• Saint Croix Island in middle of river

    Saint Croix Island

    International Historic Site Maine

Saint Croix Island Staff Plan "Pruning for Preservation" Workshop

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Date: April 6, 2009
Contact: Meg Scheid, 207-454-3871

On Saturday, April 18, at 10:00 a.m., Saint Croix Island International Historic Site in Calais, Maine, will host its second annual apple tree pruning workshop in partnership with University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension. A rain date is scheduled for April 25. The focus of the workshop is pruning fruit trees for preservation, with a special emphasis on how to safely deal with tree branches growing near power lines. Meg Scheid, U.S. National Park Service ranger at the site, said that about two dozen apple trees need pruning and on-going care, but not the typical pruning and care for fruit production.

"Because we are more interested in preserving these apple trees than increasing their fruit yield, we looked for an expert to help us learn the ropes. Renea Moran, fruit tree specialist from Highmoor Farm at the University of Maine's apple, small fruit, and vegetable research facility in Monmouth, has agreed to return for a second year."

The public is invited to participate in the hands-on workshop, which will take place in the orchard located at the international historic site. Ms. Moran will begin with a pruning talk, followed by pruning demonstrations, during which participants can observe and ask questions. Once she completes the pruning of a few trees, participants will break into small groups and try out their new pruning skills. Ms. Moran will coach the small groups as they work their way through the orchard. This year’s workshop will also address the safest way to deal with fruit trees growing into and around power lines.

"Any adult can participate in the hands-on pruning once they’ve completed Ms. Moran’s training. It is a lot of fun for everyone," Scheid said. "This year, thanks to a National Park Service volunteer grant, we are able to provide a limited number of pruning tools for everyone to share. In addition to hauling branches, volunteers can look forward to using pole saws, loppers and hand pruners, and wearing appropriate safety gear. Last year, 18 volunteers safely pruned ten trees. This year, the goal is to safely complete the careful pruning of as many trees as possible, so all hardy volunteers would be welcome."

Registration begins at 10 a.m. Eastern time, in the parking area at Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. All participants will be signed up as National Park Service volunteers. The workshop will begin at 10:30 a.m. and is expected to continue through mid-afternoon. Participants should bring drinking water, pack a lunch, and dress warmly—layers are practical. A warm building is available for the lunch break.

The international historic site is located on U.S. 1, eight miles south of Calais, Maine. Questions can be directed to Meg Scheid at 454-3871.

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