July 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm #257837
I’ve recently bought some bare root trees: plums, cherries and peaches. I’m a complete novice with fruit tress and so I’ve bought a book on growing fruit in Australia, but it doesn’t really answer my question, which is whether I should prune the trees now and if so how much.
The cards on the trees all say “prune at planting to promote new growth”. But in the book, he says it’s best to prune stone fruit in early spring or late autumn to avoid fungal disease. He says with most of the trees to select the framework branches an, remove all others, but don’t head cut the ones you keep. He doesn’t say anything about laterals. both the peach and the plums have plenty of small lateral growths.
I looked elsewhere and some advice says to leave it until the trees are established (no indication of how to tell), do the initial pruning in the first year (so does that mean now, or in 12 months time) and I also watched a video of one bloke planting a peach tree where he lopped the whole tree off at the main trunk about 3′ from the ground.
So I’m totally confused about whether I should leave them until it warms up, prune them back now, lop them off completely at knee height or just sit on the ground and rock back and forth with my head in my hands!
If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be most appreciative. They’ve been in the ground now for 3 weeks and we’ve had plenty of rain.July 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm #533237
I like the idea of sitting on the ground rocking back and forth, perhaps saying “ohhhmmmm”. 😉
I always prune as I plant, although I’m always reluctant and don’t really know why I do it, probably just because the book I have says to do that. I wouldn’t be lopping it at the main trunk, though. I’ve got one to do now that is an apricot. It has already got a nice framework of four branches forming the ‘vase’ shape. They’re several feet long from where the come from the main trunk, so I’ll cut those back to about a third of their length to an outward facing bud. I usually look for a nice plump looking bud in the position I want and prune to that rather than an exact length.July 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm #533238
The cherries are pretty well formed and have been pruned already to a vase before I bought them. But the peach and plums are more of a pyramid shape, they haven’t been pruned at all as far as I can tell.
If I’m going to do a vase shape, I’m going to have to make some pretty severe cuts I think. The first time will be the hardest 🙂
I’m just not sure if I should do it now, or wait until spring…July 15, 2013 at 1:31 am #533239
If they have lost their leaves wait till spring for now.July 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm #533240
No leaves on any of them when I bought them. They look like dead twigs actually 🙂 Hard to imagine that you can rip something out of the ground, cut off most of it’s roots and branches, stick it in the ground and it will actually survive. Amazing things…July 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm #533241
It’s partly to do with the no leaves thing, there is no sap flow. It’s why if you cut them now you increase the risk of something getting into the cut as the tree can’t seal it off.July 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm #533242
That makes sense. Procrastination is my favourite pastime, so I guess I’ll leave it until spring. It was only when I read the label that I thought maybe I should be doing it now.
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