Pears


Summer Grafting Get-Together

When: July 12th
Time: 9:00am to 11:00 am approx.
Where: At Road’s End Farm
What: An informal class on using T-Budding and Chip Budding techniques for warm weather grafting of fruit trees.
This is an informal, outdoors, hands on group setting to learn how to use these styles of grafting to propagate fruit trees.
Why: To save grandma’s heirloom peach tree, to get an exact replica of that “perfect plum” you don’t know the name of, to make a “fruit cocktail tree” with multiple types of fruit on one tree. Or just for fun!

Bud GraftWe will be focusing on Pear, Peach, Plum and Apricot and we expect to have another event in late August on Apples. RSVP is a must and seating is very limited for this one. Send an email to reserve your spot to NMFruitGrowers@aol.com and you will be selected in the order received. Again this is not a demonstration, it is a hands on, get dirty, you will graft some trees, event!
There is no tuition cost on this class to the selected participants. We ask you bring your own very sharp pocket knife or a box cutter type knife, water, hat etc. Dress for the weather. We will supply all other items. You can collect budwood from our orchard or bring your own. We will ask for how many rootstock you will need and these we will charge $4.00 each (our cost) as a potted plant. We will send instructions on collecting and saving your own budwood.

Last Saturday we held our Fruit Tree Pruning and Training Workshop.  Despite the cold weather and somewhat windy conditions we had a great turnout.  Everybody dressed warm and brought gloves for the task.  On the rare times when the sun came out for a few minutes, it was perfect weather! First we discussed the proper tools.  Shears, loppers and saws along with benefits and uses for each with brand preferences. We had a great variety of trees to work with, from first year planted trees, 2 year and all the way up to bearing trees.  We were able to work with Apricot, Almond, Apple, Cherries, Pears, Asian Pears, Plums and Peaches. With 150 plus trees there was something for everyone.

We discussed and demonstrated vase style for the Stone fruits. We went over the latest in cherry pruning “the Spanish Style” and demonstrated with the different methods for Apricots.  With Peaches the norm is vase shape, but we showed the newer “Y” method which forms the tree with just 2 scaffold branches and all fruiting limbs are grown off these. This gives great sun and air circulation, but also allows for closer spacing than usual at 6 feet apart in the row.  With Apples we did Vase and Modified Central Leader styles of pruning.  We also got to work and show how to bring back trees to a central leader that have gotten away from you in the past from either lack of pruning or incorrect pruning.

Pear before Pruning

Pear before Pruning

Pear after pruning with branch spreaders installed

Pear after pruning with branch spreaders installed

Pears, especially European have a normal tendency to upright growth which limits fruit production.  We showed how and where to remove along with branch spreading techniques.  The more horizontal a branch is the more fruit it will give.  The goal is to try for 45  to 60 degree angle to give good crotch strength and highest production.  Some plums are also notorious for upright growth and we were able to see bud development differences with vertical versus more lateral growth.

We were able to work with some new, planted last year, trees to show how to get them off to a good start and also 2 year olds and their training.  The differences between heading and thinning cuts provided for some good learning.  But there is more to growing a good tree than just pruning. The training portion covered how to develop proper crotch angle using various types of trellising, branch spreaders, tying, staking and many other options based on the situation.

Pruning and training fruit trees is as much art as science. There are lots of different methods depending on your unique situation and it is a difficult thing to learn from a book.  The hands-on experience was the best part since everyone got to try as much as they needed or wanted to learn and feel comfortable in pruning their own trees.  All in all it was a great experience and an enjoyable time with the crowd that came. The only drawbacks were we didn’t get enough pictures and we needed more coffee and hot chocolate.  Good things all to remember for next year!

