View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:19 am



Reply to topic  [ 74 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
 Time to Prune! 
Author Message

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
OK - further business regarding yesterday’s pruning demonstration for the Yamhill County Master Gardeners near Grand Island. Though I didn’t re-read my post (several up) regarding the same program from last year, I’m still open to questions from those in attendance, or any of our regular readers.

I’d received a nice compliment from the fellow who arranged this event yesterday (who also posts here) as he described receiving calls soon after last years event to have me back again ‘this year.’ He also described this years class quickly reaching their 20 person limit. When asked if anyone had taken the class last year, I believe only one person raised their hand - which basically allowed me to repeat myself :roll:

After introducing and comparing tools, we ventured into the neighboring commercial orchards. The first was too large and well established for me to mess with, I’d only brought my 8 foot orchard ladder! The next block were cherries, pruned for mechanical harvest. We were able to discuss their up-right growth habit and point out where a ‘home orchardist’ would likely make some major cuts. We also discussed wounds and pruning techniques.

Our best candidate's for a pruning demonstration were a massive commercial block of espaliered apples, between heavy posts and trained to wires, approximately 15 years old. That didn’t allow me to circle a tree, or demonstrate my favorite style of ‘vase,’ or open center pruning - but they were apples, with growth habits we’re all familiar with. Though we lacked a variety of fruiting trees, most pruning techniques are applicable to ‘most’ fruit trees; with one exception being figs. And though I mixed myself up delivering this bit of information, let me set it straight: - Prune the latest blooming trees first - and the first trees to bloom last!

And again, as far as ‘times to prune in Oregon (Willamette Valley);’ if I had a small orchard of 3 or 4 fruit trees, I’d wait until mid to late February. If I had lots of trees, I’d begin pruning the apples, pears, quince and European prunes as I harvested them. I’ve never witnessed winter-kill or tip dieback on those trees, which is the reason most often stated when ‘waiting’ for the worst of winter to pass before pruning. Holding off on cherries, Asian plums and peaches would be as much to lessen the opportunity of pathogens getting into the open wounds as fear of dieback in the Willamette Valley.

- OK, I’ll shut up - but it would be great to see more of my fellow Yamhillian’s at our Home Orchard Society classes, scion exchange, picnics, tours and All About Fruit Show!

- And before I forget; here’s the commercial pruning tools and link I’d described yesterday: - Lowell’s Tools - http://www.lowellstools.com/ (ma & pa outfit) - my favorite loppers being - Hickok, either 28 or 32 inch; hand pruners being – ‘ARS-120’ or - ARS V-8's -- and if you’ve read this far - search through the many pages of topics on this forum and open up links I’m sure will be of interest to you - if you have a question - ask it! Otherwise, stay dry 8)

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:48 pm
Profile

Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:10 am
Posts: 93
Location: Corvallis
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Viron wrote:
And again, as far as - times to prune in Oregon (Willamette Valley); - if I had a small orchard of 3 or 4 fruit trees, I'd wait until mid to late February.


Thank you!

Viron wrote:
- if you have a question - ask it! Otherwise, stay dry


What is the largest diameter trunk that can still be pruned to promote branching for an open center?

Dave


Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:31 am
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
What is the largest diameter trunk that can still be pruned to promote branching for an open center?

Dave,

There are ‘latent buds’ under the bark of every apple (if not every) tree. If you want to convert a ‘central leader’ to an ‘open vase’ tree you’d have to consider the loss of energy collecting ‘tree’ that you’d be removing. If the new, and whatever growth left, was not enough to feed the root system - the roots would die.

If you’re starting your ‘open center’ three feet up, there’d likely be very few existing branches below. The ‘latent buds’ would sprout around the wound and you could train them well after one season’s growth. I would not sacrifice more than two-fifths of the tree above that cut!

I’d described at the Saturday event, friends, with very poorly shaped 3 year old fruit trees that I recommended (and they allowed) be cut nearly in half - forcing future growth into re-forming scaffold limbs. But we were only looking at an inch and a half diameter cuts.

