Moving on to older trees, these trees have
been in the ground for two years and are starting their third growing season. We start our training
and pruning. Look at the center of the tree. The first thing we must do is identify our
primary scaffold branches. We have one, two, three, and four. If you want to maintain this
scaffold branch growth out at approximately a forty-five degree angle, so they can tolerate
fruit crop load. The first thing we’ll do is identify this scaffold branch that’s
coming out right here. So, we want to get rid of competition using loppers. And you’ll
notice that as we’re using larger trees we use, are using loppers now. Loppers, these
have thirty-two inch handles. Again they are by-pass pruners similar to our hand shears
that we were using, but they allow us to cut larger growth within the tree. So, as we look
at the scaffold branch coming out, we’re maintaining the forty-five degree angle. We’ll
come in and head this one an outward growing bud. Again, we’ve made that heading cut
to stiffen this branch to tower a fruit load as well as to encourage more branching back
in here in which you will have the fruit in coming years. We’ll get rid of growth that’s
growing on the bottom of this branch that will be shaded. So we would cut the underneath
branch we cut out. Anything growing on top of the branch we’ll also eliminate that
will be shading other growth. Branches coming out we maintain from the side here to be fruity
with. We’ll maintain them. With your odd branch, we’ll cut them back by about a third
as well, so that we can maintain the fruit load on these stiffened branches. Okay, this
scaffold branch coming out as well. We have a heading cut that was made there. We have
three very vigorous branches at the tip. We will select that down to one with the branch
growing in the orientation in the direction that we would want. So, we eliminate the competition
there. Growth growing underneath we’ll get rid of that will be shaded. And then the growth
growing on top that would be shading, we also remove. These scaffold branches coming up,
again we will cut to an outward growing bud to maintain the growth of that branch. This
scaffold branch over here that’s coming out, we need to fork them when we move from
the tree. In order to fill our lot of space of sixteen to eighteen foot between trees,
we’ll have our scaffold branch coming out. And then we allow it to a fork in two directions
so it can fill a greater area. So, we have our scaffold branch here with a fork in it
coming up in this direction. Eliminate the competition coming out. Cut the branches underneath
that are being shaded, and those on top that are shading. And continuing up, we will cut
to an outward growing branch to maintain the growth of this scaffold branch. Yet with this tree we have a scaffold branch
coming out. This is a little too upright. It’s going to the wind, so we need to direct
this one more outward. So, that we have, maintain the open center, light in the center of the
tree. Again we get rid of growth underneath and that growing on top. What we also need
to do is the red wood, which is the most productive wood, we need to come back and cut those back
by a third, to stiffen those branch, branches and to eliminate excess of flowers. On peach trees, one of the things that determines
where we will make our cuts is where the fruit is formed. If we were to look at our mature
peach tree, we are looking at shoots that are eighteen to twenty-four inches long, are
red in color. For the eastern peach varieties, we have a very high bloom density, which means
we have many flowers onto the tree, which will allow us to lose some for frost and freeze
and still have a full crop. If we were to look at a shoot like this, approximately eighteen
inches long, it has approximately thirty-five flower buds on it. When in actuality this
branch could only support at the most four peaches. If we were to look closely at the
peach shoot, at every node if you will, there is a bud. If there is only one bud at that
node, that is going to be a leaf bud. Each node will have at least one leaf bud. But
if we look at other ones, we may have two flower buds there, with a flower bud on the
outside here, a flower bud on the outside here. But in the center is a leaf bud. If
we look at these shoots up and down you see how many flower buds we would have. So, when
we were pruning peach trees many times we will make a heading cut. On a shoot like this
we may come back and cut it by a third in order to stiffen that branch to eliminate
some bloom that our growers are going to have to remove during their thinning season. And
then we allow this branch to be stiffened out to tolerate at least three peaches. So
on a peach tree; we will make many heading cuts. If we were to try that on an apple tree,
when we cut off the tips, we would cut off all the fruit on that apple tree with no crop
at all. For more information on training and pruning
fruit trees, you can refer to this publication published by the North Carolina Cooperative
Extension Service. And it can be found on the website at the bottom of this screen.