This year's Backyard Orchard Culture planting

‘Flavor Delight’ aprium on citation. The first step after planting is to chop it off at knee height.

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Mr Clint
How many scaffolds do you plan to have? Have you ever encounter that the tree decided to branch out that one branch? What then?


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My plans for this tree won’t be that specific. I will basically follow the general game plan for [BYOC][1] and let the tree do its thing until about September. At that time I’ll cut the growth by half and start to shape it a bit. Keeping the tree somewhat open seems to work best. I basically prune to maintain shape and balance. My ‘Flavor Grenade’ pluot is waking up now and would serve as a working example of the end game:

You can see a lower branch that had been cut away early on.

Tony, yes sometimes they don’t branch. happens more with peaches. I myself would have spread branches manually to form a wider center on the Flavor Grenade. Here it is way too damp to leave them that close. Each area of the country is different. Choice of root stocks etc. can play a huge role. Not on how to prune the tree, but how compatible the root stock is to your soil conditions. Like the nematodes would easily kill Lovell in Florida. Citation is not good at all for areas where it is very dry. MSU does not recommend citation, but it seems to work OK for me although I prefer Lovell for peaches here. Every peach tree on Citation here failed or became diseased. The plums/pluots seem fine though. I have not grown enough plums on different root stocks to give much of an opinion.

Manually spreading tree branches isn’t a BYOC tenet. The tree spacing is usually way too close.

“Single-tree plantings: prune to vase shape (open center, no central leader). Multi-plantings:thin out the center to allow plenty of sunlight into the interior of the group of trees.”

One reason it isn’t a good model for most of the United States. Here, they would all die if you followed that advice. Almost every one of my trees that had close branching got powdery mildew last year. Those spread dried too quickly for the fungi to take hold.

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I’m just sharing this year’s BYOC planting with the forum at large. The intent was not to debate its merits, or talk anyone into or out of it. I don’t need to know what scaffolds are and how to spread branches with this method. If those things apply to other methods and they work fine for other people, then that makes me happy. :eyes:

Starting to see some growth:


Hey Clint. Did you plant in wooden boxes for a specific reason? Are those small raised beds due to heavy soil or did you do that to make trimming and mowing easier?

I would mind doing something like that for the 6 trees I’ll be planting soon. My soil is somewhat heavy and I’d like to plant a little higher. I was thinking about mounding soil but maybe a raised box like that might be better.

If you have the chance use a raised bed. Allows for better drainage, better soil, and allows for the roots to spread out easier and quicker.

That’s a 4’x4’ raised garden bed that I recently decommissioned. That bed gets blast furnace heat in the Summer, so it has limited year ‘round use as such. My raised garden beds are simply 6’ cedar fence boards cut to 4’ and deck screwed together. They last a few years here without rotting out – super cheap and easy. You know I’m all about e-a-s-y. :wink:

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Drew, many of my trees are on Citation. My Arctic Star nectarine is on Citation and is huge and incredibly vigorous.Same with my Sauzee King flat nectarine, also huge and vigorous. I would say it’s pretty dry here in S. California. Many of our stone fruit come on Citation here, and they seem to do quite well. Most peaches out here are on either Nemaguard or Lovell (I have none on Citation).

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Yeah, I think I just had a bit of bad luck with it. It is not dry here, and you would think it would be fine. I have a 4 in 1 pluot and a Spice Zee on citation, both seem fine. But I lost three trees on citation, well two, they failed to grow, both peach trees. A third has canker, also peach. I will not get peach trees on citation anymore.
Also the warning about dry conditions is from Dave Wilson Nursery. I was just repeating their advice. Since they had the patent, I would take the advice seriously. It’s their baby. They warn tree may go dormant early. Also note what is said about citation under the St Julian rootstock.

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Drew that is so odd that DWN would say that about Citation, and yet nearly ALL of my nectarines and apricots are on Citation. Many purchased at local nurseries her in San Diego county. I’m going to check in about that with DWN. Thanks for the link.

Well maybe they mean just do not let it dry out, that if it does it could shut down. You mulch and water, and watch your trees.

Drew, in the link your provided, DWN doesn’t say anything about Citation being sensitive to dry conditions. Here is the info:

“Peaches and nectarines dwarfed to 8 to 14 feet. Apricots and plums
dwarfed to 3/4 of standard. Very tolerant of wet soil, induces early
dormancy in dry soil. Very winter hardy. Resists root-knot nematodes.
Trees bear at young age. (Zaiger)”


Pretty much anything derived from plum is going to be more drought sensitive than peach or apricot. Plums are very shallow rooted and generally more water tolerant, but less tolerant of droughts. This has been my general experience.

I’ve read the same of Citation many times (and experienced it once myself).

Here is what Bay Laurel says:

“Peaches and nectarines dwarfed to 8-14 ft.; apricots and plums dwarfed
to 12-18 ft. Very tolerant of wet soil; not drought tolerant(induces
early dormancy in dry soil) so needs very regular water in hot climates;
a top dressing of mulch can help maintain soil moisture. Resists
root-knot nematodes. Induces heavy bearing at a young age. Very winter
hardy. Strong and well anchored. Pat. No. 5112 (Zaiger)”

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I guess we are reading that different? I read that as not drought tolerant.

Even though my conditions are wet, I’m avoiding that rootstock, Michigan State University advises not to use it in Michigan. Luckily all the DWN trees are available on other rootstocks that work here.

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I’ve had some duds on citation, nectarine & peach.


Thanks for the clarification, Olpea. And Drew, I guess that is a type of intolerance. I think more about death, rather than early dormancy :slight_smile: But, that is really good to know because one of my biggest concerns was whether or not I had water-stressed my trees last year. I didn’t realize it, since my drip system is mostly under the mulch. Turned out we had a large leak that reduced the water pressure to my stone fruits for I don’t know how long. But, none seem worse for wear that are on Citation. My nectarines on Citation are robust and precocious. So, glad this rootstock seems to work for me. And, apparently, they are all getting enough water, as well. What I find odd, is that so many trees here in our local nurseries are on Citation. We are in a dry area of the country, so not sure why DWN would suggest to our nurseries to choose cultivars on Citation. Find that puzzling or interesting??

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