To increase yield, disease resistance, apricot pruning should be carried out. A mature tree forms throughout the growing season. Young seedlings, especially the first year, need to be given extra attention in spring and autumn.
What you need to know before you start cutting
Like other horticultural crops, apricot bears fruit on special fruit branches, sometimes called pods, spurs or bouquets. These small branches are active for about two to three years, after which they must be replaced with new ones. You can also observe ovaries on annual shoots, but to a lesser extent than on generative branches. In addition, it is worth remembering that stone fruits, to which our ward belongs, are prone to excessive sap flow, especially in spring.
Without proper care, they will bear fruit irregularly, after one or even two years. In addition, plants with a thickened crown are more likely to get sick with coccomycosis, which is common in stone fruits. Their winter hardiness decreases.
Apricot pruning video
Our task is to obtain a stable growth of fruit branches that provide high yields every year.
Shapes of apricot trees
There are many schemes for how to trim an apricot to get one shape or another. Each of them has its own pros and cons. Often there is the so-called cypress-shaped formation, when the apricot is carried in one trunk, and fruit branches are formed on the sides of it. The advantage of this form is the small space it occupies in the garden area, the disadvantage is the difficulty of constantly maintaining a large number of fruit branches, the rapid aging of the tree.
There is also a form - palmette, its variety - Verrier palmette - perhaps the best form in terms of the yield coefficient per cubic meter of space occupied by a fruit plant, In addition, it is the most decorative and convenient form for collecting fruits. But we will not consider it here either, since the formation of an apricot crown like a palmette is better suited for gardeners with extensive experience.
To begin with, it is better to experiment with the classic spherical shape, in addition, it is the closest to the natural shape of an apricot, easy to care for, with proper agricultural technology, it will give us good and stable apricot yields.
There are many schemes for how to trim an apricot to get one shape or another.
How to properly prune a young apricot
The vigor of green shoots tells us which pruning is best for our tree - formative or rejuvenating. Forming is used on strong healthy plants, the green summer growth on them exceeds 40 centimeters.
So, a step by step guide:
- The first year after planting, it grows a powerful whip.
- Towards the end of summer and beginning of autumn, we cut off a quarter of its length.
- We will have three powerful branches next year. We cut them off at about the same time. It is important to carry out the operation not too late in the fall, which can negatively affect the wintering of the plant. It takes some time for the plant to bud by the end of summer after truncation of the axial shoot. Also, you cannot cut it immediately after wintering. Active gum removal can destroy a young and weak plant. The apricot must respond to pruning by setting new buds.
- By the end of the third year, the tree begins to take the shape of a ball. We cut off all too protruding and prominent growth shoots. We do this so that all branches receive a uniform amount of nutrition and lay the largest possible number of fruit buds, and do not let nutrients coming from the roots into the growth of the vegetative part.
- We reform the weaker side branches from vegetative to fruiting wood. With a strong growth of the branch, fruit buds are not tied on it, so our task is to redirect the growth energy to stimulate the buds of fruit buds. The fruit branch is formed by repeatedly pinching the growth point of our small branch. Then nutrients from the roots are evenly distributed along its length, forming flowers, ovaries and fruits.
- Fourth, fifth and subsequent years - you also need to cut off all the most strongly growing stem shoots. Nutrition from the roots should be evenly distributed throughout the entire crown. Thus, the yield can be increased well.
Subsequently, if the growth force of the tree slows down, we no longer apply formative, but rejuvenating pruning.
Remember that fruit branches are short-lived, they function normally for two or three years most often, so do not forget to remove them in a timely manner.
How to care for an adult tree?
Subsequently, if the growth force of the tree slows down, we no longer apply formative, but rejuvenating pruning. Rejuvenating pruning is required when the growth rate of the green mass is weak. If the shoots grow by less than 20 centimeters in a year, it's time to rejuvenate our plant. What do we need to do?
- To do this, carefully saw off three to five-year-old or older branches at an angle.
- We find a place where a powerful shoot grows from the old trunk and saw off everything that is higher than it, or grows left and right. All strength must be given to our new crown-forming branch.
