Re: a couple questions regarding limb spreaders/spacers
Mitch, good questions;
You get your best growth on a limb when it’s heading straight up, unfortunately. If you bend it while growing, that will stunt it. If you are building the main scaffolding for a tree, I’d let it grow fully ‘up’ this *
season – then, while dormant the following season, place the spreading devices. If you are looking to produce fruit spurs and branching, which is much of what ‘summer pruning’ is about, now’s a great time for that.*
note, if you leave a branch ‘un-bent’ to obtain maximum growth, don’t allow it to compete with the main trunk.. That can sap the main tree and form a ‘weak crotch.’ If it’s competing, pinch out some of it’s (the limb's) tip growth, forcing it to branch some this season and slowing it up a bit. Also, you can always bend a limb out ‘slightly,’ just enough to show it who’s boss - and still allow enough growth to build a sturdy branched tree. ..Also, don’t leave too much fruit on young limbs, it weighs them down unnecessarily and at this stage that energy is best spent on more tree, not seed.
To ‘bring up’ a drooping branch isn’t easy.. I think it’s best to tie it to the main trunk, or prop it up from below with a notched board. When I’ve done this, I would trim some of the new growth from the end to ‘beef up’ the remaining branch. Sometimes you can turn them into a useful branch, most times not ... then you begin planning for a replacement scaffold branch further up the trunk.
…now I can get back to searching things online I know nothing about … with hopes someone who does will guide me - love the collective mind