Last fall, I harvested 75 pounds of persimmons off of my persimmon tree. It had grown to a height about 5 feet above the roof peak on our two-story home and only the squirrels could get to the persimmons in the very top branches.
Since it would have been dangerous to try to harvest the fruit at the top, I decided to cut it back and see if it would recover. It has and I have no idea how to prune the very luxuriant new growth to establish the branch structure for the next few years.
I cut it back to a height of about 6 feet and then painted the stumps. There are three 3- to 4-inch diameter branches, off of the main trunk, which are now covered with new growth.
I would really appreciate any advice you could offer on how to prune the new growth.
Gary Cawood, Fair Oaks
According to UC master gardener Carol Hunter, persimmons generally do not need extensive pruning. Prune only to remove dead wood, shape the tree, or open up a too-dense interior.
Persimmons tend to get dense in the interior, causing fruit to be borne toward the end of branches. It is beneficial to thin the branches to allow sunlight to reach the center of the tree.
Do the thinning before growth begins in the spring. New wood, which grows in the spring, bears fruit in the fall.
The UC Master Gardeners maintain an orchard at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center, including information on keeping fruit trees at manageable heights. Information on various workshops is available at ucanr.edu/sacmg. Among the upcoming events with workshops and a chance to ask experts for advice is Harvest Day on Aug. 3.
If possible, bring a picture of your tree in order to discuss specifics about pruning it.
We are being bombarded with bees in our lawn. Are these digger bees and how do we get rid of them? They look like yellow jackets or wasps rather than honeybees. We don't see any holes or mounds that would indicate their nests.
Allannah Stratton, Roseville
According to UC master gardener Carol Rogala, your bees are probably wasps.
In the Western states, there are two distinct types of social wasps yellow jackets and paper wasps. Yellow jackets are by far the most troublesome. If wasps have invaded your lawn, they are hunting for lawn insects, grubs and larvae.
Wasps start nests in the spring. From spring to summer, the workers are looking for protein and some sugar. By late summer, the colony requires more sugar.
Most social wasps provide beneficial service by eliminating other pest insects through predation and should be protected in areas of little human or animal activity.
Usually, scavenging wasps won't become a problem if there is no food around to attract them. When nuisance wasps are present outdoors, keep food including pet food and drinks covered or inside the house. Keep garbage in tightly sealed garbage cans.
Once wasps discover food, they will continue to hunt around that location long after the source has been removed.
Traps can reduce populations. Aerosol insecticides must be used with extreme caution.
If wasp nests must be eliminated, it is easiest and safest to call for professional help.
A complete description of this pest's identification, life cycle, damage, and management can be found in Pest Note 7450, Yellowjackets and Other Social Wasps. Send a self-addressed stamped business-size envelope to: PN 7450, UC Cooperative Extension, 4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento CA 95827. This information is also available online at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu.
Questions are answered by master gardeners at the UC Cooperative Extension services in Sacramento and Placer counties.
Send questions to Garden Detective, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. Send email to email@example.com. Please put "Garden Detective" in the subject field and include your postal address. To contact your UC Extension directly, call:
Sacramento: (916) 875-6913; 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. weekdays
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