I’ve heard a couple times here and elsewhere that if you cut a twig down to 3 leaves above the ring of leaves at the base of the twig, it causes the development of fruit wood/fruiting buds. I’d like more information on this. Is it true? Why does it happen, physiologically? Does it only happen on apples and pears, or is it true of stone fruits too? What season should this type of cut be made?
I keep trying to track this topic down or find it on some research site, or ag-college reports, or suchlike, but can’t find it. What is the evidence for it? Is it just hearsay? I’m open to personal accounts too–I’m not discounting word-of-mouth info, but I’d like to know more. Thanks!
I’m a little skeptical also. But applenut seems to have firsthand experience with apple and I’m a believer in his authority. My concern is on a high vigor plant. I’d think it would just keep pushing vigorous growth. For apples and pears it has to promote fruiting spurs to be effective. Maybe it does. I have lots of experience doing it on stone fruits. I’d say it’s only use there to to reduce height. Things like plum, apricot, peach, and nectarine set flower buds on vertical or horizontal shoots whether pinched or not.
I picked up the tip from C. Lee Calhoun, author of “Old Southern Apples”. He employs it at the Southern Heritage Apple Collection at Horne Creek Farm State Historic Park, where he and State Horticulturist Jason Bowen maintain the collection of 400 or so apple varieties this way on single cordon Bud. 9 espaliers. They only get pruned once or twice a year, so the spurs aren’t as short as he’d like, but it’s a 150 mile trip for him and he has other things to do in life. The trees would quickly revert to a vegetative habit if it wasn’t for this pinching back.
While encouraging a grafted Jonagold limb to get longer I pruned all the side branches to about three leaves. This limb seems to have started fruiting earlier than the others. I believe but can’t verify that it helped speed up flowering/fruiting. Bill
I have been to Home Creek preservation orchard many times. Its a very important site for insuring the preservation of old apple variety but as far as I know they place little or no emphasis on fruit production. For someone with a goal of high production or high fruit quality rather than preservation, I’m not sure their model is valid.
i have trimmed many trees with the sole intent of having them bear fruit at manageable heights, and, looking back, inadvertently realized that it is probably not hearsay(re: fruiting bud development), but additionally, probably doesn’t have to be a certain number of rungs to have the ‘effect’. More active fruiting spurs could mean more fruits, but size of fruits seem to be compromised. I could only surmise that there must be an optimal leafy growth-to-fruiting spur ratio.
it is applicable to stone fruits too, or any other temperate fruit tree which exclusively bear flowers on fruiting spurs.