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Fruit Trees: Planting, Pruning, & Guilds (Parts 1 & 2)

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Event description



> Part 1: CARE & MAINTENANCE - Sunday 21 May 2023 - 9:30am to 12pm (2.5 hours) 

Part 2: PLANTING & GUILDS - Sunday 28 May 2023 - 9:30am to 12pm (2.5 hours) 

This workshop with Judy Keats is your seasonal, two-part crash course on how to care for and get the best out of your fruit trees at this pivotal time of year.

Following the summer harvest, the autumn and winter months present awesome conditions for pruning your trees. In this workshop, Judy Keats will teach you how to encourage growth with good timing and technique, starting from the root zone all the way up into the canopy, to give your trees the best chance to thrive and produce.

What to expect:


The first part focuses on how to maintain your trees and approach pruning cuts to shape a tree for increased production, ease of harvest, and overall beauty. Our food forest will be your outdoor laboratory to practise evaluating shape and condition, inspecting new versus old wood, discussing ways to manage pests and disease, and working with Judy to answer all of your questions to help get to the bottom of caring for your trees. Judy will guide you through demonstrations of tools and technique, then you will have the chance to get hands-on to gain practical experience of your own, weighing decisions and making cuts.


The second part turns to tree planting, including how to choose where to plant and what understory species to consider for guilds -- or a group of companion plants that grow best with your trees. Judy will guide you through examples of guild planning and demonstrations of technique before you work together as a group to put a guild plan together, choose suitable companion species, and actually get the plants in the ground around a tree in our food forest here at Kelmarna.

Join us for this timely, seasonal opportunity to learn about and gain experience with methods for caring for your fruit trees. Help make the most of this time of year, to give your trees the best start, to provide supportive companions, and to help keep them in the best shape to continue thriving successfully for seasons to come!

Important Note: Out of consideration for the health and well-being of our trees, and as you will learn about in this workshop, the some of the activities are weather dependent. This means that the focus of Parts 1 and 2 might swap between the dates listed to accommodate the conditions, such as where Part 2 might take place on the initial date, followed by Part 1 the following weekend. Additionally, a rain date will be reserved for Sunday 4 June, the weekend following the second date, in case the weather is unsuitable on both planned dates. Any decisions will be made by the tutor in advance of the workshop and communicated by the Kelmarna Gardens Workshops Program via email to all registered participants along with a usual 'get ready!' reminder message. Cheers.

Tickets include: Guided instruction at both sessions of the course, access to tools and resources for all practical activities onsite

What to bring:


  • a refillable water bottle (to stay hydrated)
  • weather appropriate gear (to keep comfortable)


  • a notebook and pen (to take notes, if you like)
  • a pair of gloves (for the practical tasks, if you like)
  • a pair of protective glasses (for the practical tasks, if you have them)
  • a face covering or mask (for indoors or close quarters)


Judy Keats is a permaculturist, organic systems educator, and community garden mentor and advisor, with more than 8 years experience establishing, coordinating, and teaching in community gardens across greater Auckland.

Judy is passionate about well-being for people and caring for the environment in which they live. She believes that by observing our plants and our changing climate, we can gain insight and a closer connection to the health of our gardens and broader ecosystems, which she knows to be key to the success and optimal yields of a sustainable food system. Judy is committed to working with communities to foster knowledge and experience towards mastering resilience.


At Kelmarna, we strive to make education accessible for everyone. So, where possible, we offer a 35% discount on our workshops to valid Community Services Card holders. If you book one of these tickets, please email us a copy of your valid Community Services Card, and remember to bring it along to the workshop. Please note that this option does not include Super Gold Card holders. Ngā mihi.

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