Your question leaves me with so much speculation I can hardly give an answer beyond the ‘logic’ I’ve tried to describe :roll: A 2.5 to 3 inch cut would recover well - but balancing the inevitable root-loss for a ‘change in structure’ may not be worth the trade...

Early pruning & training is soooo important … and usually the years that are neglected, as owners feel they’ll - just let it grow for a few years then prune it when it starts looking more like it should. And, the proportionately ‘big cuts’ necessary to correct a poorly branched or shaped tree are beyond most folks comfort level. There’s definitely a skill to making the ‘Big Cuts’ - short of ‘topping’ a fine specimen...

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:08 pm
Profile

Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:10 am
Posts: 93
Location: Corvallis
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Viron wrote:
Your question leaves me with so much speculation I can hardly give an answer beyond the ‘logic’ I’ve tried to describe


Your sharing of that logic is a gift. Extra learning! Thank you.

Viron wrote:
There are ‘latent buds’ under the bark of every apple (if not every) tree. If you want to convert a ‘central leader’ to an ‘open vase’ tree you’d have to consider the loss of energy collecting ‘tree’ that you’d be removing. If the new and whatever growth left was not enough to feed the root system - roots would die. ...

I’d described at the Saturday event, friends, with very poorly shaped 3 year old fruit trees that I recommended (and they allowed) be cut nearly in half - forcing future growth into re-forming scaffold limbs. But we were only looking at an inch and a half diameter cuts....

A 2.5 to 3 inch cut would recover well - but balancing the inevitable root-loss for a ]change in structure’ may not be worth the trade...


Very enlightening. Thank you. Now you have stimulated another, related question. I've got a young tree that is maybe 3/4" diameter down low, with lots of little branches started at all heights. To convert this to open leader, how low can it be cut and still leave enough growth to feed the roots come the growing season? Would you determine this in terms of percentage of tree, or number of branches, or...?


Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:39 pm
Profile

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:30 pm
Posts: 42
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Viron,

I have a three year old orchard with about 40 trees mostly semi dwarf. I have a question about pruning. I get the whorl placement about every 18-24 " . Where I am struggling is how and when to prune branches back ...how many off shoot branches should be left off the main branches and how long...

Trees are about 8-10 foot high and two established whorls.

Looking for some advise....

Orchard is in Umatilla County, Oregon

Thanks in advance

dan or


Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:22 pm
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Dan, if you’re leaving the ‘whorls’ you’re going for central leaders(?). 8-10 feet is some pretty good growth in only three years! Have you been pruning them or are they leggy?

I’d suggest pruning for balance or symmetry. When I’ve an aggressive limb I’ll shorten it (to a downward facing bud) and tie or spread (bend) it to slow the nutrient flow. With less aggressive limbs I may only remove their terminal bud, allowing the limb to ‘beef up’ some as it produces side shoots and fruit spurs.

With a central leader, ‘branches’ will basically remain just that, ‘branches’ - emanating laterally at various levels from the trunk. When I think of ‘limbs’ I envision 3, 4 or 5 ‘scaffold limbs’ coming up and off a main trunk (open vase). You can have a blend of the two, modified leaders and such, but you can’t have both.

As for the ‘offshoot branches,’ that’s where the fruit happens. One of the neatest tricks of ‘summer pruning’ is the fact you can force multiple branching within one season. Every time they’re snipped and forced to branch - you end up with more fruit spurs. But as I described in the pruning class, too much of a thicket means poor air circulation and lots of thinning. And as much as we all want a decent crop, most years I spend hours (and hours) thinning! Some of that thinning can be alleviated by ‘thinning’ your limbs right now. - my favorite description of a well thinned/pruned tree is the ability to throw a cat through it! Though I wouldn’t advise it -- that leaves a fair amount of room between limbs, spurs, twigs, leaves and scaffolds!

And when you’re looking at those secondary limbs and stems, if they’re growing anywhere near level, they’ll not ‘sap’ the tree or turn into monsters; most are harmless. We had a good discussion on what to leave. Those droopy twiggy stems will likely terminate with a fruit spur - perfect! But if they’re coming more from the top of a limb than its side, or bottom, just shorten or remove them; there’s no reason to let them sap the branch, and what it doesn’t take will be used elsewhere.

