[nafex] Pruning first-year planted sweet-cherry trees.

Steve sdw12986 at aol.com
Sun Aug 19 14:42:34 EDT 2012

On 8/15/2012 8:49 PM, Steven Covacci wrote:
> Group:
> I planted some grafted sweet-cherry trees this year and, at this point, all of them are forked/divided into two vertical main branches.  I think that having a crotch low on the tree is not good.. I'd like the tree to be shaped with a vertical central leader.
> Should I, at this time, remove one of the two so that there is only one?  I did this with one, and now it's just a single trunk with leaves (no branches) going up 8'; next year, I'll allow it to put out branches.
> Also, with rootstocks such as the Gisela series and New Root 1 (Zaiger), won't it happen that in a decade or a few decades, the scion will grow wider than the under-stock so that the scion will, eventually, break-off from the under-stock?
> Thank you,
> Steve; NJ

When I graft stone fruits, plums especially, I'll usually get two shoots 
that are about equal. I'll usually make the decision as to which one I 
will be keeping in the long run and pinch the top off of the other one. 
I keep both for a while in case something would go wrong with the one 
I'm keeping. Leaving more growing above the graft helps it to heal over 
the graft faster.
With 2 tall shoots growing late in the summer like this, I would just 
leave them alone until spring. Next spring, decide which one is to be 
your trunk. You could just cut the other one off, but I would only cut 
it about half way. Go through later and cut them more if they are 
growing a lot. I don't cut them off completely until my trunk in 3 or 4 
times the diameter of the extra shoot. I do this so the cut off shoot 
will heal over in one season. Our growing season is short. In New 
Jersey, you might not have to worry about that.

Steve (in the Adirondacks)

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