Volunteers of Sequim’s Welfare for Animals Guild recently hosted a “hands-on” pruning workshop for a group of master gardeners on Friday, Feb. 16, in the gardens of the WAG Half-Way Home Ranch in Sequim.
The workshop was organized by Lori Hamilton and conducted by Keith Dekker, both master gardeners. Dekker regularly conducts classes in various gardening topics that are free to the public. These lectures are part of the “Brown Bag” series organized by the Clallam County Master Gardeners.
This particular pruning workshop was part of advanced training for Master Gardeners. Dekker and Hamilton found this site well-suited for their class, since the ranch is situated on the grounds of the former McComb Nursery, with its flowing gardens designed in part by Daniel Hinkley, and featuring a large variety of mature heritage plants.
A group of 30 master gardeners and volunteers followed Keith around the gardens, stopping as he knelt over a shrub or stretched up to the limbs of a tree to explain the particular pruning challenge at hand. He talked about the pruning budget – how much can be removed from the plant without negative impact — and that, for some shrubs, it is 30 percent per year. He cautioned, however, that each year it is best to evaluate what percentage to remove. He said it is better to err on the side of caution because it is easy to remove too much.
But not deadwood! According to Dekker, deadwood in a tree or shrub should all come out. He demonstrated how to reach in and snap off the dead branches. He showed the difference between a dead branch and a live branch by gently scraping its side.
With confidence levels rising, pruning tools began to emerge from the tool bags and the sounds of snips rang out around the garden. All agreed this was a successful workshop.
WAG plans to host another workshop later in the year for its volunteers. Those interested in joining WAG as a volunteer can apply at the website: www.wagsequimwa.org.