Apple pruning for best fruit

Asked April 5, 2013, 12:32 PM EDT

So, I learned at the OSU pruning class that the best apples come from the limbs growing up and out. So is it still just as good if a larger limb is growing down, as long as the fruit-bearing part is growing up? Can an umbrella-shaped tree produce good fruit, if the fruit-bearing limbs are growing up? Second: Is it unwise to have a larger pruning cut on the top side of the limb/ Should I try to have all my cut faces on the underside of the limb? Many thanks! Ken

Lane County Oregon pruning fruit trees horticulture

1 Response

Ken,
Umbrella trees still produce fruit they are just not as productive as a properly train-and-pruned trees. The issue you have with umbrella shape is apical dominance at the terminal bud, not having one at the end of a scaffold limb. This situation causes excessive vertical water shoots, on the top side of the scaffold limb. There are only two cuts in pruning thinning and heading and the faces are not a up or down concern. Heading cuts are angled at 45 degrees just above the bud, picking the bud can effect the direction of growth. Thinning cuts are always back to a branch or crown, at the connection point there is a collar and the cut should be flat leaving the collar in place.
here is more information http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/22166/pnw400.pdf