Pruning and shaping new grafts

I have a Creek pecan which was grafted last year. It has about a dozen rapidly growing side shoots and 1 central leader. I want to encourage the central leader while also producing 4 main limbs about 4 feet from the ground. I picked the 4 side shoots to develop into limbs and pinched off the tip of the other side shoots. I left the central leader which should now grow more rapidly. Pinching the tips keeps the leaves in place which pushes rapid growth of the stem.

I’m also doing some pruning on new apple and pear grafts shaping them to a central leader for at least the first 6 feet. Deer will decimate them if side branches are grown under 6 feet.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for shaping a tree in the first few years of growth?

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@Fusion_power

I use similar methods on pears , keeping them to a central leader is a great idea! Deer can jump straight up extremely well from their back legs. I have only seen them expend that much energy to pick sugary pears. They never use the trick with their back legs for foliage at my orchard. I leave them wind falls to eat which satisfies them. Rabbits and deer are my 2 most destructive pests with voles running a close 3rd. In certain growers city lots i could see those numbers change to deer having less to browse on and targeting fruit trees foliage much more. Apples used to be decimated here before i got things back in balance. @39thparallel fights voles every year. Once a pears trunk barks up im set against rabbits. Callery bark up quickly. Apples most of the time in my orchard never bark up completely causing constant problems.

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@clarkinks
I also set up the crowns of my trees in the deer-ridden part of our property quite high. Mostly the scaffolds start above my head (170cm).
Lately I’ve started leaving sacrificial branches much lower on younger trees. I’ve noticed on our volunteer cherries that the deer often sample each tree they pass. If there is a low branch, they usually* don’t reach up and rip the branches I want to keep. It has been working out well so far on both pears and apples. Once the tree has grown the deer maintain the bottom trim of branches at about 180cm to 2m. I am O.K. to harvest with a ladder and telescopic basket, so that’s fine. The low branches also keep the antler-rubbers and bark nippers off the apple trunks.

I am trying this out with some apples I’ve planted 2 years ago - not pruning and letting the rabbits and deer create a thorny fence around the trunk eventually.

(picture from Der Agrar-Rebel by Sepp Holzer)
I may fortify it with some thorny blackberry underplanting which I will later remove. (low blackthorn hedge has worked great around juneberries in there - but they do not share pests)

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Sorry this is off-topic I’m marveled at the pecan diversity which shouldn’t surprise me. I just never though pecans differed. What do the different cultivars offer? Disease/worm resistant or is the flavor vastly different. Also with a grafted pecan what is the average amount of time to fruit? Again sorry maybe this should have been a PM

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Pecans vary widely in size, shape, flavor, and many other traits. As the most recently domesticated tree crop, pecan has a ton of room for improvement. As an example, Elliott is a very high quality small teardrop shaped nut. It has very good scab resistance even with 100 years of propagation. What it lacks includes increased size, cold hardiness, better flavor, and some additional disease tolerance. A couple of pecan varieties are noted for very good hickory flavor (Farley is an example). Others such as Adams #5 have exceptional resistance to disease. Still others produce very large easy to shell nuts. I guess this amounts to saying we have a ton of possible improvement in pecans. One such improvement would be dwarf trees… which is actually in context of the thread title.

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@Fusion_power

Your a pecan guru!

Indeed he is!

I grafted several persimmons and a couple pears last spring.

This spring i notched buds I wanted to become scaffolds. That worked very well.

Now I am working on training those new scaffold branches for good crotch angles.

They all… persimmons and pears were sending those new scadfolds nearly straight up with basically no or very narrow crotch angle.

What I did to help.

I made these… and used parafilm to attach them just under the new scaffold… then used those to pull those new scaffolds down slowly over a couple of weeks with some jute twine.

Now I have new scaffolds with great crotch angles… mostly going flat out.

TNHunter

At a very high rate of speed! :slight_smile:

@Fusion_power … yes… going to have to extend the length on my crotch angle guides soon.

My new scaffolds are out growing them.