Sleeping Bear Dunes offers antique apple, pear tree pruning workshop

From staff reports

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will host its popular annual pruning workshop on Friday, May 4, in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. The workshop will be held at the Miller farm, four miles north of Glen Arbor on M-22. Turn onto Port Oneida Road, go one mile and turn onto Miller Road, and follow the signs to the workshop site.

The workshop will focus on maintenance of neglected apple and pear trees and how to bring them back into production, as well as maintain their health. The course will include: 1) how to identify and properly remove dead materials from abandoned trees, 2) proper pruning of the canopy for optimum maintenance and fruit production, 3) maintaining tree health, 4) how to maintain ground cover under the tree, 5) watering and care of the tree, and 6) equipment safety. There will also be a grafting demonstration by the Leelanau Conservation District.

The park is partnering with the Leelanau Conservation District and the County Extension Master Gardener Program to offer this hands-on training workshop. Experts from the county offices will provide the technical information and the park will serve as the host for this annual event. This marks the 13th year that these organizations have come together to participate in this event.

The course is set up so participants receive “hands-on” training in all techniques. The workshop hours are 1-4 p.m. An orientation and introduction will begin at 1 p.m. Participants should meet at the trailhead at the end of Miller Road.

There is no cost to participants. Tools, materials, and handouts will be provided.  Participants should wear sturdy shoes and gloves, and dress according to the weather forecasted.

Participants do not need to have any pre-existing skills. The purpose of the workshop is to teach the techniques and train homeowners and the interested public how to restore and maintain the health of antique apple and pear trees.

Interested parties should contact the park Historical Architect, Kimberly Mann, at 231-326-4771, to sign up for the workshop. Late registration is always accepted. Call to notify the park of your intention to attend. Participants may also sign up by email at