Since it is very intersting to me I’d like to bring up this topic once more.
Did everyone see the new videos from Dave Wilson nursery about pruning their byoc-style test orchard? Here is one of them:
What do you think?
I kind of like their videos, cause Tom Spellman is really trying to keep things simple. I always wondered if that pruning style is applicable to my climate in 7a with considerable shorter growing season, more rainfall and less sunlight. Thats why I planted a row of seedlings (peaches and apricots) to test byoc. My trees are coming into their third season, so nothing exciting to report right now.
One of my unsettled questions was how they would treat older trees with less new wood inside the canopy. I always wondered if their fruiting zones would over time wander more and more to the outer zones of the canopy. So there is the answer, it looks like it does. They are having the same issues as other training systems (eg. open center) have, maybe even more so, since I feel a normal open center canopy does allow more light contribution inside the canopy than byoc does.
They are “renewing” the canopy by quite heavy winter pruning with serious cuts. I am afraid those cuts to a peach tree in my climate would mean its end in 5 to 10 years. Maybe thats no problem since peaches seem to stay productive for only aprox 20-30 years anyways.
I will go on following byoc pruning style in my “test block” to come to my own conclusions. But watching that video did to a point approve my suspicion that byoc will shorten the life of a fruit tree in my climate. I don’t agonize about this thought but it is something to consider. That said I have to admit my other peach trees, trained more traditional, are not doing better. Every year I have to try hard to maintain some young wood lower in the canopy and every year there is some dieback here and there. I even lost some scaffolds for no apparent reason to dieback. So in the end in my climate no training system might be able to keep my peach trees healthy and productive for longer than 20 years. Actually from the look of my trees right now I would estimate 15 years to be more accurate.
To be clear, I like their videos. They are interesting to watch even when having some background knowledge about pruning anyways. Until now I felt they did avoid this specific topic about byoc in older trees. Maybe cause their orchard simply is still young. For me this was kind of the missing puzzle stone in their series.