samana wrote:thanks for all the suggestions... I am a little confused why so many are emphatic on pruning 2 yr nursery trees to balance with the root ball size. Watched many youtubes on this too. I was specifically instructed by the large nursery I bought from to chop down to balance the size and stimulate growth. Is this not really the case? And you say I should not be pruning at all? So much of what I've researched really encourages proper pruning for good fruit production and overall health.
You are in a dilemma here Samana........so lets start at the begining.
This ' balance ' you are worrying about for starters.
How large is the root ball that came from the nursery?
If the tree was in a large pot then unless the top is enormous...which is doubtful on a two year old, then the root should be fine in feeding the top growth.
Now as to tree growth stimulation.
If you are gowing to grow your tree in open ground and are not going to have it trained to specific shape or control ( by that I mean as an espalier or cordon or fan ) then you have to decide style of tree you need.
By the way....what is the root stock your tree is grafted to?
If as you say it was from a good nursery then it should carry a label with its rootstock type.
This will tell you then how strong you can expect your tree to grow and how big its potential size could become.
As to style.
You have two main forms.
A centre leader tree where the main trunk is allowed to grow up and side branches form around it rather like a Christmas tree grows.
Or as an open centre tree like an up-turned umbrella shape.
How you prune it in its first few years will decide which way you go.
There is one other form where the tree is allowed to grow straight up to several feet and is then branched high up. This is the old style tree that you can sit under in your old age.
This would however require the tree to be on a strong rootstock.
Stock 2 or no weaker than a 106.
The centre leader tree....the main shoot ( leader ) is allowed to grow straight up and is just tipped to promote stiffness in its growth.
Once it has reached the hight you want the tree to stay then it is controlled by keeping this leader on the weak side. You do this by removeing any strong growth at the top of the tree and only leaving weak
In fact..other than the leader it is best to have no branch structure at the top of the tree that is older than three years. This keeps the cropping wood where you can reach it and stops the tree heading for the sky.
The open centre tree is the one that needs far less detail work on it as it is allowed to grow in a much more free form.
This tree is started by cutting the centre leader at the point where you want the main branch structure to come from. You then let the branches spread from that point and this is where a little judicial tying down can get the structure into the position you want it without continual cutting.
How much pruning you do is your descision.
Growers do as little as possable in the trees early life so that they get their tree to fill its alloted space as quickly as possable and into cropping.
Do check though what roots stock your tree is on. Very important in how your tree may develope.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.