New growth turning upwards????

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PA_Docent
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Location: Glen Rock, PA United States

New growth turning upwards????

Post by PA_Docent » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:01 am

Why is it that on all my apple trees the most growth is upright. Should I straighten out branches as they grow or allow them to mature hoping they will become more parallel to the ground and prune in the autumn?
Last edited by PA_Docent on Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Chuck Rhode
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Re: New growth turning upwards????

Post by Chuck Rhode » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:08 pm

PA_Docent wrote:Why is it that on all my apple trees the most growth is upright. Should I straighten out these branches or allow them to mature hoping they will become more parallel to the ground?
Received knowledge has it that the best angle is 60° from the trunk (30° from the ground). Indeed the strongest growth is vertical, but vertical branches seldom set flower buds. Horizontal branches are not productive either because they don't grow. You can tie the vertical growth down. Usually though the water sprouts that grow up from older branches aren't needed and can be cut off.

Hugh
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Re: New growth turning upwards????

Post by Hugh » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:27 pm

Something to consider, "V" branches are weaker than "L" branches, and they will break easily with a load of heavy fruit.

You can use "branch spreaders" (clothes pins, toothpicks, rubber bands, wire, hanging weights etc. - be inventive) to spread the branches to a more favorable angle. I use 18 gauge thermostat wire which is two copper wires in a plastic sleeve. A 500 ft. roll is $50 at Lowe's. Branches can be gently pulled down and held by a wrap around another lower branch. A lot of my branches are tied to a 90 degree angle and even more, often to the negative. This will cause the branch to slow growth and improve flowering and fruit production.

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PA_Docent
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Re: New growth turning upwards????

Post by PA_Docent » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:11 am

I thought that with additional growth this season I could provoke the side branches to grow more parallel if I pruned them back to a bud on the under side of the branch. The new growth (only about 3 cm in length currently) would grow more parallel and not so upright. I guess I will have to "provoke" this new growth to grow more parallel to the earth. Any suggestions how I should accomplish this and how long the branch should be? Weights would break the new growth. Should I wait until they grow longer before trying with weights? The only method I know is to take sticks and tie the new branches to them.

Most of the main branches off the trunk are between 60-90 degrees, with some help from me. I will post pictures this autumn after the leaves fall off.
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dmtaylor
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Re: New growth turning upwards????

Post by dmtaylor » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:52 pm

PA_Docent wrote:Any suggestions how I should accomplish this and how long the branch should be? Weights would break the new growth. Should I wait until they grow longer before trying with weights? The only method I know is to take sticks and tie the new branches to them.
Young growth is stronger than you might think. Personally I use clothespins for just about anything I can think of. They are cheap, easy to clip on and off, and just about the right weight to pull branches down to a more horizontal position. Clip one on. Not weighed down enough? Just clip on 2 or 3 of them until the weight is where you need it to be.

Also, if you are only getting 3 cm of growth on the average branch, consider renewal pruning. Basically remove 1/3 of all the wood in the whole tree every winter to encourage more vigorous new growth. In a mature tree, this might be of less benefit, but in a young tree, you can mold the shape of the tree into whatever form you want over the course of a couple of years by removing all imperfect branches each winter and allowing new ones to take their place that you can train into the right positions.

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