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Pruning fruit trees—choose training system shapes for apple, peach & cherry trees (and more)
Dec 27, 2012 - Charlotte from Peaceful Valley
You’re ready to plant a fruit tree—but how do you decide on the best pruning and training system? We’ve got easy answers for you.
The University of California says pruning and training your fruit tree will improve it five ways:
* Keep it a manageable size
The three most popular shapes for fruit trees are Central Leader, Vase (or Open Center), and Modified Central Leader. Certain kinds of fruit trees are most productive with certain shapes. Some kinds of fruit trees can be trained in almost any way. We’ll show you the three shapes and list the trees that work best in that shape.
In our video series, Tricia prunes in each of these shapes—just follow the links below to watch the pertinent video.
For complete information about fruit trees, please consult our research-based videos and articles that are collected for you in Fruit Tree Central.
Central Leader training system
This diagram from the University of Missouri Extension shows how to prune in the Central Leader system from planting on through the third year.
Watch our video to see Tricia prune and train a fruit tree with a Central Leader.
A Central Leader shape is a conical, “Christmas tree” that is tall and tapered. The shape give the highest production, due to the light and air circulation, but it grows too tall to be practical for most home orchards. A home gardener can use this training system, though, when working with a dwarf tree.
A successful shape for: Apple, pear, persimmon & pecan trees.
Vase or Open Center training system
The University of Missouri Extension illustrates pruning in the Vase (or Open Center) system from planting on through the third year.
Tricia prunes and trains a Vase shaped fruit tree in our first video.
The Vase is the simplest shape for beginning orchardists to prune, and allows plentiful sunlight in its open center. The drawbacks are weak branches that need props when bearing fruit, and heavy shade that can develop from leaves on the upper branches of the tree.
A traditional shape for: Almond, apricot, cherry, fig, nectarine, olive, peach, pear, persimmon, plum & pomegranate trees.
Modified Central Leader training system
Watch our video to see how Tricia prunes and trains a fruit tree in this popular, all-purpose style.
Combining the best features of both the Central Leader and Vase systems (sturdy trunk and central light) the Modified Central Leader is the default choice. Easier to harvest than a tall Central Leader tree, and with stronger branches than an Open tree, this is also the best choice for all fruit trees in the sunny Southwest.
A good choice for: Almond, apple, apricot, cherry, fig, nectarine, olive, peach, pear, pecan, persimmon, plum, pluot, pomegranate & walnut trees.
Do you need to replace any of your pruning tools? We test pruning tools in our own orchards and recommend this select group for you, in a variety of price ranges. In the Modified Central Leader video Tricia uses the new Corona ComfortGEL handled 3/4” Bypass Pruners and 30” Bypass Loppers.
Now, go order your fruit trees, and you’ll know just how to prune and train them when they arrive at your door.
Categories: Fruit Trees, Apple Trees, Apricot Trees, Plum Trees, Pluot Trees, Cherry Trees, Peach Trees, Nectarine Trees, Pomegranate Trees, Pear Trees, Persimmon Trees, Citrus Trees, Jujube Trees, Mulberry Trees, Multi-Graft Trees, Quince Trees, Pruning & Cutting Tools, Pruning Saw, Loppers, Pruners, Edible Landscaping, Organic Gardening 101
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