Pruning & Training
Pruning is an essential, although expensive, procedure in stone fruit orchards. In order to optimize this practice, we have conducted many research projects over the past 30 years and have come to two main conclusions.
First, trees should be minimally pruned in the first couple of years. Many growers prune young trees very hard, which only reduces early yield. We have found greatly increased yields, with no detrimental effects, by minimal pruning.
Second, we have extensively evaluated the concept of reducing tree height. This greatly cuts down on labor costs, often improves fruit quality and can maintain high yields if the trees are managed properly. Proper management includes maintaining high light interception by spreading scaffolds more and/or planting trees closer together. It also includes careful management of vigor through irrigation, fertilization and pruning practices. These techniques work best when applied to orchards from planting but can also apply to mature trees. To the right are links to reports on these new concepts. Below are links to standard pruning procedures for open vase trees.