Prune the apple tree


Prune the apple tree

The apple tree is a magnificent fruit tree native to the South Caucasus and now grown in much of the world. Of considerable size, the tree has fruiting branches and woody branches. The former produce fruit, while the latter are hard, gnarled and completely sterile. The famous fruit is born from the tree: the apple, which is actually a false fruit, a smooth-skinned melonide called an apple. The characteristics of the apple tree also affect tree pruning, interventions that essentially aim at two purposes: productive and ornamental. There apple tree pruning for production purposes it is more serious and complicated than the ornamental one, although the latter becomes complicated in the case of very old but still productive trees.


Aims

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the apple tree pruning serves for productive and ornamental purposes. To produce good quality fruit, the tree needs very fine and pure air, typical of mountain valleys, but also a lot of direct sun. Pruning, that is, the cuts of the branches, serve precisely to enhance the effect of the climate on the various branches of the tree. By cutting the branches that cross and obscure the productive ones, the apple tree is allowed to receive more pure air and the right amount of sun. These climatic factors, combined with proper pruning and organic fertilization, allow for tasty apples rich in vitamins and mineral salts. The pruning of the apple tree has not only productive purposes, but also ornamental ones. The latter are equally important, especially for trees grown in large or small gardens. As the years go by, the apple tree tends to become ugly and form dry, curved and knotty branches that impoverish its shape and aesthetic value. The ugliness is not a risk that old trees run, but also young ones, which tend to develop in an excessive and disordered way. The pruning that corrects the shape of the apple tree during its growth is called "training" or "breeding", while that which corrects the shape of the adult tree and stimulates its fruiting is called "production" pruning.


Breeding pruning

Apple tree farming pruning concerns the young tree. This pruning is done no later than the first three years of the plant's life. Generally, with this practice, the branches that cause deformation of the tree crown are eliminated. This type of pruning can be customized according to the shape you want to give the plant. Of course, even if you can choose the desired shape, you must always be careful not to eliminate the productive branches, the latter can be recognized by their consistency and buds. If the branches are spongy and the buds soft, they are productive branches, if instead they are hard and gnarled, they are sterile branches. During breeding pruning, it is necessary to try to cut the branches that protrude too far outwards, leaving those that are towards the top or in the center of the canopy. With this technique, the tree will be given a standard crown, although it is also possible to choose the espalier shape, that is, close to the wall. In this case, the cuts of the branches will be oriented precisely to bring the other branches close to the supporting walls.


Production pruning

Production pruning is carried out on the adult apple tree. In the case of a very old tree, this pruning also has the effect of improving the shape and structure of the tree, taking on the contours of a rejuvenating pruning. Production pruning aims to eliminate dry and unproductive branches, enhancing the jets of fertile ones. From the adult or old apple tree the dry and thin branches (usually unproductive) and the hard and gnarled ones, which usually do not bear buds, must be eliminated. The largest and most vigorous branches (productive) and the soft and spongy ones (with buds) should be left on the tree. These branches are often concentrated in the inner, high and central part of the canopy. To stimulate its production, it is also useful to eliminate the branches that obscure them or that cross each other, making little air and little light penetrate the tree. Sometimes, to stimulate the production of new shoots in the old tree, it is possible to resort to topping, ie the removal of the apical buds.


When and how to prune

The apple tree is pruned in early spring (February-March) and in summer. Generally it is best to intervene before the actual arrival of spring and at the end of the winter frosts. The ideal month to prune the apple tree it is therefore March, perhaps in the first weeks. It is absolutely forbidden to prune the apple tree late spring because, in this season, the tree undergoes a radical vegetative transformation that leads the fertile branches to look more gnarled than usual and difficult to recognize from unproductive ones. Summer is also ideal for apple tree pruning. This is a resting season for this plant, which begins to vegetate in the fall and to bear fruit in the winter. The apple tree also bears fruit on the branches of the previous year, so the elimination of new branches, for aesthetic purposes, does not affect the tree's production at all. For prune the apple tree you use the shears or the electric saw. The latter is used in case of cuts to too big and hard branches. The cuts must be clean and decisive. To avoid damage to the plant it is necessary to make a few targeted cuts, while small and inaccurate cuts are to be avoided. In order not to leave too large wounds in the wood or burrs, it is better to use tools with well-sharpened blades. All pruning tools must be cleaned and disinfected before and after use.




