Trees not the right shape

BrianW23March 17, 2014

My girlfriend's parents are trying to grow an apple tree and some cherry trees but they think they are pruning wrong because the trees are growing in a strange, shapeless kind of way with branches growing where they shouldn't. How can they change this?

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Colorado State University Extension offers a free fact sheet on training and pruning young fruit trees. Your girl friend's parents may find it helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Training and Pruning Fruit Trees

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 4:09PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

There are many books on the subject and many posts throughout GardenWeb (especially in the Fruit & Orchards Forum) that address this. There is just way way way too much information to cover in a single post. If you have specific questions, those might be addressed on an individual basis, but I don't think anyone is going to be able to cover the entire subject here.

Once you understand some of the basics, you are going to need to choose a particular pruning style (there are multiple methods of pruning apple trees) and determine related specifics (clearance, height, number of scaffolds, etc). After a little research and decision making, the next step is to jump in (ie. grab the pruners)!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 4:20PM
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Thank you both for your answers. I have sent my girlfriend the link and she has the GardenWeb address. I'll keep searching for specific information as well.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 4:30PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

visit a local orchard.. you will be stunned at how ugly PROPERLY PRUNED fruit trees are ... its frankly, the best way to SEE how its done... and a great afternoon in nature .....

they are pruned for the harvest ... and the development of fruit...

not really for some backyard aesthetic ...

in other words... we dont let mother nature shape a fruit tree ... its all about being proactive ... once or twice per season ....

as noted.. much more info in the fruit forum ....


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 5:39PM
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IME, learning how to prune correctly is a very visual and hands-on process........pretty hard to absorb just by reading :-) And fruit trees require even more of an experiential process as the method in which they are pruned plays a big factor on how well they may produce fruit. Ken's suggestion has a lot of merit - seeing it done in person goes a very long way in learning the process.

If that is not possible, there are various YouTube videos that illustrate pruning very graphically and one book in particular offers very clear, very detailed instructions as well a great illustrations - The AHS's Pruning and Training. Worth checking to see if in library or book store.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 2:47PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Yeah, the old saying that 'a picture is worth a thousand words' should be replaced, in this case, by 'a video may be worth ten-thousand words'. But, even a video or three may leave you with lots of questions.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:32PM
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Thanks everybody. The problem is, without seeing the trees myself, I can't say if there is actually anything wrong with them but they don't seem to be having much success generally with trees. Thanks for your help anyway.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:49PM
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