Apples, apples, everywhere at UBC festival celebrating the humble fruit

Apples, apples, everywhere at UBC festival celebrating the humble fruit

Vancouver Sun Newspaper Article Published on: October 15, 2017

Growing apple trees and producing apples in an urban garden is a challenge, especially in the Lower Mainland with our wet climate. But UBC’s pomologist-in-residence wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s complicated,” says Richard Hallman. “That’s why I like it.”

Hallman, sporting a holster with a pair of clippers, was on hand at UBC’s Botanical Garden on the weekend for their annual apple festival to advise apple lovers on the art of espalier tree training — growing dwarf fruit trees along fences, walls or trellises in ornamental candelabras, fans or criss-crosses — an ancient technique that encourages healthy fruit production.

While hundreds of apple-lovers downed Savoury Island apple pies, sampled apple slices in the tasting tent and kicked around in the fall leaves, a devoted stream of home gardeners lined up to get his advice on espalier training, pruning, branch-bending and rootstocks.

In the last few years, Hallman has seen a boom in interest. “There is a growing trend of fruit tree production as people are trying to grow their own food in small spaces.”

Espaliered trees are especially good for urban environments, he said. “They can give a dramatic-looking garden in a small space.”

Hallman grew up on a small orchard in the Okanagan so apples are in his blood and his heart. A tree fruit expert and Espalier Master who consults with both home gardeners and larger producers, Hallman studied horticulture at UBC. He met his wife in the program and the young couple travelled the South Pacific, financing their travels by picking apples in Tasmania.

Hallman worked as a horticultural advisor with the provincial government for 30 years, and recently retired — but his expertise keeps him in high demand.

For the past three years Hallman has advised on the renewal of the UBC botanical gardens espalier fruit tree collection. Their espalier collection is world-renowned, but it had been suffering.

“A healthy apple tree can live for hundreds of years,” said Hallman, but fungal diseases and insects are common scourges in wet climates.

Espalier tree training is particularly useful in our climate, explained Hallman.

“Apple trees need eight hours of sunlight a day. The Okanagan has between 12 to 15 inches a year of rainfall. We have 60,” said Hallman. “With that kind of rainfall we’re always going to have some problems. Small trees we can put a mesh bag over to keep out insects, or we can put a rain hat on.”

Hallman said that home gardeners, even in pots on balconies, can grow trees with exclusion barriers to keep diseases and insects out and produce successful crops. Even a single “cordon” or oblique branch, properly trained and pruned can produce up to 15 apples — and that’s the reward.

“My favourite time of the year is when they start to grow again in the spring when you can start to train them. My other favourite part of the season is when you are picking the fruit.”

Hallman said he eats more than one apple a day.

“I grew up on an orchard,” he said. “It’s who I am.”

dryan@postmedia.com

 

2017 Workshops

During 2017 I will be instructing as reduced set of workshops as I refocus my efforts in on consulting, developing espalier trees and information products. A series of 6 workshops are being offered through the Fraser Valley Continuing Education Starting mid February. Three different workshops with two offerings each. All of the workshops will take place at Art’s Nursery at 8940 192nd Street, North Surrey, British Columbia.

Espalier Training of Fruit Trees – Feb. 19th and April 20th

How to Choose and Plant New Fruit Trees in Your Garden – Feb. 26th and March 30th

Organic Tree and Shrub Insect and Disease Control – March 12th and April 6th

I look forward to seeing you at these workshops. For more information see the online catalog at www.langleycontinuingeducation.ca  To register phone 604-533-4227

Richard Hallman

Welcome to 2017

Happy new year. It is a new year and a new growing season. I love every part of the year when working with fruit trees, but there is something special about the dormant season. Without leaves all is visible, branches,. branch angles, fruiting spurs and fruit buds. We had a very wet fall and so far the winter has felt more like the interior rather than the west coast. Frozen ground, 12 inches of snow….. I am concerned that the wet weather during the fall will result in a significant increase in Apple Anthracnose and European Canker on apples a range of other diseases on other plants. This is likely the year that anyone who did not apply protective fungicides to their apple trees in the fall will be doing a lot of cutting during the growing season to catch up.

Richard Hallman Dormant Pruning in the Similkameen Valley 1978

Richard Hallman Dormant Pruning in the Similkameen Valley 1978

Summer Grafting

Fruit tree grafting in  temperate climates can be done from mid winter through to the early fall. I grew up on a small commercial orchard and learned to T-Bud when I was 10 years old, so Summer T-Budding has always been a favorite of mine. During the 1970’s and 1980’s Chip budding started being used and now it is the most common type of summer grafting. Chip budding is basically miniature (single bud) grafting. Chip budding works from the dormant season through spring and summer and into early fall.

Completed T-Bud

Completed T-Bud

Completed Chip Bud

Completed Chip Bud

There are several other types of summer grafting including

approach grafting, side grafting and in-arch grafting.

During the last three weeks I instructed 5 summer grafting workshop and the interest has been significantly higher than in previous years. I do not have any further summer grafting workshops planned for this year, I do do private Fruit Tree Grafting sessions on demand. Contact me for a quote.

Best wishes

Richard Hallman, P.Ag

UBC Botanical Garden Pomologist in Residence

Workshop Change: April 23 – Growing Espalier Fruit Trees in Containers – An Onsite Workshop

There was a mix up with this workshop, it is a 2.5 hour workshop, not a 4 hour workshop as preciously advertised.

