When is the right time to cut a hinge?

Hi all,
I have a really stiff and vigorous upright branch that I would like to cut a hinge in to bring down . Should it be cut now in the dormant season or when the tree starts to grow again so it heals quickly?

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Trapper. My limb hinges and bending was done about a month earlier. Alan is the one who told me how to make the cuts but we didn’t discuss season to do the bending. I’m sure he will be along soon and cover this in more and better detail than I. It took me a little time to get the hang of the cutting/bending. Although I think it would be ok to proceed I suggest waiting on Alan to reply. Wish I had known how to do this three years ago. Good luck, Bill

I tend to do it whenever I’m pruning as part of that process. If I was concerned about disease I would adjust. Where canker is a problem for peaches you might want to wait until trees begin growing. Same deal for cherries. And wait for a dry spell.

I mostly use the trick with apples so it’s the old, “whenever the pruning saw is sharp”.

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Thank you both!

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When is it too late to cut a hinge? After the new growth stops growing? Should the hinge be wrapped to prevent moisture loss before the cuts callus back together?

If the trees are in active growth they should quickly heal over the wounds created by cutting a hinge- I usually cut my hinges in spring or winter when trees are dormant but there’s no reason not to do it now.

Leave the trees to deal with the injury- wrapping is not necessary and may be detrimental. Fungus, and not bacteria are the prime enemy of trees and a wrap will create a positive environment for fungus.

I am not making fun as it sounds like a great way to bring a branch into submission but I just laughed out loud at the thoughts running through my head.
I thought " The next thing these guys will be doing is to cut the branch completely off and turning it around and grafting it back on!" :smiley:

Daemon- that’s not far from the truth, only the branch is not grafted back on, but renewed. It’s called a “Dutch cut” (not sure what the Dutch have to do with it) and it’s a way to replace a over-vigorous or high crotch angle branch with a thinner, lower angle one. The branch is cut off with a slanting cut that’s wider at the base than at the top. This forces a latent bud from underneath to sprout, and you push this shoot down with a toothpick. The resultant branch is almost horizontal, which controls the vigor and brings it into fruiting mode the next season. This horizontal branch will send up vertical suckers, which you pinch off at three leaves to turn them into fruit spurs. Thus, in two seasons you’ve taken a rogue branch and turned it into a fruiting machine.


That is what I was thinking, but I wanted an experienced perspective.

In the beginning I was hesitant to cut off established branches, thinking it would be a major set back. Eventually that changed after seeing new branches grow back much more quickly than it took original branch to grow. It makes sense that tree doesn’t want to give up on a heavily invested pathway for nutrient flow.

[quote=“Daemon2525, post:7, topic:439”]
I thought " The next thing these guys will be doing is to cut the branch completely off and turning it around and grafting it back on!"
[/quote]Maybe not regrafting, but retraining a tree 180° around by applying torsional force is not out of question.

Or you can just slice into the wood a bit above a node. Doesn’t usually work for peaches though. They don’t have much in the way of latent buds in their bark. Junk trees they are.