new bare root fruit trees

lettuce_grow(10a)March 19, 2014

im new to gardening and super new (today) to gardening forums! yeay!
anyway, i planted 3 (a cherry, apple and pear) bare root fruit trees that i got from home depot about two weeks ago. i trimmed them back pretty heavy but i was reluctant to lop them off at just above knee height, even tho that is where i would like the branches to form from so as to keep it short.. i just couldnt do it. shortly after, i bought a second cherry online and planted it a week later. when the online cherry came it was entirely too tall so i got my gusto up and lopped it off where i wanted the branches to stem. the online cherry had a much larger root system then the home depot ones and since last week its leafed out and shown growth. so this should bring you up to date. my question is, is it too late to lop off my other cherry and my pear? and should people even lop off the apples? i know we want a good strong central leader, so thats a bit confusing for me. any advice is welcome. thank you in advance :)

p.s- there no growth or change in the trees in asking about, not even bud swell. im just worried that maybe i didnt trim back enough for such a small root system..and accounting for the low quality care home depot has a reputation for lol

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Thinking-man

I've gotten trees from home depot and i didn't know enough to trim them.....i've bought 4 peaches, 1 apple, 1 pear, 2 plum, a cherry, fig.....and ALL those non-dwarf ones that were in good spots in the yard (enough sunlight) are now about 15 feet tall and the others still bloom and do relatively well. I think it might be a bit too early for buds/blooms if you're on the east coast considering we've had a rough/looong winter that's sadly STILL here.
don't worry too much and give it time. don't cut anymore! lol

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:29PM
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lettuce_grow(10a)

im southern CA, sorry i didnt specify ;) zone 10a. usually im all for waiting it out but when the online cherry shot out leaves so fast it go my worried. they are dwarfs and i'd like to keep them small. i have them planted next to a wall (south side) on the back of my yard. were your trees bare root too?

This post was edited by lettuce_grow on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 14:36

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:32PM
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charina(6b)

The big box store trees can be a problem. First, in order to sell well, they are grown large. This is problematic even with a good bare-root harvest. Then, to compound the issue, the roots are in pretty rough shape. The combination leads to not enough roots to support the top. So, heavy pruning of the top is advised in order to balance them out until the roots can regrow. IMO, more cutting may be in order.

If you do cut them off low, be sure to check for live buds below the point you hope to cut. Most of my experience is with peaches, and doing this to an older tree such as those sold at big box stores can be lethal as there is no live buds along the trunk to grow out.

I think apples and pears may be more capable of putting forth new branches low on the trunk, but I'm not certain of that. Either way, I wouldn't be heading those off so severely as I would try to maintain the central form.

The shipped cherry, and the store trees may have been treated differently, causing the differential growth. It is possible the store-trees were cooler-stored until just before shipping to the store. Only time will tell. And if they are as dormant as you say, it is not too late to prune further if you so desire.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:42PM
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Thinking-man

no....mine came in a pot....

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 2:56PM
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lettuce_grow(10a)

thank you charina
ok, so...i kind of just went out and bit the bullet so to speak. i left my cherry and pear alone because even tho the buds havent shown growth that i can see, the branches still seem supple and when i planted them i did take the branches down to about 8 inches on the pear and maybe a foot on the cherry. that took off quite a bit of their growth and such. but the apple has truly been my main concern. even when i planted it, i thought the tree looked a little questionable but it was my husbands pick so i was trying to make due the best i could. i just went out and really looked at it critically and i saw that about half way up the central leader (which is all i left, thats what the dave wilson people said to do on their videos) there was discoloration and it just looked kind of dead. i loped it off :o i did it a bit above the discoloring and low and behold the wood inside looked dead! i trimmed it a bit closer to the color change and it looks ok. i kind of figure at this point, with this particular tree, if it dies i will just be getting a healthier one online but if it lives hurray! ;) thank you guys for giving me courage!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:24PM
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