pruning stone fruit-temps and blackknot

windfall_rob(vt4)March 9, 2013

A recent thread has been discussing cold temps and pruning.
I am interested in a variation on the question foccusing on stone fruit spring pruning and black knot infection.

As I recall (correct me if I misrememebr) Black knot infection (spore release) is highest during the first warm wet weather after bud break.
fresh Pruning cuts are a likely point of new infection

The conventional wisdom seems to be to prune stone fruit last in the spring...perhaps out of concern for cold damage, and in some regions to have them healing quickly, right away to avoid canker infection which can be high inplaces with damp winters.

We don't have damp winters, we have cold mostly dry.
we do have a fair bit of wild black cherry and therefore blck knot is common.

Would it be reasonable to prune cherry and plum at winters end in hopes of having those wounds callus before black knot spore is released?
What temps are required for stone fruit to seems to be higher than pomes.
Would the weeks of days in 50-60's and night in the 20-30's that are (or used to be) the norm for us before bud break be adequate to let the trees create their initial sealing/healing?

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alan haigh

I have not found pruning cuts to be especially likely points of new infection. I also don't have any reason to believe dormant callusing would protect against BK given that peaches protect themselves better form canker when pruned during growth.

My own strategy is to prune plums early (now, late winter) to remove as much innoculum as possible before the fungus becomes active. The black knot wounds themselves are where I'm likely to get new or re infection.

I then prune them out several times (whenever I see galls) during the season at problem sites and have mostly got things under control after a couple of very difficult years.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 12:19PM
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