The National Park Service is resurrecting historic orchards. And Fritz Maslan is going to tell us all about it
The orchards of the Fruita Rural Historic District (in the Capitol Reef National Park, South Utah) are one of the largest ongoing cultivated orchards in the national park system and remain an important part of the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. The orchards were planted by early pioneers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beginning in the 1880s, and currently contain approximately 2,000 fruit trees including numerous heirloom varieties.
Fritz Maslan is the Horticulturist at Capitol Reef and is intimately involved in this long term orchard restoration project which will begin with the Guy Smith and Cook orchards and – building on what is learned there – will ultimately involve the other 17 orchards within the park. He has his work cut out for him, however, since over the past fifty years, the orchards have lost almost 1,000 trees and with continued losses expected due to age, disease and nutrient deficiencies, the improvement of the land along with replanting is needed to maintain orchard historic integrity.
While we, of course, are interested in how and what will be planted in Fruita, Fritz is also interested in what he can learn from us about growing difficult fruit trees. While this is not one of our normal single-plant-centric talks, it is sure to be fascinating. Don’t miss it!
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