Teddy12b
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My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Looking at the pictures I have already found some mistakes I plan on correcting. I'm not going to say what they are because I'd rather see what the experts think first. I'm not a central leader type of pruner and I've been trying to follow what is shown on the "Dave Wilson Nursery" series of you tube videos. Some of these I cut lower than others and some I cut a little higher. I'm new at this and I'm experimenting a little bit. If anyone has any suggestions or comments feel free.

I have numbered the trees so it's easier to reference any recommendations:

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None of the cherry trees are going to be pruned until after just in case I would be getting a few cherries this year.

Cherry Tree 1 - Bing
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Cherry Tree 2 - Bing
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Cherry Tree 3 - Black Tartarian
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Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

I should add that as soon as the ground will allow a truck back there I'm going to get some mulch back in that area and try to get the whole area with several inches worth of mulch.

I'm hoping that some good comes of these pictures and that maybe some other people out there will learn from my mistakes and successes (assuming I did anything right). Either way I'm looking for ward to the comments.

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applestar
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Don't forget you also have the option to train the branches to bend down to a lower angle too. This changes the natural hormones in the branches so they become fruiting branches earlier.

You also want to use this technique to train the scaffold branches to 45° or more.
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valley
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

No two people trim alike, there is no one way to prune a tree. Some of the pruned trees I would have pruned a bit more and some less. At times a lower branch was left swooping out that I would remove. Again, there is no one way. Let us see pictures as they sprout and fill in. Thanks

Richard

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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

I agree with valley!
No two people prune the same and there is really no wrong way to prune!

I am always a little nervous too when pruning thinking I am taking too much or too little. But when the foilage comes back and fills in nice my fears go away.
And even if you did make a few mistakes there is always next year to remedy the situation!
Good job!
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Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

I appreciate all the encouragement and tips. It just feels so weird to me to hack a tree in half but as long as I'm not doing damage by my pruning I'll continue it.

At this point I haven't done anything as far as sprays go. I'm looking for some very minimal and organic if I have to do anything to protect my trees.

jb02007
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Nice job!

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Thanks. I've been noticing lately that it looks like everywhere that I pruned seems to be doing well with new life. I've been able to grade myself on pruning based on how the buds are breaking and what direction things are starting to grow. I'm excited to see how this year goes with the growth on these trees.

jb02007
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

That's great! Pruning doesn't usually do damage to the tree/plant you're pruning unless you cut it to far back, the cuts aren't nice clean cuts or sometimes depending upon the time of the year. These mistakes are pretty easy to avoid though. Keep up the good work!

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

What's really awesome at this point is that the trees are starting to bloom. I've tried taking pictures of them, but the camera just doesn't do it justice. The bing cherry trees are amazing right now. The black tartarian is so so but the apples look they are goingto have a decent year for getting some growth established. All things considered I'm really excited about watching my little orchard establish itself.

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Here are some updated photo's. I apologize that the quality of the pictures isn't that great and that it's hard to see what little bit of growth there is.

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Cherry Bing 1
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Cherry Bing 2
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Cherry Bing 2B
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Cherry Black Tartan
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Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

I tried updating some pictures and the numbering should match from one post to another. I'll try to get some better pictures up some time because these just didn't turn out very well.

As you can tell I've added a lot of mulch, and it hasn't quite been spread out perfectly yet like I'd like it to be. So far I've had about 50 yards worth dumped around the area of the main orchard. I've been chipping away at spreading it around with the "dozer" blade on my garden tractor and that seems to work pretty well compared to me just raking it out.

In hindsight, I wish I'd have waited a little longer before pruning. I was so nervous about being too late on it that I ended up pruning too early. We had some nasty cold spells even after I pruned and I don't think that did the trees any favors.

This weekend I've got some additional fruit trees to plant. Some are going to reinforce the peachs and pears that I put in last year, and some are going to be for an orchard I intend to put in on another spot on the property. The round of trees I'm about to plant this weekend was all bought at lowes during their 50% off sale they've got going this week.

