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 Care of Dwarf Fruit Trees 
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Post Care of Dwarf Fruit Trees
Hello. We bought 4 dwarf fruit trees on rootstock on April 1st of this year from a nursery but were not given any specific instructions as to the care i.e. pruning of the fruit trees. At this point the nursery is closed except by appointment. We have the following dwarf fruit trees: (1) lapins cherry; (2)4-in-1 disease resistant apple; (3) charlotte peach; (4) brooks plum.

We have them currently planted all in a line in a trench. We were not given verbal/written instructions that we had to prune the main header once we planted the trees. We were told that we could keep the trees in their original bags with sawdust for at least 2 wks. to 1 mo. as long as we kept the roots moist and they remained in a dark location. They have been planted in the trench for approx. 3 mos.

We have pinched off any flowers that came out. We live in Portland, OR.

My questions are these: (1) Is it too late to prune the trees at this time of year? (2) If it is too late, when should we first prune? (3) Do you have diagrams showing what the pruning entails? (4) What are the ph, sun & soil requirements of the 4 fruit trees mentioned above? (5) Can you recommend a book or website that might have the answers to my questions? We really need help & any you could give would be very much appreciated.

Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:50 am

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon

New trees in bags are usually 2 years old. They generally had their "main header" cut the first year, forming several "branches" below that cut.

Q-1: "I" always prune for an eventual "open vase" tree. There is also the "central leader" design... With the varieties you listed I'd not hesitate to train them to the open structure. If you decide to do this you will need to maintain a balance between the "limbs" I described. I let my young trees grow wild their first year with me (just like kids) - but, if any of those future limbs become too aggressive, or dominant - pinch out their tip! That'll teach 'em! It's best the limbs grow at a similar rate and size; if one becomes too dominate it will again become a "main header," and defeat that prior heading job. You can also pinch out the tip-growth of any other shoot competing with those "branches," and do snip off anything coming from below the graft union.

Q-2: Save your "real pruning" for February... Someone may guide you to some first year pruning advice, it should be easy to find; but here's mine. Leave the branches, snip the rest! You may also want to "aim" the branches; bending them with string or spreader-sticks to establish the "perfect" angle. You've plenty of time to ponder!

Q-3, 4, & 5: If you've got these trees "healed-in" for this season - leave them in until... February before transplanting to their permanent locations. Your home soil will ultimately become theirs. I'd always amend the planting hole, but have realized over the years that the roots will spread far beyond "that" hole, and you're kinda stuck with what you've got soil wise. They all like sun :D all they can get!

Take your time, keep them watered and protected, watch for hungry caterpillars (and deer), and do your homework. ...I just noticed that "4 in one" apple tree listed... Hadn't we discussed those earlier? Do watch that no one limb (i.e. golden delicious) gets away, or becomes dominate. Just tip-pinch it back as described above. And the only problem I see is the peach... but we've all got to try to grow at least one peach tree~ I was a slow learner - it took me four of them to realize they don't like my neighborhood :wink:

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Wed Aug 03, 2005 11:00 am
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