- However, it should be noted that all the old skeletal branches of our apricot cannot be removed at once. Replacement of old wood with new strong growth should be carried out within two or three years. So, we replace one large old branch per year. Otherwise, we can not strengthen, but only weaken the growth of the tree - strong gum flow will weaken it or even lead to death.
Remember that you also need to control the load on the crop. This is also included in the concept of pruning an apricot. The scheme according to which we have been pruning it for several years gives a large increase in yield, but you should not overuse it. The number of fruits must be regulated depending on the volume of the crown and the strength of growth. In years when the tree gives many ovaries, one third to half of them can be removed painlessly. This is done for the following reasons:
Excessive intake of nutrients for the ripening of the crop can somewhat weaken the tree, especially in a rainy and little sunny summer, which is why its vegetative part may not ripen. All this will affect its winter hardiness.
Video about the correct pruning of apricots
A lot of fruit can also lead to a significant decrease in the next year's yield. It is better to remove approximately the same number of ripe fruits from the tree every year than to be content in one year with an insignificant part, or even no harvest at all.
You need to remember a few basic rules on how to properly prune an apricot:
- It is necessary to cut after a phase of abundant spring sap flow, in order to avoid a strong release of gum.
- We cut directly under the kidney, without leaving any hemp. A tree stump is a breeding ground for diseases.
- You need to cut with a sharp knife, pruner or hacksaw (depending on the size of the branch), torn wood contributes to poor healing of the bark, infection of the tree with diseases.
- When sawing off old large branches, in order to avoid abundant gum leakage, fill the cut site with garden pitch. Many gardeners apply it incorrectly in the plastic-like form in which it is sold. You must first melt the var in a water bath. When it takes the form of a liquid viscous substance, fill it with a fresh saw cut like wax. Subsequently, after two weeks, and then again, it is desirable to repeat this operation. Then we will reliably hide the wood from external influences, prevent large sap losses.
Cut young annual shoots half the length in spring
- If you have to work with an already mature tree, then initially all weak and old branches are thinned out, and shoots that grow down are also removed.
- Cut off young annual shoots half the length in spring. If in the summer there is an increased growth of shoots, then in the summer we also shorten the shoots by another third.
- Trees with a thickened crown need rejuvenation. We remove everything that grows down and into the crown of the tree
Why apricot does not bear fruit: the main causes and methods of dealing with the problem
In the practice of growing apricots, every now and then there are cases when a seemingly healthy tree refuses to bear fruit. It has no signs of disease, it even grows well and pleases with spring flowering, but year after year it leaves gardeners without a crop. Why apricot behaves so illogically, only the most experienced lovers of stone fruit crops know.
CUTTING FRUIT TREES
Several years ago, our neighbors planted fruit trees. At first, they rejoiced at the large, juicy fruits that appeared on young trees every autumn. But as the trees grew older, the fruits became smaller, they were no longer so beautiful and tasty. The neighbors decided that the weather and unsuitable varieties were to blame. In fact, the problem was that they never cut their trees.
Pruning keeps trees in good condition and increases yields significantly. By cutting out some branches of a mature, fruiting tree, you reduce the amount of fruit formed on it and provide better illumination inside the crown. The remaining fruits grow better (and the yield from this tree in terms of kg will also be higher), have a more attractive appearance. Increased air circulation and the sun's rays penetrating into the crown prevent the development of diseases.
Prune in the spring, until the sap begins to move in the plant, while the tree is still asleep, but the wood is not frozen.
In young trees, with the help of light pruning, they usually form a crown of one of three types, a tiered crown with a central conductor (leader), altered - leader and bowl.
When the tree begins to bear fruit, you will need to do more pruning, cut and shorten the branches. This measure will increase the yield of the tree and create a crown structure capable of withstanding a larger harvest. Here are some guidelines for pruning.
Prune every year. Removing a few branches annually is less painful for your tree than heavy pruning every 2-3 years. As a rule, you can cut out the number of branches from the crown, approximately equal to last year's growth, (but not more than 1/3 of all branches of the tree), you may find it necessary to remove new branches, but, first of all, try to cut out the old ones.
Avoid heavy pruning of bonsai. Dwarf trees grow more slowly than regular trees, so annual pruning should not be as vigorous.
Prune branches properly. Cut the branch obliquely over the outside of the branch. Angled pruning allows water to drain quickly from the cut, and pruning above the outside bud helps to form a shoot that does not thicken the crown.
