Pruning in general

Asked July 27, 2016, 4:00 PM EDT

We have an apricot tree that was supposed to be semi-dwarf, it is growing madly, it is producing good fruit, but we need to "redirect" some of it's branches as it is out of control. We want to do it right and not damage the tree. Also, we have grape vines running amok, can we trim off spans that have leaves and no fruit forming? Will that put more energy into the fruit, or hinder it. I'd love to find someone local that we can hire or ask questions of, need help with that as most "pruners" here prune only non-fruit trees. Thanks a million for any help

Lane County Oregon

2 Responses

Hello. You have managed what most cannot do around here and that is to have an apricot tree that fruits. Most locations experience late season frosts that damage the early blooming apricot. Even slight warm ups can cause the tree to break dormancy and bloom too early. Frost damages the blossoms and prevents fruit from forming. Cool rainy weather that keeps the pollinators away at the critical time can also result in no fruit or at best spotty production of fruit.

All fruit trees are grafted onto a root stock. The root stock is what controls the size of the tree. A semi-dwarf tree will be different sizes depending on which root stock it is grafted onto. Semi-dwarf trees are generally 50% to 75% the size of a the naturally rooted tree. So semi-dwarf does not necessarily mean you are getting a small fruit tree. It means you are getting a smaller than normal sized tree. Here is a link to another Oregon State University Extension Publication, ‘Training and Pruning Your Home Orchard’. . There is limited information about pruning apricots specifically, but if you read the publication a couple of times the basics will begin to stand out. Remove damaged, diseased, and dead wood. Remove branches that crossover others. Open the center of the tree to let sunlight penetrate the canopy and to allow for good air circulation. Dig into this publication and apply its principles to your tree and you will be headed down the right path. I also urge you to watch for fruit tree pruning seminars in your county. Here in Benton and Linn Counties there is generally one seminar in each county late winter to show you how to prune your fruit trees. Contact your county extension office to inquire about one in Lane County. This publication will get you on the right track in the interim.

Now about your grape question. Grapes, depending on their age, can indeed get out of control quickly. I attended a training and pruning session on table grapes this spring. I was surprised to learn that established grapes need little or no supplemental irrigation. This has significantly cut down my mid-season pruning sessions to get my grape vines back under control. Since you did not share how old your grape vines are or what type of grape I am assuming they are table grapes. Here is the link to another OSU Extension publication ‘Growing Table Grapes’. It can be a bit daunting to trying to figure out what to do on the initial reading but if you stick with it the information all begins to fall into place. It is a bit complicated as it depends on the age and maturity of the grape vine. . Should you have further questions I suggest that you contact your County Extension Office and visit there when a Master Gardener is on duty at the information desk.

Debby, thanks I'll be studying those two docs. We have purposely established micro climes for both apricot and peach trees. Both are bearing but the apricot is a bit spotty in yield because of pollenators "missing" the blooms on it. We are a mile and a half from the ocean, so knew it would be a bit tough to grow some things. Thanks again. Donna