Friday, October 25, 2019

Fruit Tree Pruning

Fruit Tree Pruning

Pruning fruit trees is the proper regulation of the branches to encourage the production of blossom and the maturing of heavy crops of good fruit.

Many fruits will crop heavy enough without much attention but the quality is often poor. If the pruning is too severe the tree will grow to wood instead of fruit.

On the other hand if the branches are left too thick they overshadow those below them excluding light and air and encouraging a great growth of leaves but little fruit.

It is necessary when pruning to have a good knowledge of the fruit-bearing wood of the different kinds of fruit trees and to be able to form an early judgment of the future productiveness of the various branches and shoots.

This can only be obtained by practice and observation.

Winter is the best time to prune, but a judicious thinning out of the young shoots may sometimes be done in the autumn. But it must be done late in the season so that there will not be a further growth of fresh shoots.

Any shoots that are pruned in the autumn should be cut above the fourth bud so that they can again be cut back to the second bud in the winter.

When a stock is budded or grafted it will throw a long straight stem the first year. On this the future head is to be formed. In the following winter this should be cut down to a height of about two feet above the ground, unless of course the young tree has already formed a proper head.

Be careful to cut just above a good strong bud. The tree will then throw out a number of shoots just below the cut. Of these only the three strongest and best regulated, usually the highest ones, should be retained, cutting all others off close to the stem during the summer so as to give the full benefit of the sap to the remaining three shoots.

After they have been planted a few weeks these side shoots should be cut back to within a foot or more according to the strength of the branch and just above a strong bud pointing outwards.

This simple way of pruning, carried out for four years will give a well shaped tree of semi upright form with short stem.

Tall trees are to be condemned for they catch the wind and do not sufficiently shade the stem and roots.

They are difficult to prune and spray and also to pick and regulate the fruit.

The various kinds of apples, pears, plums, etc., vary somewhat in their habit of growth. Climate and soils also affect their vigor. To obtain the best results from the trees pruning should be varied to suit these conditions.

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