Vase shape tree – The majority of fruit trees are this shape when purchased. The aim of this method is to form a framework of branches in the shape of a vase, leaving the centre open. Therefore fruit in the centre of the tree will have access to sunlight and create better air circulation within the tree.
During the first year after planting, your fruit tree will have developed tiny branches (feathers) coming away from the main branches. Prune as follows:
* Treat the feathers as buds and cut the branches back to one (feather) that is facing outwards.
* Shorten the feather back to a bud that is also pointing outwards. The bud on the feather will take over the role of the new leader. Each branch will then send out several side branches (laterals), select two which are growing upwards, outward and slightly sideways direction to be new branch leaders and form the framework of the tree.
* Remove all feathers growing in the centre of the tree.
* Any cross growing branches growing into the centre of the tree should also be removed
* Always cut on an angle approximately 10mm above an outward facing bud.
For the first 2-3 years (till desired height is reached), prune following the above directions to eventually form the framework for a strong vase shaped tree. Once this is achieved the main purpose of pruning is to cut out dead wood, remove cross growing limbs, thin overcrowded growth and to cut back the laterals according to the fruiting habit of the individual fruit tree.
Each kind of fruit tree has it’s own individual fruiting and growth habit. Some fruit on the current spring growth, others on branches formed the previous year and some on fruiting spurs, which may bear for several years. Therefore it’s important to know the habit of your individual tree before you begin pruning.
Pruning of Peaches and Nectarines
Peaches and nectarines bear fruit on laterals produced during the previous summer which produce fruit for one season only. Remove these laterals (branches) each year and shorten back the new season fruiting laterals. The aim is to have new laterals shooting from the main framework branches each year and to keep the fruit close to the main branches where the best fruit is produced. Careful pruning will encourage the growth of new laterals coming on each year for continuity of cropping. It is important that the last season’s growth be pruned to ensure adequate growth of fruiting wood and to keep the fruit developing close to the main framework branches.
Cut back large heavy branches in stages to avoid unnecessary damage to the tree. Also remove any suckers that may be growing from beneath the graft union.
IMMEDIATELY after pruning spray with Lime Sulfur and follow 3-4 weeks later with Copper Oxychloride, this ensures a good winter clean up of your tree killing any bugs and fungus that harbor along the stems, thus minimizing re-infestation of pests and diseases. Apply and application of Richgro Fruit Fertilizer in early spring and summer.