How many of you use the "notching" technique to encourage fruiting

@barry Did you remove a strip of bark or simply cut all the way around?

Tried the notching method on fig trees with poor results. Tried BAP last year and the results were amazing to say the least. Almost every nub that I applied the mixture to produced new growth and branched. If I didn’t see it I would have believed it.

The guy with the handle ThaiFigs takes the credit for this technique. I just followed suit and glad I did.

Found both BAP and Lanolin on Ebay.

I didn’t remove bark. I just ringed it, applying enough pressure that I felt like the blade was going all the way through the bark and cambium layers. I was surprised because I thought doing this would perhaps slow things down and initiate flower buds the following summer, but these flowered the following spring only a month or two after cutting. I did not know that was possible. These were the only flowers anywhere on the leader.

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This technique should work for inducing dwarfing and precocity, however once the wound callouses – the effect will be gone. You might take a look at bark inversion.

Good point gsims. We have such a long growing season here that even if the scoring slowed the leader for a month or two there’s still several months left for to put on major vertical growth.

Good points indeed. Do you have any suggestions, tips, or favorite links to point us to?

The typical effect of bark inversion is 1) larger/better quality fruits 2) more flowers. However, the effect is not permanent, it must be repeated once new layers of cambium develop. The guy credited with promoting this technique is Karl Sax. A 1957 article from popular mechanics describes his antics – (Popular Mechanics - ‎Vol. 107, No. 2, p 113). This article has already been posted here –

I get a bit of a sick feeling in my stomach seeing him tie those apples into knots, much akin to the same feeling when I see a wolf pacing back and forth in a zoo cage.

This study by Arakawa et al – is a nice demonstration of increase in fruiting wood development and better fruit quality:

"Effects of Five Methods of Bark Inversion and Girdling on the Tree Growth and Fruit Quality of ‘Megumi’ Apple. "Journal of the Japanese Society for Horticultural Science. Vol. 67 (1998) No. 5 P 721-727

One interesting thing they do is bark exchange between cultivars. What I’d like to try is exchanging the bark from a dwarfing rootstock or natural dwarf apple. A slight incompatibility between the topstock and the exchange bark would, I theorize, cause the dwarfing effect to be permanent. Effectively this would be a interstem graft added ‘after the fact.’


I had forgotten the article, but did read it at the time. Thanks for bringing me up to speed.

Interesting thought on the bark inversion. When is the right time to do this? Would you need to wait until the bark is slipping to be able get it off cleanly?

Out of curiosity, what would happen if you had a runaway leader and just cut off the top foot and grafted it back on upside down? Would it have the same effect as bending the leader over?

I don’t know the answer but the concept is interesting enough to give it a try. Pretty sure this would need to be done while the bark is slipping or at least when the bark being added is slipping.

Absolutely-- the bark must be slipping, so it must be attempted during active growth.

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@zendog, I believe we have someone here that did that with an apple. He grafted a scion on upside down by accident. In the short term it did work! Buds grew downward initially and then bent upwards to produce quite horizontal branch growth. I’ll dig around on the forum and find out the long term health of the scion.

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Wasn’t that seedy that grafted upside down?

I found the post by Seedy that I am thinking of in the first time grafters thread but I couldn’t figure out to past it here

Use the little chain link button below his post, then copy and paste that link. And maybe we’ll call out @Seedy this way, and he’ll update us when he gets an email notification!

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Looks like it died, possibly was just pushing growth from the scion but the bump may have broken it loose also

I have 2 figs that I think I’ll try BAP with. Do you know if BAP is used on stone fruit trees ever to promote branching in certain directions? I have a close planting of 3 peaches and would prefer all the growth branching towards the outside and not the middle.

I have thought of this too, but in a different way. I imagine that one way you might do this with less risk of killing the tree would be to bridge-graft in scions of the interstem around the trunk one year. After they take you could come back in the next year and remove the vigorous bark and let the bridge grafts do the work.

I have some burr-knots on M7 4 year old trees that I’m considering doing this to. I figure if i were to use Geneva scions it might also increase the productivity of my trees. My Zestar on M7 probably needs M27 scions. Although it is a precocious scion for me, it is also extremely vigorous.

I don’t see why it wouldn’t work on stone fruit. Searching online growers use the BAP plant hormone on just about everything.