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:27 pm
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Dave, you’re welcome. A young tree is likely resilient enough to take more loss. Its energy is basically in the root system and would likely be eager to push enough new growth to minimize root loss. And, it wouldn’t take ‘that much’ new growth to feed the roots - just don’t bend, spread or tip-pinch that new growth -- feed, mulch, water and protect it.

How low do you want your upper-most branches? If you want to ‘step into’ the tree, I’d consider two feet above the ground. A better location would be right above a ‘whole’ of limbs nearest the point you’d like it to open up. Just envision the multiple sprouts shooting up from where you make the cut becoming semi-trunks, gently spreading away from each other and eventually carrying the load of the tree.

Close on the heels of pruning is training, of which we covered a bit at the pruning demonstration mentioned above - but first things first in your case.

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:47 pm
Profile

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:30 pm
Posts: 42
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Viron wrote:
Dan, if you’re leaving the ‘whorls’ you’re going for central leaders(?). 8-10 feet is some pretty good growth in only three years! Have you been pruning them or are they leggy?

I have pruned the trees each year and you are correct I am going for a central leader on every tree except peaches and apricots.

I’d suggest pruning for balance or symmetry. When I’ve an aggressive limb I’ll shorten it (to a downward facing bud) and tie or spread (bend) it to slow the nutrient flow. With less aggressive limbs I may only remove their terminal bud, allowing the limb to ‘beef up’ some as it produces side shoots and fruit spurs.

Did a bunch of end of branch pruning last year as well as cutting the central leader to promote whorls.

With a central leader, ‘branches’ will basically remain just that, ‘branches’ - emanating laterally at various levels from the trunk. When I think of ‘limbs’ I envision 3, 4 or 5 ‘scaffold limbs’ coming up and off a main trunk (open vase). You can have a blend of the two, modified leaders and such, but you can’t have both.

I am confused by this? I have branches growing out of the main trunk I call them whorls. Off the main branches are scaffold limbs? My thinking is that the main branches should be pruned to promote side limbs.??

As for the ‘offshoot branches,’ that’s where the fruit happens. One of the neatest tricks of ‘summer pruning’ is the fact you can force multiple branching within one season. Every time they’re snipped and forced to branch - you end up with more fruit spurs. But as I described in the pruning class, too much of a thicket means poor air circulation and lots of thinning. And as much as we all want a decent crop, most years I spend hours (and hours) thinning! Some of that thinning can be alleviated by ‘thinning’ your limbs right now. - my favorite description of a well thinned/pruned tree is the ability to throw a cat through it! Though I wouldn’t advise it -- that leaves a fair amount of room between limbs, spurs, twigs, leaves and scaffolds!

This is what I am shooting for = lots of air circulation.

And when you’re looking at those secondary limbs and stems, if they’re growing anywhere near level, they’ll not ‘sap’ the tree or turn into monsters; most are harmless. We had a good discussion on what to leave. Those droopy twiggy stems will likely terminate with a fruit spur - perfect! But if they’re coming more from the top of a limb than its side, or bottom, just shorten or remove them; there’s no reason to let them sap the branch, and what it doesn’t take will be used elsewhere.


All upward or downward shoots have / will be pruned.

Let's see if I have this .... whorls are a good thing for a central leader system.... main branches from the whorls should be pruned back to promote side branching and to strengthen the main branch. Up and down growth is pruned off and side limbs of the main branches are pruned back to promote fruiting spurs?

Are there trees at the HOS Arboretum that would be good models to observe?

Some of the trees are going into their fourth year...


Thanks for the continuing advise

dan or


Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:30 am
Profile

Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:10 am
Posts: 93
Location: Corvallis
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Viron, I believe I understand both the message and the logic behind it. Thank you.


Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:49 pm
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Dan,

-- With a central leader, ‘branches’ will basically remain just that, ‘branches’ - emanating laterally at various levels from the trunk. When I think of ‘limbs’ I envision 3, 4 or 5 ‘scaffold limbs’ coming up and off a main trunk (open vase). You can have a blend of the two, modified leaders and such, but you can’t have both.

