The Ottumwa Courier

January 31, 2014

Get help with home landscaping

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Have you ever wanted to have your own apple tree orchard? If not, have you ever just wanted to learn more about how to care for fruit trees?

For those who answered yes to either of those questions, the Iowa State University Extension is ready to help with a few great educational events.

The first, from noon to 1 p.m. Friday at the ISU Extension Office on Main Street in Ottumwa, is designed to teach guests how to properly grow and prune apple trees.

Patrick O’Malley, a field specialist with ISU Extension, will be giving a PowerPoint presentation about apple trees and how to care for them. It is designed as a lunch-and-learn event, and guests are asked to bring their own lunch.

The second workshop will be held at 4 p.m. March 12 at the education garden at Pioneer Ridge Nature Center. ISU Extension asks that people who are interested in attending preregister by March 7 by calling the Wapello County office at 641-682-5491.

O’Malley will again be on hand to teach about the trees, but this time it will be more hands-on. He will be going over techniques for growing and pruning, and he will be able to show firsthand how to handle the trees.

“He will be showing exactly what to do,” said Stacie Latham, horticulturist with ISU Extension.

This is not the first time the Wapello County office of ISU Extension has held the apple tree workshops. The workshops started last year, and because community interest was very high, the decision was made to have the event again this year.

“We held it last year, and we had a really good turnout,” Latham said. “We knew people have an interest in how to maintain and prune apple trees.”

There are plenty of other educational events sponsored by ISU Extension that would go along nicely with the apple trees workshops, such as a composting workshop on April 12. ISU Extension is partnering with the Wapello County Recycling Center to host the workshop, and it is also designed as a lunch-and-learn event.

For those who attend the apple tree events, the composting workshop should provide added valuable education on how to properly tend to the soil apple trees are planted in. The workshop will have two parts, with the morning session from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch, and then the afternoon session from 1-2 p.m. Guests will learn all about soil sciences and different kinds of composting.

According to Latham, all of the events are designed to help community members with what they can do in their personal landscapes.

“We are just trying to get more opportunities for the community to have educational pieces to use in their home landscaping,” she said.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh