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To prune or not to prune?

Posted by Ethan Gouge 
To prune or not to prune?
September 26, 2020 12:50PM
My MM111 trees were put into the ground feathered in 2014. Now nearing the end of their 7th growing season in my ground they are approaching mature size. Other than year 1 crow's foot training I have done no pruning in hopes of the earliest possible first harvest. In some cases this has allowed crowded or near vertical branches and bushy looking trees. Am I taking this 'limit pruning for earlier production' thing too far? In the early years a stray shoot here or there didn't seem to make a difference, but looking at some of those 'shoots' 4 years (and several inches diameter) later seems to be hindering the spread and interior light of the tree.

Last year was my first small crop on half the 20 varieties with the other half still not bearing. This year a late frost made for a smaller harvest than last season. Based on that, I would like to expect my first marketable harvest next year (year 8 in the ground).

Should I:
1) Prune more aggressively this year to begin working out some of the over crowding and vertical growth? or
2) keep sitting on my hands another year or two until the crops are bigger?

Roan Highlands Farm 6b, Roan Mountain, TN elevation: 3200 ft.
Re: To prune or not to prune?
September 28, 2020 09:13PM
My 2 cents... start pruning out verticals and some of the crisscrossing branches and maybe a few scaffold branches if you have too many. good luck.


Brampton Lake Orchards

Zone 4a Upper Michigan
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