“I am confused by this? I have branches growing out of the main trunk I call them whorls. Off the main branches are scaffold limbs? My thinking is that the main branches should be pruned to promote side limbs.??”

I envision the central leader form like that of a fir tree; with near level limbs growing out and away from the trunk in ‘whorls.’ I prune for ‘open vase’ trees, where branches spread up and away from the trunk at approximately sixty degree angles, forming the entire canopy as they branch into ever smaller limbs and stems. You have more, but smaller ‘scaffold limbs,’ that’s all - I have fewer, but larger scaffold limbs. And, “the main branches should be pruned to promote side limbs.”

“Let's see if I have this .... whorls are a good thing for a central leader system.... main branches from the whorls should be pruned back to promote side branching and to strengthen the main branch. Up and down growth is pruned off and side limbs of the main branches are pruned back to promote fruiting spurs?” - Yes, for a Central Leader trained fruit tree.

"Are there trees at the HOS Arboretum that would be good models to observe?" - I believe so; in fact one ‘stand alone’ tree near the center I was turned loose on years ago and I believe it’s vase pruned...

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:00 am
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Hey guys - here's an opportunity: Pruning Workshop
Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 9:00 AM at the HOS Arboretum
Registration is through Clackamas Community College.
Pre-registration is preferred, but last minute registrations will be accepted at the gate. More information soon...

Check out the rest of the lineup: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:22 am
Profile

Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:46 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Bandon Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Hi Y'all,

I surfed in here this evening, joined, read four years worth of "Time to Prune! with host Viron" and easily quadrupled my knowledge of the subject - yes, I'm that new to Apple Orchardry.

And I have a pretty big project: About a dozen full sized apple trees that the (now 84 year old) property owner says were there before he was born on the place. Yeah, they're big. And oh yeah, they are ugly too! One tree, the old man says, once had three truck loads of apples on it. He believes it is a King, and that in his memory, it's never been pruned, except by our 80 mile an hour wind storms... some of the trees are hollow, etc, it's crazy limbs all over the place.

But I'm like Viron - I'm at my best when I'm pruning, I so love it, the hours fly by - it is so cool to know I am not alone with this enjoyment. Maybe for me it's having turned 50, but I like the peacefulness and yet there is plenty to pay attention to with every cut, even if it's just the huckleberries and the rhodies here on my own brushy coastal acreage near Bandon by the Sea. When I tell people from elsewhere that there were are places on my property "so thick I had never been there" they hardly believe it but that's really the way stuff grows here on the coast - thick. Over the last 8 years here I've made fast friends with my pruners and loppers (and worn out a few of each plus a few chain saw teeth) so now it's not so bad. Less to chop, less to lop, and oh yeah, it was fun while it lasted.

So I'm turning to this new project - a 100 plus year old coastal orchard, and now to my first question: Is there a place I could post a few "pre-op" photos? Maybe folks would say "Oh, those are way too far gone... like Viron's Granpaw's, or maybe folks would say these are do-oable. While I'm a lopin' fool... the apples I'm brand new to. I know I can't hurt these trees, and here's question number two: Are they a waste of time?

Hey, if you like pruning like I do, well I think that's really cool.

Bob Frazier, Bandon Oregon


Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:46 pm
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Bob - ya made my day! So there’s two of us! First, do post the photos; I wish I could give you the best procedure for doing that - maybe our far more technically talented web-master, Steven might send you some suggestions on that... I’m told our server has plenty of space and a picture’s still worth a thousand words. Plus, I’d just love to see a Coastal Orchard. I’m partial to the Coast, my family nearly moved there when I was young (wish they had) and I’ve got close kin on the northern coast. But – they’ve had a heckofa time with fruit trees. My inland uncle describes the coastal residents as ‘fruit starved,’ and every time he visits he carts over boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables - as he returns with sea food & Chinook!

Do ya know what you’ve got as far as varieties (or, “cultivars”)? We’ve got a great ID guy - and the age of the orchard helps ID them as well. [had a laugh at the pruning seminar when I’d make a special effort to accurately describe horticultural terms ‘even though the Master Gardeners knew them, they told me not to bother - as I described how I’ve become accustomed to being ‘politely corrected’ here on the forum - and that I’ve tried to develop a habit of using the ‘proper terms’ when addressing the public - they scoffed!] Anyway, I’m sitting here with a near half inch diameter bare patch of skin on my right middle pruning finger from today’s work in the trees. First sunshine I’ve seen in - months - so I went nuts! But even the droning airplanes sounded good, and the Redwing blackbird’s back! I really tore into my oldest fig tree, a Desert King. Every time I feel I’ve got those things figured out - I try something knew, something for which I’ll have to keep an eye on this summer to find out if it works! Had a friend suggest I hold off on the figs for a month, incase we have some wood damaging cold weather. The way I figured is since I’m basically thinning and heading back some lengthy shoots, and not ‘aiming them’ toward a downward or outward facing bud - dieback wouldn’t matter. I’ll see.

I give you all kinds of credit for having read, what, four pages..? Did I mention how much enjoyment I’ve had pruning my Japanese Lace-leaf maple..? You’d mentioned your specimen shrubs and it reminded me of the detail you can get with one of these maples. Well, I haven’t touched it yet this year, but today I was nearly dancing between an Asian plum, two varieties (4 trees) of figs, fuzzy kiwi and three apple trees. It truly is a blast, sculpting life! I’d done some crazy grafting on that Asian plum in which I’d wrapped a trunk shoot up and over the apex of the scaffold limbs, grafting it to trunk as it passed over. Everything’s still tied in place - and it’s gorgeous! I’ll likely get into the pears tomorrow.

I’d suggest the key to those big trees is taking your time - you can really take them out of balance by doing it all at once. And, be careful removing moss so you don’t allow the limb tops to be sunburned - that’s if you get enough sun to burn down there 8) I’d love to take on some older trees now that I’m far more experienced. What truly amazes me is how, after all those years ‘latent’ buds are still ready to sprout when they’re cut near the trunks. What I’d be looking at is where you’d like to establish some replacement limbs. Granted, you need sun to hit any area you’re looking to stimulate, but given that, and some cuts that would stimulate those latent buds, you’d have your choice of some lengthy one-year shoots to gradually train into limbs.

Working in a local orchard three years ago I was among some - 60 year old apple and pear trees. I’d been hired by the daughter who was living on her parent’s place. One day her father drove into the orchard with his truck to watch me work. I climbed down to talk and he said, with a tear in his eye, “Those trees haven’t looked that good since my wife died!” “She’s the one who took care of them.” He asked which trees she’d asked me to do, I pointed them out and he said, “Do em all!” - so I tore into their prune, cherry, figs and crabapples as well. Last year I asked her if she’d allow me to spend some time re-establishing limbs on the old apples. “Sure!” - she actually thinks I’m fairly clever cause the first year I’d talked her into’ letting me graft up ten trees that, when finished, were delivered to her sister in Eastern Oregon, who now has her own set of ‘childhood fruit trees!’ - so I tied over some ‘water sprouts’ on a couple of apple trees and am excited about training them into replacement limbs in a few weeks.

That first year in their orchard was really something though! I’d told them I could haul away the debris - but that there was going to be a lot of it. On the edge of town, with around two acres, her husband said to just leave it and he’d burn it. Sure wish I’d have taken a ‘before & after’ photo of it. I was removing 15 year old ‘trees within trees,’ along with everything else that didn’t need to be there - and when I was finally done it looked like a small atomic bomb had hit - likely 3 feet of debris out to the drip line under each tree. And, I’d broken all the rules - like standing on the tip top of a ladder; climbing a long twisted ladder lodged against wood I actually removed (after climbing into the tree); and the ol ‘chainsaw in the tree’ (with me) law! But I’d done it before. The good thing about those big cuts and the major rejuvenating is that it’s a one time job, then it’s basically watershoots, tip pruning and thinning - along with rejuvenation, if you’re so inclined.

Man! and there I went again. Yes, I love to prune - and you’ve come to the right place. Post those pictures onto the end of this and we’ll go from there ~

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:35 am
Profile

Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:46 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Bandon Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Wow wow wow. There sure is a lot to pruning old trees. Today I thought I was doing great, oh yeah!

