New Pomology Extension Course

Principles of Fruit-and-Nut Tree Growth, Cropping and Management

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) fruit-and-nut advisors, specialists and University of California, Davis (UCD) Plant Sciences faculty will present a two-week course from Feb. 25 through Ted DeJong, UCCE specialist and UCD  professor of plant physiology, will lead a team  of experts in fruit- and nut-tree production who  will be teaching a new two-week Extension  pomology course in the spring.March 7, 2013, at the UC Davis Conference Center. This course covers the fundamentals of tree biology essential to making sound orchard management and business decisions, with a combination of lectures, hands-on exercises and field demonstrations. The team of expert instructors — led by Ted DeJong, UCCE specialist and UCD professor of plant physiology — are experts in fruit- and nut-tree production, with more than 100 years of combined experience.

The first week will include lectures, hands-on exercises and field demonstrations on a wide range of topics in basic tree biology and orchard management practices. Lecture topics include:

  • The basics of how trees work
  • Ideal climatic and soil conditions for tree-fruit and -nut crops
  • Dormancy, chill requirements and rest breaking
  • How trees grow and what determines architecture
  • Understanding cropping, pollination and fruit set
  • How trees use water and nutrients
  • Fruit growth and development
  • Harvest and harvest indices
  • Postharvest quality and technology

Hands-on exercises and field demonstrations include:

  • Bearing habits
  • Measuring fruit quality and fruit tasting
  • Pruning, training and light management
  • Root excavations
  • Budding and grafting
  • Measurement of plant water status and irrigation scheduling
  • Measurement of plant nutrient status and fertilization scheduling

During the second week, students and instructors will embark on a four-day tour in fruit- and nut-growing regions of northern and central California. The field tour includes stops at commercial nurseries, packinghouses, retail outlets, experimental plots and private orchards. Field demonstrations are scheduled for the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier and the Nickels Soil Laboratory in Arbuckle.

Details and registration information are available on the course website. For more information, contact Brooke Jacobs by email or at (530) 754-9708. Deadline for signing up for the course is Jan. 25.