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

So far I have not given any of these fruit trees any fertilizer, and I have not sprayed them with anything.

Over lunch I bought some Jobes' organic fertilizer 4-4-4. I was thinking about waiting until I know there's a nice rain coming and then fertilizing the trees shortly before the rain hits. I'm thinking a little bit of fertilizer now and then another dose in the fall.

The more I thought about my little plan, I started to think I should run it past all the green thumbs on this forum first to make sure I don't hurt my fruit trees.

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

You can fertilize the trees now. They are going to take it up and store most of it till next year but they might get some benefit this year as well. I recommend fertilizing in the spring when they are blooming with a fruit tree food that has less nitrogen in it (the first number).

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

As an update, when I pruned those trees my biggest fear was pruning too late in the year and causing the trees harm in some way because of that. Instead I ended up pruning way too early for the winter we had that year. That was an unusually cold and nasty winter that ended up extending itself by another two months from the time I did that deep prune. Most of those trees pictured didn't survive my foolish mistake. Many barely had a leaf come out in the spring if anything. I waited optimistically till fall and figured that if in the spring of '15 if there wasn't life those trees were gone. Well, here it is and most of those trees broke off easily at ankle height with a gentle kick. They are all going to be replaced and some already have been. A combination of 1 year old wips and some two year old trees from Lowes will be planted in those spaces.

If anyone wants, I can post pictures, otherwise I'm just going to keep after building my orchard.

JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Just a hint Teddy.
When you take a picture of a young tree it helps if you use a white sheet behind the picture. This shows up all the trees structure clearly.
John

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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Hi Teddy,

I saw that some of your pictures were labeled with the type of tree (Bing Cherries). IDK what the rest of the trees are - I either missed something or drank too much wine.

DITTO Jona - provide a backdrop for better photos.

Pruning techniques vary greatly. Different trees require different pruning techniques. Pruning techniques also vary depending on your region.

I NEVER amend or fertilize soil the first year a tree is planted - fruit, citrus or ornamental. Fertilizing the first year pushes lots of foliage growth but sacrifices root growth. Fertilize the spring after your tree has been in the ground for 1 year. I use granular 8-8-8. 1 lb. per 100 square feet. Watered in. I absolutely HATE fertilizer stakes. An uneven distribution that frequently results in root burn.

More specifics on the type of trees you are pruning and your region - county and state. I like doing research but I do need region specific information.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Totally agree on the white sheet behind the tree for pictures. Wish I'd have thought of that years ago.

Most of the trees pruned were Apple trees of different varieties.

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sweetiepie
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

I am also new to fruiting trees and am trying to build up an orchard. Every year, I get a few more to add and from different places. I am not sure how old your trees were but from most of the places I get my trees. They suggest only pruning damaged limbs on planting and the first year and then sparingly on the second year, such as suckers, low branches etc. It's too early for me to see if mine have made it through the winter yet. But the winter of 2014 was bad. I try to grab trees that are for zone 2 but those are hard to find, just encase. Wishing you better luck!

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ElizabethB
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Teddy - the thing with pruning is all contingent on the variety of fruit tree and your region.

Question - did you do some research and plant region specific varieties?
What varieties of what fruit did you plant?
How old are the trees and how long have they been in the ground?

Most important - what is your county and state?

I really like to do research but it is difficult without a specific local.

:eek:

Looking forward to hearing more from you.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Most of the research I've done has led me to Dave Wilson Nurseries youtube videos. I've watched his videos on backyard orchards and similar topics literally countless numbers of times. I've followed his pruning instructions for backyard orchards and I'm not trying to create large tall tress with fruit I can't reach. My goal isn't to have one massive crop of apples come in at one time a year, but rather a slow and steady supply of fresh fruit all year round.

