KGB pruning system on other stone fruit?

Does anyone have any thoughts about using the KGB, Kym Green Bush, pruning system on stone fruit trees other than cherries? I have a couple cherry trees that I of prune using the KGB system that are going into third leaf the spring and I’ve been very pleased with the system and growth that I’ve gotten out of these cherries. Hopefully they will have fruit this year. I am curious as to the pros and cons of trying this system out on peaches, plums, or apricots and what the results of might indicate regarding the ease of pruning, compactness of tree, potential for less fruit thinning, and fruit quality.

For reference, I am in zone 7 in northern Virginia.


I thought it was called the FSB now?

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Have you read this?

Thank you for sharing that. That post covers a good bit of the basics of the KGB pruning system. I have implemented a number of those methods on the cherry trees I am growing. However I can’t help but wonder if the same system could work on peach trees. I’m sure it wouldn’t be worth while on a commercial scale or the big commercial guys would have already been doing it on peaches, but it seems interesting if it could be done on a gardener level.

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It should work with other stonefruit that readily fruit on upright shoots. I am not sure about peaches though. Upright shoots in peaches have the tendency to push the side buds the same growing season they are developed. These side shoots often don’t set flower buds the same season. The uprights itself develop flower buds only in the very last part of seasonal growth. Maybe for peaches the spanisch bush system might be better suited.

But I believe KGB should work with apricots or plums. Apricots fruit readily at strong growing shoots. They don’t have the tendency to push side buds the same season.

Since I had similar ideas like you I planted 3 apricot seedlings which I prune using KGB. They come into their 4th season now. I might get first flowers this year but probably they start to fruit next year. It are seedlings after all.

I learned some more about the KGB pruning system since I started those apricots. I did some mistakes but nothing I cannot repair.

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Thanks for the insight and sorry for the late reply. That is very good info. It sounds like you are doing exactly what I am trying to do. I have two apricot trees and I will probably grow one on a traditional open pruning style while pruning the other apricot to the KGB system and I look forward to comparing the two pruning styles.

@Earlyriser did you train your peach using KGB?

@carot is it possible to post a couple of pictures of your Apricot trained in KGB. I have an Aprium and considering to use KGB system.

I already removed the trees. I was testing with seedlings. Out of 3 trees one died. I wasn’t able to achive the KGB structure with those seedlings. They didn’t like the hard pruning at all. More importantly I didn’t get regrowth where it was needed. The trees responded with a lot of regrowth but not near the stumping cuts but all over the place and from the base of the trees. I do not know if grafted trees would behave differently but I doubt it. I always ended up with very dense trees with new vigorous growth in the center and dieback where I did the cuts.

Also flowering was sparse. At least those seedlings did not flower on last years growth. That may be due to the genes of those seedlings. Different varieties do flower differently. It were seedlings from orange red.

I still grow a fourth seedling from the same batch of fruits trained in open center system. That seedling is healthy and fruiting for 3 years now. My climate is challenging for apricots due to common late frost and wet springs. Most years I dont get fruit at all. But the seedling in question is growing calmly and flowering with occasional fruits just like my other apricots.

So I tossed in the towel with KGB for apricots.

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Poor Kym Green and his rather unfortunate initials.

I downloaded a great description of various cherry tree pruning systems.

You can download from this page.

I have one question really. For the second growing season:

“Prior to the summer solstice (first day
of summer), head all leaders to 2–5
inches in length”.

I assume no matter where in the world you are this is after you are into vigorous new growth from the spring but a long enough time to push the new buds to multiple shoots per pruning?

I’m asking because some areas may only be a month or two into the growing season whereas for me I’m already 3.5 months or more into the growing season.

I’m wondering if for my local that should be done earlier.

If anyone has experience with KGB and knows this stage please chime in. No hurry as this isn’t until next year for me. Just trying to get my understanding down so I don’t follow blindly.


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I got beautiful cherry trees but never any cherry fruit with the KGB system despite using it for several years on multiple cherries.

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I’d imagine the second season pruning in mid summer is used to increase the leaders in one season. Since you aren’t getting fruiting buds yet anyway, you get the initial spring growth on the winter heading cuts which increase your leaders, then prune them mid summer.

You go from 1 branch that is dormant pruned to 2,3,4 new shoots in spring. Then you prune again and you end up with 4-8 or more new shoot growth.

That sound like the reason to me…says the person growing a cherry tree for the first time ever…


thank you for the detailed update. I am training a newly planted cherry in KGB system and I like the system. Thought was using it for my newly planted Aprium. Your experience with the system helped me to steer away :slight_smile:
My climate western Oregon is challenging as well, apparently this variety Summer Delight blooms late compared to other apricots. So, I am hoping it will work out :wink:


@carot - 8/2 - I was reading here that Apricots only fruit 2-3 times on the older branches, while cherries can fruit for 5-10 years. This alone makes KGB not that worthwhile for Apricots. However, it might work for plums since plum fruit spurs are active for 5-7 years per this article. Thoughts?


I am using this system to train a cherry tree. Basically after planting in the last week of April I headed the tree at 18" with a few buds below. The tree then put out growth two of the branches reached 2ft and others a 18", 20". Last week headed these branches to be somewhere 6" for strong shoots and 8" for weak ones. I see the tree now is forming lateral buds from all the headed branches they are the size of a rice grain today.

So you don’t really need to keep the original scaffolds growing all season, if the stock is vigorous and they reach 18"24" mid summer you can head them rather waiting for dormant season.


wow, what variety and root stock. I started mine on KGB, its a back gold cherry on Giesla 5 stock.

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