A new four-part series will help those wanting to grow apples in Montana, especially the Bitterroot Valley.

MSU Western Agricultural Research Center (WARC), north of Corvallis, in coordination with the Ravalli County and Missoula County Extension offices are offering the series during the winter months, starting next week.

The first session will be in Missoula; the following programs will be in Hamilton and at the Corvallis WARC facility.

The first event "The Business of Being an Orchardist" will be Thursday, December 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Missoula County Extension Office at 2825 Santa Fe Court in Missoula. The basic economics of an orchard, including long-term leases, value-added businesses, marketing, ciders, and buying or selling an orchard will be discussed by speakers and a panel.

Those wishing to attend need to register by Friday, December 8. Call Katrina at (406) 961-3025. This first session is including a suggested $5 donation.

Workshop Number Two (February 8 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) will be "Establishing a Montana Orchard" and will be at the Western Agricultural Research Center, 580 Quast Lane, north of Corvallis. This session will include site selection, irrigation concerns, and tree planting, with an emphasis on hard cider or dessert apple orchard.

Workshop Three (February 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) is "Pruning Fruit Trees in Montana" and will be at the MSU Ravalli County Extension office in Hamilton. It will include a hands-on outdoor pruning workshop. Registration is encouraged before February 20 at the Extension office (406) 375-6611.

Workshop Number Four (March 14 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) is "Integrated Pest Management in Montana Apple Orchards" and will be back at the Western Agricultural Research Center on Quast Lane. Topics will include fire blight, common Montana apple insect pests and new new insects. Unwanted vegetation will also be discussed.

If you need more information, call 961-3025.