[Market-farming] Equipment for pruning large fruit trees

WENDY & RANDY GRAY hoemangray at embarqmail.com
Fri Aug 29 13:46:16 EDT 2008

Hi - 

Here in the Hood River valley in Oregon we have lots of fruit trees...a 35' pear tree amazes me! The trees here are pruned very early in their lives to get the desired shape for future years and there are a variety of "methods" depending upon what you what later on.  For additional information, I'm sure the Hood River County Experiment station has information they could share with you. 

>From my limited exposure (my husband/brother in-law used to be orchardists - pears, apples, cherries), they prune in the very early spring, removing large branches (with pole mounted chainsaws) or lopers and really "open" the trees up.  They use the 3-legged ladders - the tallest is 12' - to get up into the middle of the trees as needed. 

At home, we have a gala, golden, and Stark Crimson pear and they are on dwarf rootstock and still get to be 15' tall, but we can still prune most of them from the ground. 

Here's a link that might be of use: 


I'm sure Clark Seavort or Steve Castagnoli at the station would be happy to help if you called them. They probably even have a pruning primer they could send! 

The Good Fruit Grower is also a great source and may even have pictures of the various methods (i.e. central leader, multiple leader, and other names I can't remember). 

Good luck...and be safe...a pallet on a tractor up high scares me! 

Wendy in OR 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "lucy Owsley" <boulderbelt at voyager.net> 
To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org> 
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2008 4:13:44 AM (GMT-0800) America/Los_Angeles 
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Equipment for pruning large fruit trees 

we have several large fruit trees that my husband deals with using a combination of loppers and saws on long poles, ladders and pruning saws and loppers not on long poles. All of the equipment we have gotten used at auctions and have no particular preference in brands. you also will need either a cherry picker (very very expensive) or a fruit picker on a 12' pole to get at the tops of the trees (oh and again the ladder). we have 2 apple trees and a Kieffer pear that are too tall (over 35') for anyone to get the top fruit so it gets left every year. the trees came with the farm and all were in terrible shape-no pruning or harvesting for at least the past 10 years. This year the pear has beautiful fruit and the apples should have decent fruit in another 2 to 3 years 

I feel the real solution is to get a chain saw and "prune" the tree about 12" above the roots and plant dwarf/semi dwarf trees that we can deal with properly. 

Lucy Goodman 
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm 
Eaton, OH 

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