In this context, you may also find useful the entry How to properly remove branches from large garden trees
Cut out old shoots. In some varieties of apples, pears and plums, fruits are formed not on the largest branches, but on small branches extending from them. If the crown thickens, cut out the oldest and least productive branches.
Maintain and support the growth of branches in a horizontal direction. The branches directed upward give a strong increase, but their yield is lower than that of the horizontal branches. Downward and hanging branches are the least productive and receive less light on them. Maintain horizontal branch growth by cutting straight up or down-growing shoots.
When to sanitize tree pruning?
It is recommended to carry out it during the growing season.
It is not recommended to carry out work due to the threat of pathogenic microorganisms, as well as in the spring, when the trees release their leaves. The best times for this are summer (but not June) and late winter. Sanitary pruning of trees can be carried out in the fall, but in September and October. It is not recommended to carry out it in late autumn.
In March and April, trees use the energy accumulated in the previous season, mainly for the formation of leaves. This is an auspicious period for many fungal diseases and pathogens. And in late autumn and early winter there is a risk of severe frost, which will harm the wounded tree.
Types of pruning
There are several varieties. The choice depends on the purpose of the event. Each method has its own technology of actions, which must be followed in order not to harm the tree. With the right work, the volume of the crop increases and the taste of the fruit improves.
Designed to stimulate tree growth. It has a beneficial effect on the development of the peach. He has a balanced diet. The crown size becomes optimal. The shape of the crown is also transformed. Strengthening of young shoots occurs. This increases the yield of the tree. Such pruning has a beneficial effect on the palatability of the fruit.
Pruning peaches in the fall: instructions for beginners in pictures step by step
Several rules should be followed:
- In the spring, an adult tree is pinched at a height of 40 cm.This will lead to the appearance of a second wave of shoots.
- You need to form a tree from 2 years to 5.
- The formation of a crown in the form of a bush is allowed.
The first pruning should be done immediately after planting.
It is held in the spring or summer. During restorative pruning, the following actions are performed:
- thin out the crown
- remove damaged and defective branches.
As a result, the crown will lighten, and the fruiting zone will increase.
This type can be carried out at any time of the year, including in the spring. It has a beneficial effect on the tree's ability to bear fruit. As a result, the number of fruits increases. It is required due to the fact that an excessive number of annelids appears on the peach.
Note: The oldest ones just need to be cut off. This will allow you to adjust the period and duration of fruit set.
For regulating pruning, shorten too long young branches. Long are those that have reached 50 cm. They are easy to spot. They stand out against the background of the crown.
This type is needed for the rejuvenation of mature trees. It will rejuvenate the peach. Fruiting will lengthen. Rejuvenating pruning is the removal of old branches. Shoots should be left at the age of 2-4 years. You can save the top growing under the old shoot.
If the procedure has not been carried out for a long period of time, its intensity should be increased.
In the middle lane, a pear is grafted only on seedlings of forest pear (Pyrus pyraster) or local resistant varieties (Tonkovotka, 'Bessemyanka' and others), obtaining tall, durable trees that begin to bear fruit in the 5th-8th year. In areas with a harsh climate, cuttings can be grafted onto P. salicifolia or P. elaeagrifolia - they are very hardy and drought-resistant, but they do not tolerate damp winters well. Sometimes, to obtain low-growing trees, a pear is grafted onto a hawthorn or mountain ash, but not all varieties are compatible with such rootstocks, and the trees are very short-lived.
You should not plant trees in early spring (in cool weather, accretion is very slow), as well as in the second half of May, when it gets too hot and the air humidity drops noticeably.To reduce evaporation, plastic bags are put on late vaccinations, but the risk of overheating is still very high.
After pruning, the apricot needs care:
- Seal the sections immediately with garden varnish or wood paint.
- Disinfect large cut surfaces with copper sulfate solution.
- Apply fertilizer to the tree trunk circle for better adaptation and restoration of the tree.
In addition to pruning, do other maintenance procedures: watering, mulching, and protecting against diseases and pests.
Important! On a large cut, the putty can break down before the wound heals. In this case, apply the garden varnish again. By covering the cuts in time, you will protect the tree from disease and destruction.