Should I prune this Sweetcrisp?

edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)April 6, 2013

Have been nursing this 2nd year Sweetcrisp through the winter in my garage. It's getting ready to bloom. Last year it was growing out more like a fan than upright. Last year I pruned a couple of the branches that had grown out 2 feet sideways. This year it still looks like it wants to grow quite a bit sideways. Should I prune it hard and force it to grow more upright like I want it to while it's young. I'd like to focus on the 2 main upright shoots. All suggestions welcome. Thanks. Ed.

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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Hi Ed,
If anything,I'd cut some of those skinny lower ones that are hanging down and any that are growing inwards or touching/crossing.
Did it fruit at all last year?Looks like this year for sure. Brady

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:31PM
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Ed, nice plant! Those side shoots will provide some shade for the pot. You can always cut them back after fruiting but I don't know how long your growing season is there so it may be more beneficial to prune before spring growth starts. One thing I had to start doing for some SHB is training branches in the direction I want them to grow. We have a lot of bamboo growing near ponds here and I cut a few of the skinny ones and let them dry out then stuck them in the pots and tied up the branches. Sweetcrisp tends to have a spreading weeping growth habit from my observations. Several other varieties I have do the same. My Sweetcrisp are really starting to weep now with a fruit load. They just don't have very stout branches and can get long and flimsy if not pinched back on a regular basis. I kinda let mine get away from me last summer but this year I'm really going to concentrate on pinching the new growth every 7 or 8 inches to try and slow it down and harden things off better. This might not be the best way for you to grow them in your zone though. I would just train some of the branches in the direction you want and get rid of the rest you don't need and then let it grow. Next spring you should have the plant how you want it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 11:47PM
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The pruning advice I've been following pretty closely at Four Winds Growers, which has worked well for me, calls for pruning out those lower horizontal branches.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:31PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Thanks guys. No fruit last year. Last spring when I got it from Connie at Horner Farms she said it was about a year old. It was about 16" tall with a couple of small branches. It grew well last year. Since this is only the third year I was still planning to limit the fruit a bit and focus on growth. We have a 4-5 month growing season here, so there is time to prune later and still get new growth. I think I'll wait a little and see how many blossoms show up before I cut anything. It's not out of hand "yet" so I'll see how it goes. Thanks for the pruning and training suggestions. Ed.

This post was edited by edweather on Sun, Apr 7, 13 at 14:45

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 2:42PM
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Remember sweetcrisp doesn't set a lot of fruit so there isn't any need to thin fruit buds unless you just want too. I didn't thin them at all and I'm getting a lot of spring growth and light berry crop.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:31PM
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