Using clothespins to direct new growth

Using clothespins to direct new growth

It’s not too late to get your dormant pruning done
As fruit trees mature, they must undergo two pruning phases. When the tree is young, the first phase consists of cuts to select the primary scaffold and heading and thinning cuts to create the secondary scaffold. In trees over 5 years old, the second phase begins, in which fruiting wood is maintained and renewed by thinning and heading fruiting and non-fruiting wood. Thinning cuts refer to the complete removal of branches and are applied to promote space for aeration, light penetration and fruit maturation. Heading cuts refer to the removal of portions of branches and are applied to force and direct branching and spur development and to restrict overall size of the tree.
In both phases, general pruning principles apply. First, remove all dead, dying and diseased wood. Second, remove all branches and limbs that grow toward the center of the tree. This promotes aeration and light penetration to the fruiting wood. Third, thin branches and limbs that cross or touch so that abrasions do not develop. Finally, remove any suckers growing off the rootstock above or below the ground.
You will find that heavy pruning encourages the formation of water sprouts and vegetative growth at the expense of fruiting woods. Light pruning, on the other hand, encourages heavy fruit set which results in smaller fruit of poorer quality and possible broken branches. Since home growers must also keep trees to manageable sizes, strive for a balance between heavy pruning and renewing fruiting wood.
In order to achieve this, you should know where your tree bears its fruit.
ALMONDS produce on spurs that remain productive for up to 5 years. Remove water sprouts and head and thin as necessary. As the tree matures, remove older, unproductive spurs to generate new spur growth.
APPLES produce fruiting spurs on wood 2 years and older that are productive for 6 to 10 years. Thin out branches to admit sufficient light to all parts of the tree; this will encourage new spurs to develop. Remove older, unproductive spurs as the tree matures. You may also need to thin spurs. Up to two-thirds new growth can be cut back annually.
APRICOTS bear the bulk of their fruit on 2 year old wood. All new growth can be cut back approximately by two-thirds. This wood will grow fruit spurs the second year and produce fruit the third year.
CHERRIES are borne on long-lived spurs that are productive for 10 to 12 years. When trees are young, head back main limbs one-third to create branching. Continue heading to create more branching and thus, more spurs. Because spurs are long-lived, thinning cuts tend to predominate pruning in phase two.
FIGS produce fruit on 1 year old wood and the upcoming season’s growth. They require little specialized pruning; head back to keep tree to manageable size and thin to keep aerated.
PEACHES AND NECTARINES produce fruit on last year’s growth. Remove about 50 percent of current season’s growth annually. On younger trees prune whips back to 12 to 24 inches. Use thinning cuts to promote aeration.
PEARS bear fruit on spurs on 3 to 10 year old wood. Main limbs are usually headed each year and side limbs are lightly headed or left unheaded, producing spurs and fruit in future years. As in apples, remove older, unproductive spurs and thin middle-aged spurs. Up to two-thirds new growth can be cut back annually.
PERSIMMONS bear on the current season’s shoots. Pruning consists of thinning shoots to promote growth for next season’s crop and heading cuts to keep fruit within reach.
JAPANESE PLUMS AND ITALIAN PLUMS (PRUNES) bear on fruit spurs which live 5 to 8 years. For varieties that bear heavy crops, remove one-half of the shoots each year. Other varieties, like Santa Rosa, bear moderate to light crops so remove only one-quarter of the shoots.
WALNUTS produce fruit on spurs on 5 year old wood that remains productive for up to 15 years. For the mature tree, a pruning program can consist of applying the general pruning principles described above.

SUMMER PRUNING assists home orchardists with the goal of keeping trees to manageable sizes. Typically, the whip emerging from dormant season heading cuts are themselves headed and thinned in August or after fruit harvest. By removing this growth, you remove leaves which would otherwise generate food for the tree and thus, vegetative growth. Since most rootstocks, even those labeled ‘semi-dwarf,’ are primarily developed for soil and climate adaptation, pest and disease resistance and early bearing, controlling the size of the tree becomes the home orchardist’s responsibility. Many trees, especially Apple, Pear, Apricot, Peach, Nectarine, Persimmon, Fig, and Plum trees, can be kept to 10 to 12 feet utilizing summer pruning. Trees this size are more easily sprayed, pruned in winter.

fruit_tree_pruning

By Catherine Smith (doccat5)
April 8, 2013

 

Well let us consider the ancient art form of espalier. What is espalier? It is any tree or shrub pruned and formed (trained) against a wall. Espalier differs from topiary in that in espalier it forms the skeleton of the tree, while topiary forms the silhouette by pruning alone.

