[NAFEX] Multi-Graft Pruning Strategy

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Fri Dec 2 18:54:36 EST 2011

I'm interested in hearing what others say. I like to shape to an open
center. I feel I get great production and I like how the trees look,
particularly in blossom. It may not be the most space-saving, but
multi-grafting would make up for that, wouldn't it? It wasn't necessarily
thought out - more habit. I had grown many plums and almonds before growing
other trees, and they were fond of open center.I continued my habit through
the years.

How would that work for grapes or kiwis? I read a study once that found best
grape productivity when one pruned off every third bunch, with about no
other pruning. Vineyards prune in a way that encourages productivity and
easy access, and I can't argue with their results. My most productive grapes
were not pruned at all in any way, which made them rambly and not easy to
harvest. I still got more as a homeowner-handpicker than I did from pruned
vines, even leaving hundreds of pounds for the birds. But then, on all
things grape, I would defer to Lon.

~ Stephen

-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Sherlock Terry
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2011 5:43 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: [NAFEX] Multi-Graft Pruning Strategy


This fall I picked and tasted at the "Heirloom Zoo" orchard of Poverty  
Lane in NH. They have a couple of hundred Mac and Cortland trees that  
they have either top worked or added a single branch of a new variety.  
It's a pretty inspiring place, but also a little chaotic, hence the  
"Zoo" in the title.

I've been thinking about making some multi-graft trees of my own next  
spring for some obscure and borderline hardy fruits here in VT  
(medlars, quince, apricots, peaches, sweet cherries, european plums,  
asian pears, etc). I see it as a way to save space and to trial new  
fruits. I was thinking that open center/vase shaped pruning may be a  
tidy way to go. I looked back though my bookshelf and did a quick  
search on the web, there are lots of illustrations, but I'm having  
trouble finding many photos of trees pruned this way. Do any of you  
have any pics of open center trees? Can you prune most any fruit tree  
this way (and do folks ever attempt it with kiwis or grapes)? How do  
you handle multi-grafts?


North/Central VT
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