Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Annual report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society for the year ending July 1, 1921
Vol. LI (1921)
Roberts, R. H.
Off-year apple bearing, pp. 72-78 PDF (1.8 MB)
78 FIFTY-FImST ANNUAL REPORT OF We had better take up the question of pruning now. Pruning has more possibilities in producing regularly, perhaps, than any other single cultural factor. In general old orchards have been consistently underpruned. In doing pruning work, if you have crowding or crossing branches remedy the trouble but do your prunsing by small cuts. The result is that you get a greater vegetative growth out of the spurs close to which the cut is made. The removing of a large branch has very little effect upon the old spurs about the remainder of the tree. The cuts must be close to the old spurs in order to rejuvenate them. Take a pole pruner; do not take an axe or hand saw. One reason much pruning work is done poorly is because you do not have the right tools to do it with. Go out into the old orchard with a pole pruner. Spend 25 minutes the first year on each tree; after that ten or fifteen minutes every year will keep the tree in condition. Pruning with small cuts gives a greater vegetative growth of old spurs, leaves an evenly distributed fruiting surface and generally benefits fruit production. Q. Any preference as to when you do that? PROF. ROBERTS: Regular dormant pruning, but do the pruning by small cuts and do it regularly. MR. SMITH: Is it not necessary where an orchard has been neglected, an old orchard, to cut off pretty large limbs, two or three inches in diameter? PROF. ROBERTS: I should say as a general rule, absolutely not. And the reason I say that is this: The thinning out that trees need, unless it is dead limbs you are taking off, can be done with a small cut in practically all varieties, -and when you take out one of those three or four inch limbs, what you have done is to make a great big hole in one corner of the top, and you have left the rest of the top just as thick and in just as undesirable condition as when you started in. Many of the trees in the state, old trees, need heading back from the top downwards where they are two or three inches thick, but to remove large limbs about the bottom of the tree is practically always unnecessary under our situations here in the state. What I want to emphasize this afternoon is this,-your trees seem to respond to the possibilities that you give them. Blossom bud formation and fruitfulness, we are coming to believe, is a pretty constant matter. Your orchards vary because you do different things to them, and they are unproductive because you have not given them a chance to be productive. We have some measures to judge what the tree has done, as spur length and terminal length. We can also tell what the spurs have done from year to year. There is reason to believe if we get into the habit of looking at the trees that we can be pretty sure what we should do in a cultural way. -7 -.- . -
Based on date of publication, this material is presumed to be in the public domain.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright