Scoring and Notching: A Method in Tree Training

Scoring is the technique of cutting into the bark of a young tree. By cutting into the bark, to the cambium layer, which is just below the bark and before the wood (xylem) disrupts hormone and photosynthate flow. Use a dull knife to cut and bruise the bark in a semicircle around the trunk or branch. For a more dramatic effect cut deeper or two semicircles on opposite sides of a branch and an inch or two apart. It is allright that they overlap each other. I use this on limbs that are too vigorous. That is they are at least 2/3 as big as the main stem. When the scoring is done will have different effects on the limb or tree. Timing is everything.

  • Initiate branching: score six to seven weeks before bloom or before bud swell.
  • Stunt growth: score during bloom time.
  • Promote return bloom: score 40 to 50 days after bloom
  • Encourage ripening: score about 60 days after bloom.


Another method I use to promote branching and fruit spur development is notching. Notching is total removal of a piece of bark. To promote a branch, notch above a node or bud. To promote a fruiting spur or fruiting bud, notch below a node or bud.

Pome News, Spring 2005