Keeping fruit trees small - Does Pruning Work

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by vix, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. vix

    vix Junior Member

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    Has anyone seen trees that have been kept a manageable size by pruning out the middle/top? If fruit trees are too tall they are hard to pick from but if pruning is done well they should be able to survive having their tops cut out if it gets done at the right time of year. I'm not sure if I've ever seen it done though, or if I'm just making stuff up again (as we permies are so good at doing!Imagination is a fine thing).
    Ideally in a hot climate I think fruit trees could be planted in a hole so the fruit is easy to get at , water goes in and doesn't evaporate and it would get fed by dust and insect/animal debris falling in all the time.
     
  2. Jeff Nugent

    Jeff Nugent Junior Member

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    You can and it's intensive maintanance.
    Click here to see an example of a very intensive (zone 1) system.
    I just downloaded it to make a point. It is on Vancouver island, BC Canada.
    There are over 200 apple varieties on less than a half acre.
    Bob prunes all year and the prunings are used as bud-wood for a very lucrative nursery.
    The tonnes of apples are actually a bonus/problem to him. :D
    All this and much, much more on an urban lot.
     
  3. trish

    trish Junior Member

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    hi, watching 'gardening aus' on the weekend, and they stated that weeping fruit trees bear more fruit and u can encourage this by 1. tying the branches gently with string to a tent peg in the ground to encourage 'droop' or 2. hanging shadecloth bags of small rocks and blood and bone to the branches to again encourage 'droop'. apparently this stresses the tree a bit into producing fruit instead of growing up.
    good luck.
    trish
     
  4. Chook Nut

    Chook Nut Junior Member

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    Hi Vix,

    Happy to throw my 2cents in with this one.... recently someone from the forum asked about espalier and where to get info on it. I mentioned about a search on the net.

    Seeing as i am planting a fair few fruit trees at the moment i thought i would drag out one of my books on fruit and veg.... the book is called 'Growing fruit and vegetables' by Richard Bird, publisher is Hermes House(a pretty cheap book). While it is for an English climate it goes through how to prune certain fruit trees at what time and exactly how via diagrams. The picture that Jeff Nugent has provided in the above post is an example called 'Cordon' which is growing apples(and some other fruit) on a 45degrees angle. This book explains where to prune and how to prune them to keep them at a manageble size(which is what you are after).

    This is something that i am tring to achieve at the moment in where i am growing a fruit grove but am using acacias, leceurna and pidgeon pea as the pioneer plants to help them as we suffer from extreme temperature and frost.(42Degrees last week). Depending on your climate range you may want to consider using pioneer plants to save having an uphill battle with your temperature where you live.

    This is exactly where permaculture principles come in instead of traditional methods that may not work, especially for your area.

    So in short, no you are not making stuff up you just may wish to combine what you are trying to achieve with other plants such as quick growing acacias and other legumes is all. Find the info on where and how to prune and you will succeed. Traditional orchard growers should be able to supply you with this info as well, whilst achieving a good sized harvest as Jeff has mentioned.

    Cheers and good luck

    Dave
     

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