Lesson of apple tree pruning

When pruning the apple tree it is necessary to consider the variety of apple tree, the training system and the part affected by the intervention. We proceed from top to bottom: the upper part, the central part and the basal part

Start keeping in mind the golden rule for apple pruning: the greater the vigor of the apple tree, the lower the amount of pruning must be. Here's how to proceed:

  • evaluate the variety of apple tree vigorous, productive and non-alternating varieties such as Morgenduft and Granny Smith should be pruned less, also to reduce the size of the fruit which otherwise, in case of scarcity of buds, would be too high. Other varieties such as Red Delicious spur need to be pruned more vigorously to reduce buds and maintain sufficient growth
  • to facilitate the cutting operations, prune the apple tree starting from the top down.


Persistent foliage
Fall foliage
Semi persistent foliage
Sunny exposure
Partial shade exposure
Shaded exposure
Suitable for mild climates
Sensitive to cold
Not widespread plant
Patented variety

Description:

The Apple tree 'Melrose' is a fruit plant.

It produces large yellow fruits, streaked with red.

They have a very fragrant pulp and ripen from December to March.


Cucumber vines spawn from a single stem and produce multiple shoots. Pruning cucumbers help maintain the balance between vine growth and fruit production. Prune branches, leaves, flowers and fruit as needed during the growing season.

Begin cutting the cucumber vines by removing any dead or damaged parts. Remove older leaves to allow light to reach fruit development and improve air circulation.

Cut off any shoots that branch off from the main stem of the vine. Starting from the beginning of the take, make a cut as close as possible to the main stem.

The lateral shoots, flowers and fruits that develop on the lower 5-7 nodes of the leaves must be removed. This is especially important for seedless types of cucumbers, as they can only support one fruit per leaf node. If more than one fruit develops, remove it. Cultivars that produce smaller, seeded fruit may have more than one fruit per node, so there is no need to remove other fruit. Otherwise, using sharp scissors, remove all but one fruit per leaf.

Also, remove the first 4-6 side skates that appear. Removing these side runners near the base of the plant will get higher yields. It is possible to leave other runners above the base of the plant.


Persistent foliage
Fall foliage
Semi persistent foliage
Sunny exposure
Partial shade exposure
Shaded exposure
Suitable for mild climates
Sensitive to cold
Not widespread plant
Patented variety

Description:

The 'Granny Smith' apple tree is a fruit plant.

It produces large, round, slightly flattened fruits of a bright light green color.

They have an acidulous and fragrant pulp and reach maturity from November to April.

The fruits of the 'Granny Smith' apple have a very good conservation.


The apple tree: forms of cultivation and pruning

Advice for the cultivation of the apple tree

The cultivation of the apple tree is now practiced according to forms that must support not so much and not only the functionality of the single tree as that of the orchard as a whole. It is therefore the design and architecture of the orchard, preliminarily defined, which require the choice of a shape which, however, must also serve to shape the tree according to its natural vegetative "habitus" and within the space assigned to it.

Furthermore, the choice of training method must take into account the presumed response of the tree (or rather the cultivar / rootstock combination) to environmental conditions, pruning and other cultivation operations that will become necessary. It would be illusory and burdensome to believe that the subsequent way of raising the tree could cover design and setting errors or better, it would be possible to vary the pruning techniques or adopt chemical treatments (e.g. use of growth retardants), but this will require a series of onerous adaptive processes that are not always economically justified.
This does not mean to deny the role of pruning which remains a decisive practice for achieving the objectives of farming which aim, for the apple tree, in particular at:

  • limit the height of the crown, to govern the tree from the ground
  • accelerate the fruiting of the tree and therefore the productivity of the orchard
  • achieve a high quality of apples.

