Good Fruit Grower

September 2016

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18 SEPTEMBER 2016 Good Fruit Grower R udy Prey of Leavenworth, Washington, does things with his pear trees that not all, or even most growers, do. He ties the top branches together to pull them into an archway to maximize light exposure. He plants them close together to create high density block and starts cropping them two or three years earlier than most normally would. "He's wholeheartedly taken on the high density, which is difficult everywhere on earth," said Tim Smith, the semi-retired Washington State University extension educator for Chelan County. Prey carves his blocks from the side of a steep hill and protects them from wildfire by clearing the under- growth of his wooded property that abuts the Wenatchee National Forest. The chore helps keep his 12 full-time employees busy all year. He even has to shoo away a few bears occasionally, though when they visit, they usually snack on his fruit at night and are long gone by the time his workers arrive. Pears Central Washington pear grower innovates, adapts. by Ross Courtney Prey's way

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