[NAFEX] apple pruning question

dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com
Mon Mar 19 13:53:38 EDT 2007


Sorry about the link for the pruning guide.  Here's another try!


http://www.eap.mcgill.ca/CPTFP_7.htm


Dennis Norton
Royal Oak Farm Orchard
http://www.royaloakfarmorchard.com
http://www.theorchardkeeper.blogspot.com
http://www.revivalhymn.com
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: dmnorton at royaloakfarmorchard.com 
  To: North American Fruit Explorers 
  Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 10:35 AM
  Subject: Re: [NAFEX] apple pruning question


  Jerry,

  It is not actually the pruning in the winter that causes the water sprouts.  It's the way the tree is being pruned.   Pruning for training purposes is usually done in spring and summer and any water sprouts that exist can be pruned out at the same time.  This practice will cause you to have to do less dormant pruning, but all of your thinning out should be done when the tree is dormant.  Here's a section from one of the guides I use to train our staff and is found on the internet at http://www.eap.mcgill.ca/CPTFP_7.htm.  
  All pruning cuts can be classified in two major categories, termed heading back and thinning out. The differences in tree growth responses to heading back versus thinning out can be traced to their differential effects on the pattern of growth regulator movement in the pruned branch. In thinning out, an entire shoot or branch is removed at its junction with a lateral or scaffold branch, or with the trunk. In contrast, heading back involves removing only a portion of a branch and interrupting the normal movement of growth regulators in the remaining branch section. The more severe the heading back in 1- year old wood, the stronger the vegetative growth response from buds just below the cut.   Heading back in older wood  results in the conversion of potentially fruitful spurs to vigorous, non-fruitful vegetative shoots. The response to heading back can vary depending on several factors. Naturally vigorous cultivars with strong, upright growth, such as 'Delicious', exhibit a greater growth response to heading back than less vigorous cultivars. Trees of any cultivar in high vigor produce strong vegetative growth when headed back. Unlike upright branches, heading back comparable horizontal branches results in little increase in total vegetative growth over comparably oriented unpruned branches.  However, the heading back cut stimulates more vigorous growth from buds near the cut, proportionately reducing branch development along the horizontal limb. The presence of a heavy crop can reduce or even eliminate the usual growth response to heading back. In contrast to heading back, thinning out cuts are not accompanied by the dramatic changes in growth pattern favoring development of vigorous vegetative growth. Because normal growth-regulator movement in the intact parts of the branch remains largely uninterrupted, shoot growth and stem thickening proceed normally.  

  If you already have an issue with water sprouts, it is best to get rid of them with summer pruning.  August is typically the best time of the summer, depending on your climate zone.  But if you are having water sprout problems, it is primarily caused from improper dormant pruning.  Hope this helps.

  Dennis Norton
  Royal Oak Farm Orchard
  http://www.royaloakfarmorchard.com
  http://www.theorchardkeeper.blogspot.com
  http://www.revivalhymn.com
    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Jerrydana5 at aol.com 
    To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org 
    Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2007 9:19 PM
    Subject: [NAFEX] apple pruning question


    I have picked up from some letters lately that pruing some apples in the winter encouraged tons of water sprouts and that some varieties are better pruned in the summer to avoid that.  Is that true?  What varities are better summer-pruned and when is a good time to do that?  Jerry in southern Indiana




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