Encouraging blossoms on fruit trees?

Asked October 8, 2016, 4:45 PM EDT

do you recommend root or trunk girding to encourage blossoms production ?

Kent County Michigan

1 Response

Yes those are two practices that are used.
Girdling used to be a common practice in apple varieties that were slow to begin bearing, such as Northern Spy. The trunk is not completely girdled but the bark is damaged or removed around most of the circumference with a small undamaged portion remaining. Sometimes two ring are cut with the undamaged gap on opposite sides of the trunk. If the scion is susceptible to fire blight this can be a dangerous practice.
Root pruning has also been used in apples and is being investigated in cherries. Root pruning generally requires a piece of heavy equipment to break or cut the larger roots. Root pruning is usually only done when the tree has filled its space in the orchard and has the added benefit of reducing tree growth.
Because fruit trees form their flower buds for next year in late spring and summer these practices are preformed in the late spring.
Another more common practice is to bend the limbs of apple tree down from the vertical to the horizontal. The flatter the limb, the greater the flower bud formation.
Reducing pruning also promotes flowering as does reducing fertilizer application. All these practices reduce growth which also promotes flowering.
Thinning apples generally promotes flowering the next year as the presence of an apple with seeds in it suppresses the formation of a flower bud at that spur.
Besides chemical thinning sprays after bloom, there are also a few sprays that promote bloom which are applied about a month after bloom.