Gardening picture

This technique originated in France and England in the 16th century, out of the practical need for growing fruit in such marginal climates as northern France and southern England. Traditionally it is used primarily on dwarf apple and/or pear trees, but other types of plants can be trained in this manner.

The Six Basic Espalier Styles

Cordon: Most traditional form of espalier. Grows horizontally for a distance, lending itself well as a garden-bed divider. Can be a single cordon, also known as “rope,” or a multicordon, generally with three tiers of branches. The multicordon takes two to three years to reach definition. May take longer on the East Coast because of shorter growing seasons.


Palmetto Verrier:
Vertical branching adds nice definition between trees planted against a wall or fence. Horizontally trained branches are gradually trained into upright positions. Design can take up to three years to reach definition.


Fan: Suitable for areas requiring vertical coverage; will best cover a square space. Style defines quickly; can have clear definition within one year. Branches angled at 45° can be raised or lowered for greatest fruit yield.


Informal:
Tree is allowed to take on a more natural shape; requires simple pruning to keep on a two-dimensional plane. Somewhat easier to train-simply balance the tree’s aesthetic symmetry as the branches begin to grow.


Belgian fence: Lattice effect offers one of the most formal looking styles. Requires three trees or more to create overlapping Vs and two modified Vs to create finished ends. Within one year, the beginning design of overlapping Vs is well outlined.


Candelabra:
Also known as “Brooklyn Botanical.” Several vertical branches stem off one horizontal base. Fairly easy to train and maintain.

BENEFITS OF ESPALIER.
First of all, espaliers save space. An espaliered fruit tree provides loads of fruit in a fraction of the volume of a natural tree.

Second, an espaliered tree bears earlier than a natural tree, bears much more heavily (in spite of the reduced number of branches), and bears for a longer time. A well-trained espalier often remains fruitful for over a hundred years. An espaliered tree is pruned and trained so that all of its energies are concentrated in the production of fruit-bearing wood. Once the skeleton or ‘chassis’ of the tree is established, all the gardener’s efforts focus on the development of vital, healthy fruiting wood.

 

Image

 

Third, an espaliered fruit tree is healthier than an unpruned, untrained tree. Increased air circulation throughout the tree in available by using this technique. Secondly, the frequent attentions of the gardener required to maintain the espalier mean that he or she spots problems early on and applies appropriate interventions more promptly, thus needing less spraying.

An espaliered fruit tree is much easier and faster to harvest. Likewise, any necessary treatments can be applied more quickly and easily, and with a lesser volume of spray than on a natural tree.

Finally, the interesting part, from an aesthetic point of view. An espaliered fruit tree becomes a piece of landscape sculpture. It is beautiful in all seasons of the year.

The art of espalier also allows you to solve vexing landscape problems in interesting ways. For instance, no prettier enhancement to bare house wall exists than to train an espaliered fruit tree against it. If that wall has windows, you can choose a form that artfully frames them. And best of all, horizontal space is not an issue, as the espalier will cling flat against the wall. At the same time, an espalier will not harm the wall of your house as will many climbing plants with holdfasts.

Some growers simply enjoy the aesthetic value of espaliered trees, with their traditional symmetrical branch forms resembling fans and candelabras. These forms are created by snipping off unwanted branches and training others to move down toward the desired position. These unique forms make exquisite garden focal points: during winter, the branching patterns are revealed; during the spring, apple blossoms in varying shades of white and pink decorate the tree; during the summer, there is a two- or three-week stage of dramatic showy blossoms. Also, because you can train them to grow against almost any supportive structure, they are wonderful “cover-ups” for unattractive walls, fencing, or compost bins.


