Interested in learning the basics of fruit and nut tree management in a short period of time? University of California Cooperative Extension fruit and nut advisors and specialists and UC Davis plant sciences faculty will present a two-week pomology course Feb. 25 through March 7, 2013,at the UC Davis Conference Center.

This course will cover the fundamentals of tree biology that are essential to making sound orchard management and business decisions, with a combination of lectures, hands-on exercises and field demonstrations. The instructors – led by Ted DeJong, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis – are experts in fruit and nut tree production with over 100 years of combined experience. “Courses of this type usually focus on describing how specific things in tree crop management are done,” said DeJong, who specializes in plant physiology. “I like to start with developing an integrated understanding of how trees grow and function and then link that to explaining tree crop management strategies.”

Growers, beginning farmers, community college students, university students and professionals working in tree fruit and nut production are encouraged to enroll in this Cooperative Extension course. After completing the course, participants will receive a certificate.

“To our knowledge, there is no comparable extension course in the United States that provides growers instruction by faculty researchers and Cooperative Extension specialists on the fundamentals of fruit and nut tree growth and development that underpin orchard management practices,” said DeJong. “The goal of our course is to provide access to practical, UC Davis pomology education in a shorter time frame, and reduced cost, than is currently available through traditional university classes.”

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, packing houses, retail outlets, experimental plots and private orchards. Participants will see field demonstrations at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier and the Nickels Soil Laboratory in Arbuckle.

Instructors for the course include DeJong, Vito Polito, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis; Kevin Day, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Tulare County; R. Scott Johnson, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis based at UC KARE; and Carlos Crisosto, Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, who specializes in postharvest physiology.

The fee for the entire course is $2,850 plus the cost of lodging for the field trips. Details and registration information are available at http://fruitandnuteducation.ucdavis.edu.

For more information, contact Brooke Jacobs at (530) 752-4354 or fruitandnuteducation@ucdavis.edu.