Then I found the Coos County Extension Service pamphlet on how to prune old trees in my mailbox when I got back home. :shock: We'll just say it was a day late for those trees.

They say to bring the top down first, and do so over a four year period. Not what I did! I basically detached the dead and shady out of the bottom, cut the crossed up stuff, whacked the wrong direction stuff, detached the down hangers, sliced the straight ups, and lopped the limbs the deer would for sure get. Oops!

And, they say removing water sprouts this time of year promises them that they'll grow back later. Ah shucks, I may have to live in some of these trees this summer!

Well there sure is a lot of ways to prune trees wrong - at least it looks like I've already learned most of them. :?

First: I took before and after photos on a couple of the apple trees - I'll see about starting a thread named "Before and After Pruning Photos", sort of to give back for Viron's multi year multi page monster effort here at "Time to Prune!"

Second, I need either a bigger ladder or some longer arms. Sheesh! Seriously, there are long tools besides a boom truck, right? How do you get your tall limbs down? :?:

Third, I found a great big horse shoe that someone hung on a limb a looong time ago... and it was barely showing, and the old gent who owns the property said they used to shoe the logging horses right there when he was a kid, but he hadn't ever noticed it due to all the dead branches and moss hiding it.

Fourth: If trees could talk - oh boy.

Fifth, who knew those sad looking little limbs were called spurs! :oops: I didn't.... now a few are called trimmings. Oops! Ok not all of them, since I can't even reach the top half of the trees on my ladder... and I did short trees today. Told you all I knew nothing about apples!

Sixth, Viron, there are so many trees on the property that I keep getting the varieties and particulars straight, so I'll have to put off answering about the specifics for awhile. I do know I "molacked" (molested and attacked) two apple trees today that were about 50 year old semi dwarfs, and yep, they are easier than the full size ones I have in front of me. I de-suckered a huge pear tree of some sort, and I trimmed up a fig that was oh so sad due to a grape vine entanglementation/strangulation. I'll prune the prunes if I ever have time, and before it's over probably go nutz in the two English walnut trees.



And that's all I'm admitting to. Anybody use apple wood for smoking? :wink:

Bob Frazier
Bandon, Oregon


Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:29 pm
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1144
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Time to Prune!
Here’s the link to the trees we’re talking about: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4640

Bob said: “They say to bring the top down first, and do so over a four year period. Not what I did! I basically detached the dead and shady out of the bottom, cut the crossed up stuff, whacked the wrong direction stuff, detached the down hangers, sliced the straight ups, and lopped the limbs the deer would for sure get. Oops!

- well, it’s hard to remove the ‘top’ when the ‘bottom’s’ an impenetrable thicket! I usually cut a ‘corridor’ toward the center for both my access and a way to pull out the ‘uprights.’ I see no problem with what you've done. But, their four year time-span is in an ‘ideal world!’ It’s meant to keep the tree in balance and perhaps ‘gently expose’ the tops of long shaded limbs to gradual sunlight - but who’s got that kind of time? And if you’re doing it for anyone but yourself - most want it done (yesterday) now.

And, they say removing water sprouts this time of year promises them that they'll grow back later.

- that’s pretty much right, though you’ve removed a lot more than ‘water shoots.’ Whenever you’re dormant pruning, the nutrients stored in the trunk and roots will push out growth equal to what ‘was there.’ It will now be in the form of water-shoots, but instead of removing 3 or 4 inch diameter one-time ‘water shoots,’ they’ll now be 3/8’s of an inch and perfect for hand pruners - not chain saws!

Think of the damage you’d inflict on growing and fruiting leaves & spurs if you were to do this in August. Plus, within a fully leafed out and growing tree you can hardly see what you’re doing. So forget ‘theory,’ Ya did fine! I visited with my artist friend and her little Apple Gnomes yesterday; there they stand with a gazillion watershoots on each. I told her it may be time to leave some of those trees for ‘summer pruning,’ perhaps to hone my skills, but mainly to see if they can be brought into balance. By removing the solar collectors when the sap’s up we’d be diminishing the energy store in the roots and balancing the trees - as opposed to the ‘let them collect all kinds of energy - send up nothing but water suckers - store that energy - have suckers removed - then do it again! We’ll see ~

Well there sure is a lot of ways to prune trees wrong

That’s where I think you’re happily wrong - the worst way to prune a tree is not at all! Too many folks avoid the task, then end up with an out of control leggy brokendown thicket! No two people would prune a tree the same and I could never do one identical to myself the next day - but as long as you understand the basics, and aren’t afraid to make the cuts, you’ll likely do fine.

