Bending branches down promotes fruiting, but why?

Sure, if it’s an established tree. Maybe almost definitely is strong, but it’s not a particularly bold claim to say that bending below horizontal redistributes vigor in the system more so than stops it altogether. If everything was fine she’d expect two or three weeks of redistribution of hormones and then growth along the bent length, starting with the highest nodes. If there’s no recovery at all, I would bet against the bending being the cause, and say that the slow down was imminent anyway. I could absolutely be wrong.


Great information. Definitely worth doing. I am just afraid to run into them with my riding mower. How long do you really keep these branches bent over? Just before and during during blooming time?

Usually bending branches is a permanent training method, but the weight of the fruit does most of the training once trees begin producing fruit. Less vigorous upright annual shoots are used to keep fruiting wood young, which is an acquired skill as far as how many and exactly what size to leave while pruning.

You start with theories and then study results, and voila, 20 years later, you actually almost know what you are doing. Of course, some varieties are a lot easier to manage than others.


I appreciate the extra information. I need to try this out on some newer trees I have. They are in their 5-6 greening and have some branches are more upright, thus no fruit or very little fruit. Time to experiment next year.

I agree.

Can anyone post any links for under cutting branches/scaffolds to help assist in bending a branch down to level. I haven’t found anything online.

I believe it has to do with the hormones. Branches bent down produce fruiting hormones, where as upright branches do not. Maybe I am wrong but I thought that was the reasoning. I have a book that explained that at one time.

Thanks @danzeb !!

I had a different interpretation of what you were referring to. I thought you were referring to “Kerf” cuts to bend branches. If so, here is an additional link: How to cut a hinge?

The lower they hang down the easier it is to grow big beautiful fruit that deer can more easily take and break you heart

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So is the consensus that bending branches by attaching twine to the trunk and tying out on the branch the easiest and best method for accomplishing branch angling? Right now I bend my branches by putting mason line far out on the limb and attaching it to ground staples. Makes the orchard look like a Trapeze circus and honestly makes mowing near impossible, so I’m looking for better methods. I have 40 plus apple/pear/Asian pear trees and it’s starting to get tiresome.

I cut a third the way through the branch on the side I’m bending it (you would break the branch if you did it on the side you are pulling away from. It takes at least 3 cuts to loosen it much, sometimes I use as many as 6- but only as needed.

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That’s interesting that you can cut 1/3 into the branch multiple times, and the branch heals and stays alive. I’d like to see a before and after pictures

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Bending branches

Can start with clothes pins attached above a emerging shoot.

To get a better crotch angle .

At finger size branches , spreaders are desirable.

1” x3” x ? Batton board with a “V” notch in each end works.

Have fashioned these out of branches from pruning, sawing a notch on the spot.

Having a bucket full of these of different lengths to choose from

1”x 1” x ? sticks with a finishing nail drove in each end , and ground to a point, also work , various lengths.

Painting them white will help keeping track of them if they fall out.


Yes , ! That’s my original art work .

Milk jugs ,etc full of water can be used.

If hung with a stiff wire “S” hook , they are easy to move , adjust. Also amount of water.

Also bags of soil + tape is good.

Strings tied to the ground ,/ rocks will work …

But are a nightmare for mowing . !

I think 65% is a good angle , don’t want it much flatter.


Be sure to take some and post them.

I love that modern art picaso it got a good laugh. I’ve tried most of those methods to no avail. We get high winds in my area so any spacers blow out week after week. I may give the cement cups/milk jugs method a whirl. Just keep them on short leads or close hooks.

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I wired key scaffolds down when young. Use 1/2 steel rods as the stake, and keep them in the mulched area so not to interfere with mowing. If you do need to expand out of the mulch, mark the rods/wires with a duct tape flag at near ground level. Once the tree is 4 years old, remove. Learn to prune to continue shaping

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I wonder if this would work with nut trees. I have some grafted hickory and hicans that are slow to bearing, and I wonder if branch bending would accelerate fruit bud formation.

Testing it out on a hican tree.