Espaliered fruit trees can also be used as elegant screens and fences. Free-standing forms make incredibly beautiful vertical accents in any garden–living sculptures that provide not only a feast for the eyes, but for the tongue and tummy as well.

Along with pear trees, apple trees are the traditional espalier subject because their spurs live for years producing fruit. Espalier apple trees bear fruit at a young age and are versatile in nature, with their supple, easily trained new growth. However, you’ll need to practice delayed gratification because most of these trees take approximately three years to mature and reach the desired design. For some growers, this is too large a drawback. But if you don’t mind the wait, your patience and creativity will pay off in the long run, with bushels of yummy fruit and a very attractive unusual focal point in your landscape design.


THE TRADE-OFF: Most espaliered trees need approximately three years to attain the desired design and reach maturity. If you can stand the wait, you’ll be rewarded with beautifully structured trees and bushels worth of fresh apples, pears and other fruits.

is probably the most asked question we get.  One of the major reasons is due to our erratic spring freezes.  Depending on where the fruit bud is in its stage of development it can withstand as low as 10 degrees or may freeze at 29f.  Knowing the development stage and the allowable temperature will tell you what actions to take to try to prevent or minimize a crop loss.  The problem in the past has been knowing what the verbally described stage of development is.

apple blossom developmentThe other day I ran across this webpage that is  simple and spells (shows pictures) it out for us for each tree fruit.  It shows the temperature that will give a 10% loss at the particular stage of developments as well as the temperature that will induce a 90% or greater loss.

Take a few minutes to look at this simple webpage and then keep it bookmarked for future reference.

http://www.hrt.msu.edu/faculty/langg/Fruit_Bud_Hardiness.html

 

 


What:    Fruiting Tree and Plants Fundraiser For Youth Group
Where:  wood’sEnd Church Parking lot  in Edgewood
When:   This Saturday June 2nd, from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm.
Why:     Help raise money to send young kids to summer camp
 
This year we are taking our plants off farm for one day and offering them to the public.  A portion of the proceeds will go to the wood’sEnd Church Summer Youth Camp Program.  Trees and plants will be available in the wood’sEnd Church parking lot this Saturday morning, June 2nd.  wood’sEnd Church is located in Edgewood on the west side of Highway 344 just north and across the street from Wal-Mart and south of the library.  So tell your friends and spread the word for a good cause in our community! 

This year’s grafting is finally complete.  We ended up grafting about 280 new little trees.  This is exciting because it allows us to grow and evaluate many antique or rare varieties we normally would not have available.  Names like Bell-De Boskoop, Karmije De Sonnaville and Caville Blanc D’hiver evoke thoughts of the faraway countries and places they came from.   Chenago Strawberry, Pitmaston Pineapple and Apricot on the other hand are intriguing because their flavor is reminiscent of a different fruit than apples.  Williams Pride and Westfield Seek No Further are obviously just the best there is.

This season we are doing things a little different. We bench grafted this scion wood to both semi-dwarf and full dwarf rootstock so we could offer a variety to those wanting smaller trees.  After grafting we planted into 3”x 3” x 8” tree pots and will grow them indoors until all frost is past.  At that point we will transplant and grow them for probably 2 years in the field. The first winter the whips will be pruned back to encourage branching and the second winter

Starting grafted trees in 3″ x 3″ x 8″ tree posts

the trunk and branches will be cut back again.  By the second summer, 2014, they should be ready to go to new locations.  About 45% were new types of apples and the rest were from the ones we have growing.  This picture shows a few in tree pots starting to leaf out

We also grafted sweet Cherries, about 8 types, European pears 6 kinds and European plums 6 kinds.  Earlier we had grafted about 14 new jujubes.  Matt is getting to be fast at bench grafting and with Connie and myself wrapping the grafting tape and labeling the varieties we have worked out a pretty good and simple system. All in all it was a fun and worthwhile springtime project

 It is funny to see a little 10″ tree with blooms on it! 

Some 10″ grafted trees blooming!

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