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 Bare wood on one-year old apple branches. 
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Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:09 am
Posts: 139
Location: Canby, OR Z8
Post Bare wood on one-year old apple branches.
This year I didn't head back my (4-year old) apple trees' growth from last season, although I did adequate thinning. This has left some quite long whippy growth with massive quantities of blossoms higher up. But these 1-year old branches also have considerable bare wood on their lower halves. Plenty of buds that either never swelled, or swelled up then dried up and fell away, but never leafed out at all. All the leafing is on the top half or third of these scions.
My question is, will these buds be viable next year? If I head back to them next dormant season, will they grow or are they likely to be dead?

Thu May 04, 2006 8:02 am

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Tstoehr, ...I'd hoped someone else (Ted) would have taken a stab at this one... Here's mine: the growth hormone in an apple tree is drawn to the farthest buds on a whip (I think that's what you meant by "scion") --- Therefore, all that blooming and growth at the tip. If you've a 'Tip-bearing' variety --- even more so. Apparently, there is only 'so much' hormone, and only the farthest buds (both fruit & vegetative) were activated, leaving the others (closer to the trunk) dormant, or 'latent' {present but invisible or inactive; lying hidden and undeveloped}.

I think those buds will be viable next spring ... as you "head back to them next dormant season." I envision them like the 'stubs' I've cleft-grafted on a plum tree this spring. These limbs were from 2 to 6 years old, and are sending shoots from their latent buds (below the cut) more vigorous than the grafted scions (that have all taken!).

It will be interesting to learn if you get fruit from those spindly limb tips on your apple this season..? I'd watch it close - if the set's heavy - that could be a real limb-breaker! Just thin good, and prune them for stability 'this Winter.'

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Fri May 12, 2006 11:16 am
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Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2004 10:23 pm
Posts: 95
Viron has given you some good information. Do watch and see where the fruit is or will be forming. To "encourage" sprouting of the "blind" (no buds on wood) tie the long spindly branch below horizontal. This upsets the flow of hormones and just might trigger some latent buds to grow. If you see any evidence of buds on the blind wood remove an notch of bark above the bud, this should cause it to start growing.
Best of fruiting

Thu May 18, 2006 1:10 am
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