I took before and after photos on a couple of the apple trees - I'll see about starting a thread named "Before and After Pruning Photos", sort of to give back for Viron's multi year multi page monster effort here at "Time to Prune!

Very nice - thanks!

Second, I need either a bigger ladder or some longer arms. Sheesh! Seriously, there are long tools besides a boom truck, right? How do you get your tall limbs down?

Excellent question, try this: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/article/36/ That’s the first thing I noticed, and actually the most dangerous - your step ladder… When you get to the outside ends of these trees you’ll need a very stable, likely 12 to 16 foot orchard ladder. Then’s when you decide how expensive and intensive you want this ‘hobby’ to get. Their stability is unbelievable, and though you can find heavy old wooden ones [/] I’d recommend an aluminum three-legged orchard ladder. I find I’m less inclined to move my heavy wooden one - so end up leaning more than I should to reach something I’d more easily have repositioned my 8 foot aluminum ...though my wooden one’s taller, and in the case the these big old trees, the only thing that would work. But, with a nice extension (pole) pruner with a ‘rope’ or cable activated cutting blade, you can do a fair amount of work from either the ground or [i]partially up a ladder - though not too high ...as they’re awkward and unstable.

I found a great big horse shoe that someone hung on a limb a looong time ago...

Yikes :shock: That’s something serious to consider when sawing into any fruit tree! I’ve got some nuts & bolts imbedded in one of mine, once having ‘secured’ a weak crotch with them. Just be prepared for that chainsaw to throw it’s chain at any moment - which means leaning back a bit more when sawing - and watch for sparks - and be ready to pull out instantly! Never a dull moment in a tree :roll:

If trees could talk - oh boy” - they’d likely cuss :mrgreen:

who knew those sad looking little limbs were called spurs!

Yup, they’re in there somewhere! One thing you need to remember, when you get to the “fine pruning” (something we’ve rarely discussed around here) is how to leave regenerative growth; a few ‘new buds’ poised to form replacement fruit spurs, especially in old trees. I suspect those old trees are deep within a pattern of alternate bearing; in which they’re loaded to near breaking one year - and sparse the next. So, when you begin removing, or seriously thinning their outsides, or the fruit producing portion of the tree, you’ll also be 'thinning fruit in advance' by removing long-time fruit spurs.

Some may cringe at the thought of removing any ‘potential’ fruit, but it’s a good and necessary thing in this case. 1) there’s too many old spurs to begin with. 2) you need air circulation to limit disease. 3) you need sunlight to stimulate new growth and renew spurs. ...4) you gotta make room for that flying cat :mrgreen:

And that's all I'm admitting to.

Well done, and that’s what it takes ...the initiative to get up and in there! You’ll learn from your mistakes - and remember, nothing’s worse than a Topped fruit tree - other than a removed fruit tree - and that’s the fate that awaits many if no one makes the effort you have. You have likely saved their lives - and set them up for another 25 to 50 years of neglect, if not healthy and appreciated production. And though we shouldn’t have to remind each other - be careful. Consider, if you’re not using some already, some nice clear rounded safety glasses, not the old time bulky things but the ‘Kareem Jabbar’ type. And don’t lean out from your ladder, and get out of the tree when you’re tired, or at least put down the chain saw! Just circle the tree while nibbling on something with your hand pruners or loppers ...and go from there.

Anybody use apple wood for smoking?I’ll refrain from my first thought ~ and remind you there’s oil mixed in with your chainsaw ‘dust,’ so you’d have to do like my brother and run the wood through a table saw or chipper to avoid the oil - but you likely know that. Thanks again for sharing.

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:19 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 74 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: