or bare root them. The roses with an intact root ball can be grouped together, moistened and then loosely covered with a tarp, protected from the afternoon sun. The plants can even be stacked on top of one another. This would also work with another ornamental plants in containers. Another option is to bare root these plants by washing the soil off the roots. They are then laid vertically on a flat surface, which could be on dirt or even concrete. Next cover the roots with moistened potting soil and a tarp. Again they can be stacked in a pile. If the bushes are under an overhang, the tarp isn’t necessary. A second option would be to group the bare root roses into several empty containers and temporarily fill them with soil. Roses can be transplanted anytime through February. Also, It’s not necessary to replenish every bit of soil. Roses can be stored in this fashion for four to six weeks. These options give you the flexibility to proceed at a leisurely pace and deal with any weather delays. Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet’s Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is www.dirtgardener.com and you can send questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or to 360 Civic Drive Ste. ‘D’, Pleasant Hill, Calif. 94523 and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Buzz.Bertolero j a n u a r y 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 25 Q. Q. A.
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