Espalier, fruiting spurs VS. Vegetative, thinning vs. Heading cuts

Hi everyone,

I have a few questions. This is for Asian pears.

With training espaliers, is it really necessary to cut off the trunks vertical growth for each layer? Or if there are already side branches at good locations on the trunk, I can just train the branches without doing a head cut to the trunk?

How do I identify of what I see is a fruiting spur or not? Could you show me via photos how each would look?

Whats the difference between a thinning cut and a heading cut?

Thanks everyone.


Hi Sheri,

I don’t grow Asian pears or do espalier, but I’ll take a shot at the other.

Fruiting spurs vs. vegetative spurs:

As for heading cuts vs. thinning cuts- A heading cut is when you shorten a given branch. A thinning cut is when you remove a branch altogether right at the point where it attaches to another branch.

If you need to both thin and shorten at at the same time you can do a thinning cut that leaves a shorter branch and cuts the longer part of the branch off at the crotch formed where the shorter branch attaches to the larger branch- that’s “drop-crotch” pruning.

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