[nafex] Open Centre versus Central Leader

Matt Demmon mdemmon at gmail.com
Mon Apr 2 08:37:12 EDT 2012


This is a highly subjective question, but here's my 2 cents:

Certain species, or even cultivars, as you point out, have different
growth forms. I think you can probably prune any tree to any shape
that you want, as long as you maximize sunlight and horizontal growth
to encourage fruiting, and minimize vigorous vertical growth. However,
I suspect that trying to prune a highly upright pear to an open center
will be a lot more work, and possibly just turn into an ugly mess. ;)
Other trees, such as peaches, seem to work very well as an open
center, and might be difficult to prune to a central leader.

Other considerations, such as your spacing, equipment, and desire for
low height might affect your pruning technique.

There are plenty of members on this list I'm sure who have small lots
with many trees planted close together, and they do a lot of pruning,
and still get the amount of fruit they want. So you can probably do
just about anything, as long as you figure out how to do it so the
tree produces fruit.

-matt
z5 se MI

On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 8:28 AM, Caren Kirk <quirky at videotron.ca> wrote:
>  I am hoping someone can help me clear up some confusion I have with
> open centre and central leader pruning techniques. I have read certain
> books on fruit tree care that state categorically that central leader is
> the best way to prune, giving a better shaped tree. I have read others
> that state that for the home orchardist, open centre technique is the
> one way to guarantee smaller trees for easy harvest. I have read further
> material that suggests that pruning technique is particular to species
> (e.g. peaches should be open centre, pears, central leader), and even
> varieties (certain upright apples, central leader, other drooping forms,
> open centre).
>
> Can anyone offer any insight/ advice/ clarifications? By the way I have
> apples, crab apples, pears, plums, peach, apricot and cherries.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Caren Kirk
> St. Jerome, QC
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