The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Training young fruit trees

Training a pear tree

Even though I cut that poor old peach tree to within an inch of her life, I'm really more of a trainer than a pruner, especially with young trees.  Old-fashioned pruning advice will admonish you to cut a branch to a twig pointing in the direction you want it to grow, but you can get the same effect without setting the tree back by using a rope and weight to tie the branch down into the proper orientation.  By the time you train all the scaffolds, you may just discover there's next to nothing that really needs to be cut.  For example, the pear tree above, which I frameworked to Seckel a year ago, only needed the top lopped off once I tied down all the branches.

Training a plum tree

The European plums I added to our collection a year ago needed a bit more cutting, but not much.  They came with extra scaffold branches, and I let them all grow the first year.  As the tree neared its on-farm birthday, I figured I should select my favorites and give them a bit more of the tree's attention by pruning away extra limbs.

Training an apple tree

Despite using such a light hand on the pears, apples, and plums, the rest of our peach trees will probably get significantly more pruning since they grow like crazy on our farm.  But that will have to wait until the next sunny day.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Anna, I like to train young fruit trees also....simply because I don't know how to prune them. I can look at diagrams all day long and still not know what they are trying to say. I also tie a string to the trunk or strong limb and stretch the tree in the right direction...just wanted you to know that I'm glad someone else (who obviously knows more about gardening/homesteading than I) does this , too.
Comment by Patsy Fri Feb 21 16:02:14 2014

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