Learning to Prune in the Historic Fort Ross Orchard

Photos and Article by Melissa McCarthy

On March 10, 2018 I arrived at the historic Fort Ross Orchard on a foggy late-winter day, there was a chill in the air but the winds were calm. I heard cheerful sounds coming from the trees and as I followed the sounds I saw a group of friendly faces under a giant pear tree with branches stretching high into the air. Our dedicated orchard volunteers, led by Susy Rudy, greeted me and introduced me to Keith Park. Keith is a National Park Service horticulturalist, pruner, and arborist. He works at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez California, maintaining the orchard and other trees on the parks grounds. He was at Fort Ross to guide us in a pruning workshop. 

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