Generally in modern apple orchards, the tree, as a productive singularity, is sacrificed to the concept of "continuous row" imposed by the continuity of the plants very close to the row. The fruit-bearing walls of the row, therefore, when the foliage has filled the available space, will not offer solutions of continuity and with the pruning it will be possible to remedy the inevitable structural differences of the trees in this way any empty spaces in the row will be compensated through a greater development of the branches of neighboring plants. On the other hand, the principle remains that the tree must reach and maintain a balanced development between the different parts of the crown, favoring above all those at the bottom, with a conforming shape, just as the whole skeletal structure of the plant should look more like a cone that a spindle in any case, it must be avoided that unproductive areas are created inside the foliage (due to shading or growth of useless branches and / or competitive branches, or unwanted suckers) or that the remaining fruiting formations go subject to rapid exhaustion and aging.

The ideal shape

In general, in the choice of breeding, for the single rows the concept of simplifying the shape as much as possible prevails, and nothing appears simpler and more natural than the spindle shape, with a skeleton reduced to only the central, vertical axis, on which they are inserted a variable number of branches (6-8), relatively short (because the plants are very close together in the row), not necessarily permanent, generally bent or brought to an almost horizontal position in this way both the crown as a whole and the individual branches reach , when the skeleton is completed, a very balanced, almost natural conformation, which allows its maintenance and efficiency over time, as well as allowing a good distribution of air and light.

Even the palmette, despite being a flattened shape, uses the same concepts: the branches will no longer be so long as to cross until they cover the distance between one plant and another, but will have a space within which to develop without intersecting: thus avoid shaded areas with excessive vegetation or imbalance between the upper and lower branches to damage the quality of the fruit. Another reason, which generally pushes to avoid building up large skeletal structures, is precisely the difficulty of maintaining a good balance over time between the different branches, respecting the relative hierarchies which, however, especially in the case of the palmette, must be maintained over time when the hair is thick and high. Furthermore, with a complex skeletal structure, production pruning would become more difficult in relation to the need to avoid excessive aging of the fruiting formations.

Fruit plant treatments

Fusetto

The spindle is a shape that has had a lot of luck in Europe following the general trend towards increasing planting densities and reducing the size of trees. However, it is applied with numerous variations, justified by the plant-environment interaction.

Free spindle

It is a natural method that takes into account above all the vegetative habitat.

  • In the standard varieties, the bending of the shoots (with weights or ties), commensurate with their vigor and position, are considered essential. The topping of subapical or terminal shoots with a too narrow angle or which tend to compete with the arrow remains valid, but not subordinate. The need to lighten the tip in May is confirmed, that is, the thinning of the small shoots at the top of the branches, removing the most vigorous and at a narrow angle. The tree, thus pruned, will save the arrow but will tend to widen in the inter-row, so attention must be paid to the structural modification of the skeleton and the excessive bulk and thickening of the crown with possible negative consequences on the quality of the product.
  • Even more natural and free are the criteria followed for the breeding of spurs for which the folds of the branches are inadvisable, they can be reoriented and "open" with the possible help of spacers (retractors) but not curved with weights and ties if not temporarily during the first growing season. Most of the spurs, in fact, put to good use very quickly, so even during the breeding phase it may be necessary to trim the apical branches of one year if weak, to counteract the basitonia and attract vegetation upwards.

Free and early palmette

The palmette is the most widespread form for the cultivation of the apple tree when the trees are vigorous, and the very fertile soils the distances in the row cannot be less than 2.3-2.80 m with smaller spans the palmette would not be practicable if not distorting the structure of the branches, given the long cut (required by the same production pruning) and therefore the inevitable intersection of the branches with the consequent undesired concentration of vegetative zones.

