No second scaffold level?

midlin(5B)March 7, 2013

I am having trouble establishing a second layer of scaffolds. These pictures are of dwarf apple whips planted in 2011. As a reference, the posts are 6 feet tall (trees about 10 feet). Scaffolds are rare above the lowest layer (except in the first pic of Redfree).

Are bark cuts needed to induce branching? How many cuts per tree? Please offer training/pruning suggestions. Thanks.

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midlin(5B)

Novaspy

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:40AM
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midlin(5B)

Goldrush

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:41AM
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midlin(5B)

Pristine

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:42AM
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midlin(5B)

Querina

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:43AM
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midlin(5B)

Liberty

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:44AM
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midlin(5B)

Enterprise

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 2:45AM
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alan haigh

Trees don't look like full dwarfs. Do you know the root stocks? I'm guessing M26

I wouldn't worry at this point about trees assuming an exact form as long as lower scaffolds don't starve out leader. If no branches are more than half the diameter of the trunk at point of attachment to the trunk that shouldn't happen. You want about 3' between tiers (depending on ultimate height and vigor of tree) and can top the leader where you want the next tier.

You can use scoring to make branches, but I wouldn't do that on such young trees because it just isn't necessary. It looks like you are keeping too many scaffolds although it's difficult to see if scaffolds are directly overhanging others. It's OK to have surplus scaffolds before trees start bearing but too much shading can reduce secondary branching so there is a balance that varies from cultivar to cultivar.

4 branches is all you need per tier and for free branching trees (trees that readily produce secondary and tertiery wood and full branches) 3 is usually optimum. You should reduce surplus as branches begin to crowd (wood should not touch and branches should all be well exposed to sun), mentally choosing your permanents early for ideal spacing. Sometimes you just cut back the surplus and sometimes you remove depending of state of crowding.

Some varieties need to have scaffolds cut back 30% of last years growth to encourage secondary branching. Summer pruning is then needed to choose the straightest shoot to continue to lead the scaffold and competing shoots are pinched back or off.

The less you cut scaffolds back the sooner they fruit so only do this when necessary.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 5:59AM
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marc5(6aOH)

Mid, you can't go wrong with hman's advice. Go back and read his old posts. 30% off the leader has worked for me. Your trees don't look like my B9s. On your Novaspy, I would do something with that lateral on the right. It's competing with the leader and has a bad crotch angle. I would either remove it completely or cut it to a stub and then train a new lateral with a better angle. Clothepins work well.

Marc

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 9:15AM
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alan haigh

Should have mentioned that heading back scaffolds creates a more even affect of secondary branching if you wait until bloom to do it.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 11:55AM
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midlin(5B)

Many thanks Harvestman for teaching the whys and hows- I was trying to train based on at least part of your method: train/spread/pinch not prune. Bas Van Den Ende is very illuminating as well as you have mentioned over the years.

Looking back at your advice I see I need to be heading both the leader and scaffolds on most trees. I do not have sufficient branching off the trunk or enough secondaries on the scaffolds.

I kept no more than five scaffolds on the first level, and all evenly spaced around the trunk. Do you keep 3' clear between the 1st and 2nd tier, or 3' between the center of each tier?

These are on G.16 or G.11 except one. Anyone have experience with these cultivars or rootstock vigor regarding secondary branching?

Goldrush G.16
Pristine G.16
Liberty G.16
Florina Querina G.11
Enterprise G.16
Novaspy G.11 (by far the lowest vigor - and some CAR)
Redfree M.7 (by far the highest vigor and the only one that fruited 2nd year)

Marc- thanks. I use the clothespins heavily, and they are great. Except does anyone else break PEAR shoots off too easily past 45 degrees (just the pears, and only past 45 degrees!)?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 12:53AM
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canadianplant

Those look like some healthy trees!

The only other advice id give (sorry if im repeating anyone), is make sure that the scaffolds you want to keep, are cut back a bit. In some pics some look to be starting to compete with the leader. Heading back the young scaffolds to a healthy outward facing bud usually encourages branching behind the cut, making the branch look more like a branch, rather then a stick. (As per my understanding)

RE: Pear breakage

ITs my understanding (and plz someone correct me if im wrong), that pears usually have a natural vertical growth with narrow angles. Outward facing buds tend to eventually grow upwards. It makes a gorgeous looking tree, but since pears tend to gro vigorously, you loose budwood fast, and it ends up being 20 feet of the ground.

Using clothespegs on young scaffolds along with pruning to a side bud on the scaffold is apparently the best way to deal with this (so ive read). Pear wood is also relatively brittle as well.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 6:27AM
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alan haigh

It is not easy to see for sure, but I count seven first tier scaffolds on last photo and all very closely spaced on the limb.

Unfortunately, I have no experiences with Cornell root stocks outside of 30 and don't even know relative vigor of 16. Isn't 11 about the same as 26? Tried to look them up real quick but didn't find a convenient chart.

Goldrush is very spurry and a relatively weak grower so should be grown on relatively vigorous root stock. It is slow to develop secondary branching and I keep extra branches on it for quite a while as crowding doesn't affect this process much and you get much more fruit sooner. The tree needs very little steering to acquire good shape.

Enterprise is moderately vigorous and very cooperative to getting secondary branching and a nice shape. Liberty is crazy and you don't argue with a crazy man- you just steer it as best you can and remove excessive sized branches and leave any finer wood it gives you. Also work to keep the central leader dominant as best you can- it wants to be an open center.

Pristine is like Yellow Delicious and should find its way without much discipline supplied by the pruners. Redfree will eventually work things out as well, although secondary branching will be gradual.

Unfortunately all that commentary is based on how they all perform on M7, 111, or 106 but still might be helpful.

If I was you I'd cut the central leader where I want to begin my second tier, avoid having trees over set fruit and not worry too much about secondary branching. As long as trees don't runt out, either from starving the leader of over fruiting they will for the most part eventually develop full branches without too much effort from you. I generally only head back limbs of young trees when they get lanky to the point of drooping-cutting back to a small vegetative upright.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 6:36AM
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alan haigh

It is not easy to see for sure, but I count seven first tier scaffolds on last photo and all very closely spaced on the limb.

Unfortunately, I have no experiences with Cornell root stocks outside of 30 and don't even know relative vigor of 16. Isn't 11 about the same as 26? Tried to look them up real quick but didn't find a convenient chart.

Goldrush is very spurry and a relatively weak grower so should be grown on relatively vigorous root stock. It is slow to develop secondary branching and I keep extra branches on it for quite a while as crowding doesn't affect this process much and you get much more fruit sooner. The tree needs very little steering to acquire good shape.

Enterprise is moderately vigorous and very cooperative to getting secondary branching and a nice shape. Liberty is crazy and you don't argue with a crazy man- you just steer it as best you can and remove excessive sized branches and leave any finer wood it gives you. Also work to keep the central leader dominant as best you can- it wants to be an open center.

Pristine is like Yellow Delicious and should find its way without much discipline supplied by the pruners. Redfree will eventually work things out as well, although secondary branching will be gradual.

Unfortunately all that commentary is based on how they all perform on M7, 111, or 106 but still might be helpful.

If I was you I'd cut the central leader where I want to begin my second tier, avoid having trees over set fruit and not worry too much about secondary branching. As long as trees don't runt out, either from starving the leader of over fruiting they will for the most part eventually develop full branches without too much effort from you. I generally only head back limbs of young trees when they get lanky to the point of drooping-cutting back to a small vegetative upright.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 6:39AM
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