Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pruning Before & After

This is the 2nd year for the espalier trees.  All are stone fruit trees.  They are irrigated the same and fed the same “Dr. Earth”.  Some perform better than others.  This evening, it was time to break out the pruning shears and make a few snips.

Always start with sharp pruning shears that are clean.  I use rubbing alcohol to clean mine.  It evaporates quickly leaving no chance for rust.  I have a couple of sharpeners in the shed to keep the blade sharp.  They’re cheap and very portable.

That’s it for pruning advice except to clip at an angle with the blade close to a joint.  The very best resource is prune

Santa Rosa Plum This tree really thrives in this climate.  Fruit did form this year but the immature tree was unable to hold it.

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O’Henry Peach   Both years this tree has produced fruit.  This spring there were about 3 dozen peaches but a wind storm knocked the fruit from the young branches.  This is a tasty variety of peach.  Only a small amount is pruned so the leaves can continue to shade the fruit.DSC_1825_4735DSC_1831_4741

Granny Smith Apple  Only 1 apple this season and not much pruning.  Here the top lateral is being formed.  In the photo on the right the longest vertical branch is now making a gentle turn to the right to begin developing laterally.

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Warren Pear  This tree along with the apple bend easily and grow easily to an espalier form.  There was damage to the leaves earlier in the spring and an aphid attack a couple of weeks ago; but the pear is continuing to form.  There have been no blossoms.

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Fantasia Nectarine  A score of “not-so-great” has been handed out to the nectarine.  Only 3 lateral branches have formed with sparse amounts of leaves.  It did bloom this spring; but no fruit has formed yet. 

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I believe the branches have been sunburned.  Any diagnosis and recommendations are welcome.  I will either learn to graft with this tree or start all over with a new tree in the winter.  Like the peach, the nectarine doesn’t get much pruning to allow the leaves to shade the branches.

DSC_1836_4746 Blenheim Apricot  This must be THE most vigorous of any of the fruit trees planted as espalier.  I’ve given it a number of prunings this summer.  Small fruit did form in early spring; but immaturity ruled and I’ll just have to wait for another year.

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I was chasing sunlight by the time I was cleaning up the apricot pruning.  That’s how it works in the summer…the sun chases you until you go inside then you chase the sun until it gives up.

2 comments:

Aunt Snow said...

I just love the look of espaliered fruit trees - must be my childhood reading of English picture books!

I've often thought of trying it, but my move to California somehow resulted in less hands-on gardening for me. Your look marvelous, especially the apricot - is the classic tree for it!

I wish you'd come help me figure out how to prune my large mature apricot tree. Poor thing only bore a half-dozen fruits this year.

Bill Bird said...

Smart move by cleaning off the pruners with alcohol before every pruning session. At one time the Sacramento Valley and foothills produced pears and lots of them. That is until Pear Blight moved in and destroyed hundreds of acres worth of planting. Nobody could figure out how it spread from one tree to another -- until finally -- way too late -- it was discovered that the virus was moving from tree to tree via the use of pruners.

I started pruning last year. My first job was HORRIBLE. I have learned a lot since then. The rule of thumb is this: When in doubt? PRUNE! If you make a mistake -- don't worry -- it WILL grow back.

Another thing I've noticed -- and I don't know if this is true or not -- but a tree just seems to grow faster and bigger once you start whacking away on it with some pruning shears.