The principles of palmette breeding pruning coincide in fact with those described for the spindle to which we refer. In general, the palmette is raised freely with only the shortening cut of the shaft to the plant (the others are thinning cuts in winter or green pruning) but, where possible, the whole-top shaft is preferred (without shortening), provided it has good early nursery branches (early palmette). Of course, some differences in method remain (eg elimination of vigorous shoots oriented towards the inter-row). Compared to the spindle, pruning is a little more elaborate in order to breed well balanced branches, therefore the use of at least 3 wires (and poles) is still valid to facilitate the various interventions (ligatures, etc.) and use the inclination of the branches as a corrective to regulate its growth. Breeding tests, including recent ones, show that with the palmette the productive yield is very good up to even exceeding the spindle although for the purpose of quality, the spindle offers better predisposition. But for vigorous varieties such as Jonagold, the palmette is preferable to the spindle.

Recommended product

Pruner

Production pruning

From the knowledge indicated above, it is possible to draw a series of indications regarding the production pruning methods, and the execution times of the cesori interventions, which must be adapted to the type of habitus (eg spur or standard) of the cultivar considered and to the time of execution of the operation. The cut allows you to change the relationships between the various components of the plant (root / crown ratio, number of branches, number of lamburde, density of the aerial part, etc.), and therefore to determine the productive load of the tree, and also the canopy efficiency level.

The time of execution of the intervention also becomes important. Green pruning, for example, is recommended in particular for red fruit varieties in order to improve the color of the fruit although it is not clear what is the best time to carry out the intervention, which may present, as a downside, that of causing a reduction in the size of the individual fruits, due to the reduction of the synthesizing surface. Pruning must not, even in the production phase, induce excessive vegetative growth, which steals resources from the development of the fruits, in particular during the cell division phase (in the first 5-7 weeks from full flowering), which, in the apple tree, as it is it has been said, it represents a very delicate moment for the final production result. The problem of the renewal of the lamburde must also be seen from a light availability perspective: in fact, not only does a high luminous availability favor the maintenance of a good productivity of the lamburde, but it favors the differentiation and development of new lamburde, whose dimensions are often productive vigor index.

The apple tree can bear fruit well, even for years, without any pruning but with the only help of an accurate and timely chemical or manual thinning of the fruit. This thesis has been supported and also demonstrated on Golden Delicious, but all pruning scholars agree that in the untrimmed tree - while practicing the thinning of the fruits - there is a rapid aging and exhaustion of the fruiting formations and of the individual lamburde which strongly penalizes the quality of the fruit (size, color, organoleptic characteristics). Therefore, production pruning must be well cared for and possibly performed every year, also in order to avoid alternating production and therefore physiological imbalances that also negatively affect the ripening and shelf life of the fruit.

A good rule of thumb in modern forms of intensive cultivation is to gradually remove, every year, a quota of fruiting branches (about 20-30%), thus eliminating the lamburde that have already achieved double fruiting, that is, probably , at the 3rd and 5th year of life of the supporting branch. Although some authors suggest a diversified pruning based on the age of the fruiting formations, a simpler criterion based on the "return cuts" of the fruiting branches is often preferred, these are diverted to a predestined branch to restore another reproductive cycle or four years earlier, than a further renewal or total export of the branch itself (Fig. 4). The ideal would be to have, after pruning, from 50 to 60% of lamburde (and / or brindilli) on 2-3-year-old branches, from 25 to 30% on 4-5-year-old branches and only 10-15 % on wood over 5 years old. Normally, it is difficult to define the extent of pruning based on the load of mixed buds, because the variability of fruit set from variety to variety and from area to area is too different.


Video: How to PRUNE FRUIT TREES u0026 SHRUBS The Quick u0026 Dirty 2021


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