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Training Fruit Trees



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An open center tree resembles a giant bowl or vase with the center empty and the branches distributed around the outside. This system is easy to develop and exposes the branches to the sun. The disadvantage is that all branches are attached to the trunk at about the same point and are prone to break down with heavy fruit loads. This system is preferred for peaches, apricots and plums, and was used extensively on older plantings of apples and cherries. Scaffold branches are allowed to develop off of the main trunk starting about two feet off the ground. One branch should point to each direction of the compass and come off of the trunk at a 45 degree angle. The other system is the central leader that creates an inverted cone. It provides strength with fruiting branches distributed up the tree. The main trunk is retained and side branches developed that come off at a 45 degree angle at the four points of the compass. Tiers of branches are developed starting about three feet off the ground. A second tier of branches is developed three feet higher and a third tier is developed to complete the system. This system is frequently used on semi-dwarf apple trees and it's becoming more commonplace for cherries and other trees. When developing these systems it is important to keep in mind where the fruit is borne. Peaches bear on the wood that grew the previous year. This wood is bright red or orange and for best production, should be the size of a pencil or larger. Apples bear on fruiting structures called spurs. These long, gnarled fruit buds are an important part of production, and must be preserved in order to get a good crop. Peaches are pruned more severely than apples to stimulate abundant growth of new wood. On apples, a balance of old and new wood is needed, because the new wood does not produce any fruit. Pruning is actually a relatively simple task once you understand the principles involved. A little study and careful pruning brings big dividends in how well your trees produce. This time and effort will turn those neglected, overgrown trees into excellent fruit producing specimens in your back yard orchard. If you would like more information on pruning fruit trees, plan to attend one of the following Utah State University Extension Service listed below. This is for Utah County only Please call the host and let them know that you are coming.. March 4 at 4:00pm Kevin and Sue Card 10894 N. 5750 W. Highland # 756-5711 March 12 at 3pm Judith Skousen 665 N 500 E Orem #224-2613 March 13 at 3:30 pm Salt Lake County Jack Clark 884 S. 1000 W. March 2 at Noon Payson #465-1103 This is the Place March 19 at 3pm March 2 at 3 pm Arlene Kendall Sunrise Orchard 1669 S. 100 E. 11278 S. 700 E Orem #225-7170 Draper March 20 at 3pm March 2 at 3pm Jock and LeRey Andrew Summerhays 1373 E. 400 S 13450 S. 975 E Springville #491-0597 Draper April 1 at 3pm March 2 at 1pm Neil and Diane Voss Deciduous trees 405 W. 330 S. Wheeler Farm American Fork #756-6278 April 2 at 3pm Mylo Barney 1660 N. 1600 W. Mapleton # 489-4735 Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Extension Thanksgiving Point Office

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