Saturday, April 23, at the Roof Garden of the Athletes Village Coop in partnership with the UBC Botanical Garden

10 a.m. – 12:30  Growing Espalier Fruit Trees in Containers

The Athletes Village Coop have 45 fruit trees growing in their rooftop garden, most of them in containers. This collection of container grown fruit trees is the setting for this workshop. The morning session is about how to successfully grow fruit trees in container for the long term and the afternoon session is about how to train your trees into various espalier forms. Containers, soils, types and sizes of trees to plant, irrigation, fertilization, organic pest control and demonstrations of how to plant a new tree, how to repot an older tree and how to prune any tree to become an espalier will all be included. Apples, pears, figs, plums and other types of trees will be discussed. Presenter is Richard Hallman, UBCBG Pomologist in Residence.
Click here for registration

Fruit Tree Workshops and Presentations – Spring 2016

Introduction to Home Orchards in Vancouver

Saturday, April 2, 2-5:00 p.m. at the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm

If you have a home orchard or dream of having one with one tree or more than a hundred, this workshop is for you. Using the orchard at the UBC Farm as an example of what is possible, in this workshop you will learn: how fruit trees grow, how to train them, how to increase fruit production and organic ways to manage the most troublesome pests and diseases. Instructor: Richard Hallman. Click here for registration

Growing Fruit Trees in Containers on Balconies and Rooftops

Saturday, April 9,  2 -3:30 p.m. at the Vancouver Public Library Main Branch

FREE Public Presentation – no registration

Growing fruit trees in containers on balconies is a fascinating hobby that can produces amazing crops of health organic fruit. Espalier tree training techniques maximize fruit production in these small areas while providing a stunning ornamental effect that will amaze your family and friends. In this presentation you will learn how to start, develop and maintain your own container gown espalier fruit trees. A Partnership event between the Vancouver Public Library, the UBC Botanical Garden and richardhallman.ca.

Growing Espalier Fruit Trees in Containers – An Onsite Workshop

Saturday, April 23, at the Roof Garden of the Athletes Village Coop in partnership with the UBC Botanical Garden

10 a.m. – 12:30   Growing Espalier Fruit Trees in Containers 

The Athletes Village Coop have 45 fruit trees growing in their rooftop garden, most of them in containers. This collection of container grown fruit trees is the setting for this workshop. The morning session is about how to successfully grow fruit trees in container for the long term and the afternoon session is about how to train your trees into various espalier forms. Containers, soils, types and sizes of trees to plant, irrigation, fertilization, organic pest control and demonstrations of how to plant a new tree, how to repot an older tree and how to prune any tree to become an espalier will all be included. Apples, pears, figs, plums and other types of trees will be discussed. Presenter is Richard Hallman, UBCBG Pomologist in Residence.
Click here for registration
 

Langley Environmental Partners Salmon Friendly Gardens Seminar

Sat, 12 March, 10:00am – 1:30pm

Location: Township of Langley City Hall, 20338 65 Ave, Langley, BC V2Y 3J1, Canada (map)

Simple choices can make a world of difference! Please join us for the annual Salmon Friendly Gardens Seminar, hosted by LEPS in conjunction with the Township of Langley Grow Healthy Grow Smart program.

Grow Healthy Grow Smart aims to reduce or eliminate the use of cosmetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, for the benefit of salmon habitat, wildlife, and pollinators in our community.

This years seminar has presentations provided by:

David Tracey (the Ecourbanist) – Edible Landscaping

Richard Hallman – Fruit Tree Pruning

Peter Isaacson – Natural Prevention of the European Chafer Beetle

Please reserve your seat today, by emailing outreach@leps.bc.ca or calling 604.546.0338

2016 Pruning Workshop – Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society

Pruning Workshop – Learn How to Prune Your Fruit Trees!
(Focus on Apples & Pears + Information About Other Fruit Trees)

VFTP_LOGO_CS3

Date: Sunday March 6, 2016
Time: 2:00-4:00pm

Led by seasoned arborist Richard Hallman, this workshop is the perfect opportunity to learn how to prune and care for your apple and pear trees. Richard is also happy to discuss pruning other fruit trees if you have specific questions. Held in the garden of one our very own tree owners (complete with apple, pear, plum and cherry trees!), you will learn:

– To read the condition of your trees
– To estimate the amount of fruit produced in past years and potential yield this year
– How apple and pear trees grow and how they react to pruning and training
– A step by step process that you can follow when pruning your own trees, a great way to overcome the fear of pruning.
– Techniques and tricks you can use to improve the amount and quality of the fruit they produce in years to come.

Instructor: Richard Hallman is a passionate horticulturist who has been teaching and advising gardeners and farmers across British Columbia for more than 35 years. He is a Horticultural Advisor to the Vancouver Tree Fruit Project, Historic Fort Langley, Historic Stewart Orchard and several other organizations in the Vancouver-Fraser Valley area. He is a Registered Professional Horticulturist, a Certified Arborist and a Master Gardener.

Price: $19.00 (plus eventbrite fee).
All proceeds from the workshop go to the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project’s fundraising efforts.

Location: Backyard address & entry instructions will be sent to all ticket buyers.

Important Info: Parking available on city streets. Please dress for the weather as the course takes place outside in the backyard of one of the VFTP’s Tree Owners.

WHEN
WHERE
Private Backyard – Larch & 12th Avenue, Kitsilano Vancouver, British Columbia CA – View Map

Or see the VFTP website