[NAFEX] Dormant vs. summer pruning

tanis cuff tanistanis at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 1 13:42:02 EST 2003

R Halgren,

Advice from a conservative pruner:  If you remove more than 25% of live 
branches in the spring, the tree will vigorously try to replace them 
("watersprouts").  Removing too much during summer pruning, which tends to 
cause a reduction in vigor, can also cause vigorous growth the next year.  I 
recommend doing big removals as gradually as possible; and prop up the 
leaning tree if you have to.  In the end, you'll have a better tree.

Another way to get a better tree is to find some rootstocks, if all the 
nurseries aren't sold out yet, grow them this year, collect scion from your 
poor tree next winter, graft onto the rootstocks next spring.  Good clean 
fun, and you can give the extras away, to spread the tree's genetics around.

Tanis Cuff, s.WI

p.s. to Group :  Was it Shigo who said "we can prune any time the tree's 
leaves are not forming nor falling" ?

>From: "Robert G. Halgren" <halgren at msu.edu>
>Reply-To: halgren at msu.edu,North American Fruit Explorers 
><nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
>To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
>Subject: [NAFEX] Dormant vs. summer pruning
>Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 13:19:10 -0500
>Can someone explain when you would prune fruit trees (apples) while dormant 
>as opposed summer pruning?  Believe it or not, my trees are all still 
>reasonably dormant here in central MI (well, they are greening up the 
>cambium, but not yet budding out).
>The apple trees that came with the house have not been pruned in the better 
>part of 15 years, I'd estimate.  I took a fair amount of wood out last 
>spring (about 25%), and need to take a whole lot more. So, when is the best 
>time to remove a large amount of wood?
>And, assuming I wanted to take 3/4+ of a tree out this year, when would be 
>the best time to do it?  This one has the main trunk leaning well out over 
>the pasture next door (at about a 45% angle, at that).  The horses like it, 
>but I'm afraid the tree is going to fall over.  There is a nice upright 
>leader coming off the main trunk (well above the graft, if there is one), 
>and I was considering just whacking off the offending growth right there.  
>It is pretty much all or nothing.  The chainsaw is sharp...
>Robert G. Halgren, Ph.D.
>Bioinformatics Specialist
>GTSF - Michigan State University
>(517) 353-7236    -   halgren at msu.edu
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