Pruning Spice Zee before and after

Spice Zee before pruning:

Spice Zee after:

This is what ended up coming off:

Most was small, thin growth. Some was growing straight up, some was being shaded our going to be shaded this year, some criss crossing growth, some growing in and would have become disruptive. The only bad thing up can think of is that most of the growth had a lot of flower buds yet all that is left is still one year growth as the tree started out as a whip.

This is what is left towards the center, are they flower buds?

A few of those may be flower buds but not many. Most are too long and pointed. One is smaller and round on the tip. That may be a flower bud. You’ll probably get some bloom and set.


Do you think I should have left some of that thin growth on the tree? I was worried that growth that thin would just snap under any load. Do you think I may have been just a tad harsh?


If you wanted a crop this yr then maybe yes. I would have taken off a little less and cropped this yr. But Spice Zee sets good for me and you still may make all that tree can support. You are right in that most taken off was too small to support fruit.

I think you did fine for a potted tree. On an outdoor tree I’d probably have taken off all the lower branches. But even that depends on tree height desired. A tree could have been formed from the lower tier. The upper tier is pretty sweet for forming a tree.

Potted trees grow less. Root restriction must play a huge role in the amount of new wood that is produced. Throw in a tree that is fruiting and growth is very little. I’ve seen some trees throw out shoots maybe 6 in or less in a whole season (Saturn/Tangos come to mind). These are both in 15 gallon pots. Maybe if i up the fertilizer i could push more growth, not sure. I do feed them…i even added soil to almost all the pots last year…i pull them out…add soil to the BOTTOM of the pot and then i put them back in…actually works pretty slick (its just a big rootball at that point). I wouldn’t be shy with pruning a potted tree (hard). I’m going to prune back a few of mine hard just to get some new wood… i think a heavy crop/light crop fruiting cycle might work well with a potted tree???

Yeah… the top was what sprouted first and I started training the branches down…it wasn’t until mid summer did anything lower start to sprout. I probably could have chanced it and whacked the thing… but you think from the pics that the top tier is pretty good as far as structure?

franktank what kind of containers are your trees in? Hard plastic, root pruning plastic containers, soft side? I think that may play a roll too. I think with the soft side ones you get more feeder roots where as with the hard plastic those roots don’t get air pruned and they circle and get bigger and bigger. From what I’ve read the big roots start off as small feeder then turn into larger roots for support and really nothing else.

I’m hoping I don’t get 6 inches of growth lol!! I really would like to have a crop year after year…

The top tier has great structure but it doesn’t matter much on a potted tree. It’s not going to get big or have that much fruit. Trees in a pot have only gotten about 6ft by 6ft for me.

In a round plastic pot the tree gets root bound in 3-4 yrs. That’s when growth slows to a crawl. So they need root pruning and repotting after a while. Don’t wait to crop them you only get so long.

They need regular fertilizer or growth will stop sooner.


When you root prune, do you cut anything off the top to balance it? What about fruit crop that year…?

How do you root prune? I’ve thought just taking a serrated knife and cutting straight down each side of the rootball (square it off)…maybe cut some off the bottom? Maybe i’ll do that to one or two and see what kind of response i get.

I put together a flavor king on peach seedling…i budded 3 branches very low…almost soil level… i figure in a pot, the lower the better. Easier to spray, protect, etc… For other fruit…like pluots or something other then peaches/nectarines, you have spurs that might last a few years…so cutting back has its downsides. Sooner or later you’ll have to, but that balance is hard to figure out.

Yes, just cut some off sides and bottom. Mainly just get off the mat of circling roots. I’ve been able to crop the summer after doing that by cutting back more than normal but not all fruiting wood. Look at it as a chance to renew roots and fruiting wood.


There are quite a few root pruning videos on YouTube. One that I watched a few months back was for a Japanese Maple. See if you can’t find that one. The last takes the large tree out of the pot, cuts the roots, then re pots.

I’m going to do that to a few of mine. Its just another one of those things that gets put onto the spring list of things to do… luckily we are getting a very nice stretch here so maybe i can get at it later this week.