Pruning Deer Damaged trees

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Rheidy
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:55 pm

Pruning Deer Damaged trees

Post by Rheidy » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:17 pm

I have an 8 year old cider orchard, which I planted from whips, 175 trees in total (25 x 7 varieties) I am a total beginner!

We were going so well, then 3 years ago we had severe deer damage to the lower branches of about 40% of the orchard. I pruned off damaged and broken branches at the time, but have not pruned properly since. There is alot of upward growth on some trees, with new branches growing up high, but I don't have any lower or mid branches on some of these trees, they were lost to the damage. I am about to start pruning this week (in Australia)

My question is, do I prune back the lanky upward growth to promote new branches down lower, or won't that work at all?

P.S. We have since built a really heavy duty 8ft deer fence around the entire orchard.

Kellogg Hill Farms
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:51 pm

Re: Pruning Deer Damaged trees

Post by Kellogg Hill Farms » Thu Apr 30, 2020 8:49 am

Apples are amazingly forgiving for the most part. I like to size control my trees and will often top them at about 5 feet to stimulate growth, which i will then prune to get branching where i want it. Here in the US, most apples are pruned to a central leader style, however there is a growing trend to prune more of an open center style, basically so it looks like a wine glass, which is what my orchard is pruned as.

I would suggest that you prune to get the trees the size and shape that you want, so if topping a tree to stimulate side branching is what you are looking to do, then i would suggest you go for it.

Rheidy
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:55 pm

Re: Pruning Deer Damaged trees

Post by Rheidy » Mon May 04, 2020 8:26 pm

Thanks for your encouragement :)

I did indeed top the trees, and spring was encouraging, I did get some new lower branch growth.

We had a shocking summer here though, terrible drought and bushfires with a grasshopper plague thrown in. We had our only spring fed dam all but dry up which we use to irrigate the orchard, and no rain until just a month ago. fingers crossed for next spring!

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