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What does "moderate vigor" look like?

Posted by oldryder (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 16:19

Read the "carpet mulch" thread with interest.

Much discussion revolved around the idea that mulch is used (or not) as needed to maintain moderate vigor of the trees as this condition produces the best fruit.

So ... how would a rookie with 3-6 year old apple, cherry, & plum trees identify trees with low, moderate, and excessive vigor.

I assume "low vigor" would be characterized by little growth and few blossoms year to year. other indicators are ...?

Excessive vigor would include many vertical new growths and maybe water sprouts?. other indicators are ...?

as always thanks in advance for advice. Those of you with springtime in full swing count your blessings. Up here in the north it's been a cold one for the record books and we are STILL consistently 15 to 20 degrees below normal highs.!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What does "moderate vigor" look like?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 16:42

Vigor is often expressed as the length of new growth each year. For a non bearing young tree new growth will be a lot more than on a mature bearing tree. For apple I'd want 3-4ft on a young tree and ~12 inches on a bearing tree. Your climate would support less growth particularly on a young tree than mine. I don't need to be concerned about winter damage and my growing season is two months longer.

The stone fruit can grow a lot more than apples or pears. In some climates there could be 4-5ft growth even on moderate vigor bearing trees. I try not to get that much and summer prune if I do.

RE: What does "moderate vigor" look like?

Here I like a mature peach to have most one year shoots in the 12-18" range, evenly distributed throughout the tree. On a moderately vigorous tree between say 5 and 20 years old there will also be some more vigorous water sprouts that I would want to be able to remove entirely. If there is an inadequate supply of right sized shoots I will stub cut water sprouts to a couple of inches to encourage more shoots the next year.

Apple trees are more difficult to specify because they have such a wide range of growth habits, fruiting habits and rootstocks.

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