Mason Bees in my garden

I enjoy nurturing the native bees and providing nesting homes for them. Since we have five fruit trees, four blueberry plants, 50 strawberries and multiplying raspberries, my garden keeps these bees working. I like them because they work in the rain, unlike other pollinators. I have some cute bee houses and some practical, jury rigged ones and they both do the job.

The wire one above is what I will explain. Mason Bee season here in the Puget Sound lowlands runs from about March 15 when you put them out until mid July when they are ready for storage. Recently I have learned about these predatory wasps that drill holes in the cardboard straws to lay their eggs, ultimately killing the developing Mason Bees. This year I am using white cardboard tubes placed in natural reeds, hoping to discourage the predatory wasps. The tan tubes with mud closures are the bees from 2017 and the white tubes are the nesting sites for 2018.

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Meyer Lemon concern

Does anyone recognize what is going on with the leaves on my Meyer Lemon tree? The fruit looks healthy and some blooms are still coming but leaves look strange. Do you grow this plant? Do I need to take any action?

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Necessity is the Mother of Invention

We have become stewards of several fruit trees planted by a previous gardener. Yesterday, Mike climbed up the larger cherry tree with a chain saw and thinned it out. I so wanted a picture of him up that tree, but did not plan ahead and get a camera outdoors. I was the spotter under the tree. After cleaning up all the branches and leaves, we wondered if it is also time to do the same to the plum tree on the property. This is a large, not very beautiful tree, in a corner that shades a nice area for growing roses. When I first saw that tree, two plus years ago, I wanted it taken down. Boy am I glad that did not happen! It has the most tasty plums you can imagine. Unlike any in the grocery. So this year it has a large crop of plums and I decided to pick the ripe ones today. Luckily, my neighbor over the back fence shared his invention for getting fruit high up in the tree and I got a big bowl full of plums plus some to share!

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Espalier apple follow up post

A few months ago I explained that I have a Jonagold apple tree that I am making into an espalier apple tree. Today I noticed that there are a few tiny apples starting so I decided it was time to put on the footies to keep the coddling moths and apple maggots away. One side of the branch has been covered and the other shows the size of the fruit. Check back later in the season for the progress on this project!
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July 2, 2013 progress

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Fruit tree pruning

I just returned from a very good two-hour program about pruning fruit trees. First we learned about two kinds of pruners.

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Bypass pruners which make a clean-cut.

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Anvil pruners tend to crush stems and damage trees (and roses too!)

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This hand saw cuts in one direction. Look closely at the blades to determine the direction. It would damage the plant to use this saw with a cutting motion and pressure in two directions.

There are lots of reasons to prune a fruit tree. Height and shape, light in the center of the tree for more fruit, but my favorite reason is for the espalier shape

This traditional European art of pruning is becoming more popular in the USA.
I am working on two, one year old apple trees to get the espalier shapes. They were grafted last spring. Both are in pots and need to get into larger pots with support this spring. Eventually this tree will get planted in the ground with a permanent horizontal support.

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I am doing the espalier because we do not need a huge tree full of apples. In a few years I expect a few apples due to this pruning.