WILTON — The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Franklin County will offer a course in renovating old apple trees on Saturday, March 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Black Acres Farm in Wilton. Hosting the course will be Nick Rowley, Cooperative Extension’s sustainable agriculture and horticulture professional and Senator Russell Black.

The two-hour course will be an in-depth demonstration of pruning and care of apple trees. It is a free workshop, but registration is required. To register, simply visit extension.umaine.edu/register/product/apple-tree-pruning-workshop-wilton. The workshop will take place at Black Acres Farm, located at 123 Black Rd.

“It’s essentially a pruning workshop,” Rowley stated. “It’s a time for me to get out there and for participants to come in and watch a pruning demonstration. I’ll go through the different types of cutting, a little bit about safety, and just talk about the art and science behind pruning a tree.”

Rowley and Cooperative Extension offer the course to those with older, neglected apple trees on their property that can possibly be rejuvenated through some simple pruning and care.

“Once trees have been neglected for a period of time, they almost become harder to bring back than if you were to train and prune them from a young age,” he said.

The course on renovating old apple trees is just one of many classes offered by UMaine Cooperative Extension in Franklin County. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Rowley led a course at Mt. Blue RSD Franklin County Adult and Community Education on tomatoes.


“It was a little bit more than an introductory class,” he said. “We dove into a little bit more about the fertility aspects of tomato needs and pest management in general.”

The workshop covered details like growing practices, pruning, trellising, and variety selection.

Rowley’s primary function with Cooperative Extension is outreach and education within Franklin County, as well as as a consultant. People who are interested in agriculture or home horticulture may contact him and utilize his knowledge.

“If they have an issue, they’ll often call me up,” he said. “Those issues could be like, ‘What is this pest in my garden?’, ‘Can you help me interpret this soil test analysis?’, ‘How do I prune my apple tree?’, or ‘why aren’t my tomatoes growing?’”

Growing up, Rowley was also outside and though he did not grow up on a farm, he lived next to one and that was where his initial interest in agriculture took place. By middle school, he was hanging out on farms and eventually started working on farms. “It was really the only place I could find a job that I could walk too,” Rowley confessed.

“I had no real desire to get into agriculture when I was a kid,” he added, “but it’s just something that grew on me over time and I found out I really like growing plants, and so I ended up going down that path.”

Rowley has been with Cooperative Extension in Franklin County for eight months after spending time with Cooperative Extension at the University of New Hampshire. A native of Franklin County, Rowley saw this as an opportunity to keep doing the same work while getting closer to home.

“I really love working for Extension,” Rowley said. “This was a way for me to do the same sort of work that I really love but be closer to family.”

For more information about Rowley’s services or the pruning workshop, contact him at [email protected] or [207] 778-4650.

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