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Warm Climate Apple Pruning

Posted by applenut So. Calif. 10a (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 20:34

This is a bump from the "notes on chilling-hour thread" answering NilaJones' question on why we wanted thin, droopy branches on the Dixie Red Delight tree.
"Why that goal? I hope people don't mind the threadjack. I am awfully curious!

The tree looks very happy to me, despite the odd shape."
With our lack of chill apple trees tend to have a very vertical growth habit that makes lots of leaves but not much fruit. Sometimes branches near the base of the trunk will parallel it and be taller than the central leader. Other varieties like this neglected Fuji in a back yard has lots of vertical growth and produces way too many scaffolds; you see the mummified remains of a few apples but nothing like it can be. People just assume that the variety is not suited to our climate, which is not the case at all; when trained and pruned well it give a heavy crop of huge apples.

The other problem is it's 20 feet tall and no one can pick or prune out the fireblight. By training the tree when young to have drooping branches, the productivity is like night and day and you can achieve size control on even very vigorous rootstocks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Warm Climate Apple Pruning

Do you have a picture of one of the so CA apples with the correct pruning? I am just starting out with a new tree and want to get it right.

RE: Warm Climate Apple Pruning

Well, the secret is that it's not much different than how high-density apple orchards are trained in cold climates, only we use much higher-vigor rootstocks. The Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture has a good slide show on the attached link of how to achieve this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Training new trees

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