|These full-sized peach trees are 17 years old and lowered|
each year to 6 1/2 feet tall
Pruning at our orchard is a two step process: first for size control and secondly to enhance production. Pruning for size control is done the same way for all the fruit trees but pruning for production varies among the different types of fruit and how and where the fruit is produced on the tree.
We keep the size of all fruit trees so that the orchard is ladderless, easy and safe to perform work and harvest. This also allows us to plant trees closer together and get more fruit production in a smaller area. It also reduces our work load so we can get it done faster.
|The tallest branches are identified visually. |
These branches are visually traced to where
they join another branch somewhere
around 6 to 6 1/2 feet off of the ground.
Initial pruning for size control can begin before leaf drop, usually in November when leaves are beginning to turn color and we are sure all tree growth has stopped for the remainder of the year. If you have only a few trees to lower then you can wait until after all the leaves have dropped. If leaves are hanging on even into December you can turn off the water to the trees for two weeks and then turn the water back on again. This will stress the trees moderately and accelerate leaf drop.
Trees heights are lowered to 6 to 6 ½ feet tall using vutually all thinning cuts. The tallest limbs are identified, followed visually down to a point of attachment around 6 feet off of the ground and lowered to the proper height with thinning cuts.
The pruning cut is made at a "crotch" or
where two branches come together. This leaves
terminal buds intact to resume growth next spring.
Limbs that do not support fruit high enough to keep the fruit off of the ground or out of the reach of rabbits is removed with thinning cuts.