I'm in Allen County Indiana, 46845. Depending on what zone search you look up I'm either zone 5 or 6. Personally I try to error on the safe side and go for zone 5 plants. Currently, the one year old sticks I've started replacing dead trees with are yellow delicious, granny smith, and gala. I'm going to pick up some Red Delicious, McIntosch, Honeycrisp, and maybe something else if I feel the urge.

Last year I stopped by Lowes near the end of June and filled the bed of my truck with fruit trees at half price so if I'm lucky enough to have that happen again I will surely take advantage of that again any time I get a chance.

JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Well Teddy...all those varieties are ones that will store well. Most are related to the Golden Delicious family and as such have very good ' keeping' qualities.
I would be a littler careful with the Gala. They are notorious for getting scab. On warm damp summers regular spraying will be needed to keep the spores at bay.
If you are trying to get fruit for the whole year then you will have to pick your fruit over a long period....starting long before they are truly edible.
Once an apple is fully ripe it has a shelf life of two or three weeks Max. So a fair proportion of your crop must be harvested when 10%-20% starch conversion has started.
The Grannies should keep the longest of all those you've got so far.
Can you get any ' early ' vars there? Worcester....Discovery.....Grieve....etc. these would fill that early period while the others are maturing.
John

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

For early fruit I've tried to fill that space with Cherries. Currently I've got two good solid Bing Cherry trees that I planted in that same spring '13 initial tree planting. Every year I've at least seen a few cherries on those trees even though the birds get them before I do. Last year I had the bird nets out too late and the day I was about the put the nets up the tree were picked clean. At least I picked one off the tree and ate it first though.

In addition to the Bings, I've got one each of Northstar, and Montmorency. Had two of each originally, but one of each died last winter. Also had a black Tarttarian that didn't survive as well. I'm going to plant some more cherries this year as well so we'll see what I can find. Definitely going to plant a Lapin or two, maybe another Bing, and probably something else. I've got 6 spots I want strong healthy cherry trees at and currently I have 2 solid trees and 2 that are a little iffy.

JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

That sounds great Teddy.
Hope you are going to net them once they start to ripen.
Over here we have to net against the birds or they would eat the lot
Also once they start to ripen we have to put some form of rain cover over them. If cherries get wet once the skin has set, they are inclined to suffer a high proportion of splitting.
John

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applestar
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Oooh! I hadn't heard of this. I had a lot of splitting on my Emperor Francis and White a Gold cherries. I bought these yellow sweet cherries in hopes of foiling the birds.

Do you have to actually put up plastic film like a green house or tarp tent?
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JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

applestar wrote:Oooh! I hadn't heard of this. I had a lot of splitting on my Emperor Francis and White a Gold cherries. I bought these yellow sweet cherries in hopes of foiling the birds.

Do you have to actually put up plastic film like a green house or tarp tent?
Most commercial growers over here in Europe grow cherries in protected rows.
Large steel hoops are placed down the rows and netting is draped over these to keep the birds out. Then as the fruit starts to ripen plastic sheeting goes over to keep rain off.
Very expensive systems to set up...but the rewards are high.

In parts of the more mountainous areas of places like Italy, this system is also used to protect apple orchards from hail damage. Only very intensive orchard planting systems warrant such huge investment.
There is an old orchard saying......frost damage is never as bad as it first seems.....hail is ten times worse.
Just a few seconds of hard hail can ruin a complete crop.
John

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

I've never heard of covering the trees with plastic. Even though my trees are around 4 years old give or take a year I still don't expect that I'll be able to collect enough fruit this year to have a substantial impact on anything regardless. I'm still in the establishment phase of getting my orchard setup.

Over lunch I picked up two lapin cherry trees, two honeycrisp apples, and one McIntosch. I'm going to stop by lowes on the way home and grab another two or tree cherry trees, and then a couple apple trees and then I'm done, or should be at a point where I can stop myself until the 50% off sales arrive.

JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Image from https://www.fruit-doctor.co.uk/wp-conten ... 24x613.jpg.

Hope this comes out ok..cherries under plastic.
John

JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Image from https://www.theenglishappleman.com/misc/ ... el.300.jpg.
Good crop




Sent from my iPad
John

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applestar
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

They look amazing! :o
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Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Wow!!! the pictures of those cherry trees are what I'm hoping to end up with some day years from now.

So.... Over the weekend I finished off planting the rest of my replacement fruit trees. Normally I buy all my trees from Lowes, but this year I wanted to try to support local a little better. So I bought 5 or 6 trees from a local place and the rest from Lowes. To be completely honest, I was really disappointed in the locally bought trees. The container they came in was half the size of the ones the trees from lowes came in. When I pull the trees out of the container I found the roots wrapped around themselves in the container. Great root balls, but it was a picture perfect example of root systems that were going to eventually choke themselves out. I straightened them out as much as possible, and in doing that accidentally broke some roots. Very frustrating, but on the good news the trees from Lowes were darn near perfect and went in very smoothly.

I've got mulching to do, but otherwise, I'm pretty much done planting stuff for the year besides the garden.

JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Hi Teddy
A few broken roots will not be any problem. But as you say....those roots that are going round in circles do need dealing with by pulling them out otherwise they will continue to grow in a very restricted way.
Believe it or not.....there was a way of planting maiden trees....( trees in their first leaf)....were all the roots are cut off at planting and the tree is just rammed into the ground down a large dibber made hole, then a heavy boot is applied to firm it in. A firm staking is needed to avoid rocking.
It's called ' Stringfellowing' after its inventor.
It really does work.....we planted 1000 intensive bed apple trees this way and only lost ten trees in the first year.
East Malling research station found that trees planted by this system had made root systems identical to normal planted trees after two years.
It looks very drastic at planting time and most growers still use the old methods as belt and braces ......also most modern maidens are far larger trees than those of fifty years ago. So have a greater growing head needing instant feeding.
Still.....it shows how tough trees can be providing the soil is well prepared for them.
John

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

That's sounds crazy to chop that much off like you're saying, but if it worked then that's a lesson learned for me. When I've planted trees in the past if the roots were excessively long and tangled up I'd trim them off a little, but never gave one much a a tight haircut if I could avoid it.

JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

Teddy....when you take your next pictures hang a sheet behind the tree,...it will show them up so much better.
A couple of things I would add about pruning fruit trees that applies no matter what style of tree you wish to finish up with.
First never let the branches higher up the main trunk get stronger than the lower ones. The tree will rapidly finish up as a ' bottle brush' with all the fruit going ever higher up in the tree.
Don't be afraid to tie strong branches down to slow their growth and induce fruit bud along their length.
Don't go tipping the end of all those side shoots. It encourages them to thicken up, often too much, and it is a waste of the trees efforts to grow. Let the tree fill its allotted space before you try to contain it too much.
John

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

This picture isn't the best, and I do need to start using a white sheet when I take pictures, but this tree is an example of how I was hoping that all the trees would turn out when I tried to prune them the way I did.

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I do have some trees starting to bloom and that's been fun for me to watch.

Plum tree before bud break:
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Same tree after:
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Same tree from a little distance away, it's all the way to the left:
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Same tree about 10 feet away:
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Apple:
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Nectarine:
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Cherry Bing:
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Here's one of the Nectarine trees. You can see the black spray on sealer I put on it after the deer beat it up last fall.
Image

JONA
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

The first tree is developing a main leader below its head. If you want the tree to grow as a centre leader tree...fine....but if you want a standard or open centre tree, then eventually that branch will have to be weakened, or all those small branches below it will never grow away strongly.

The plum is more of a problem I think.
Have you tipped the small feathers low down?
That large head branch is going to romp away and the base branches are in need of some help to catch up.
I would suggest a tall 8ft stake. Tie the leader to it. Hopefully it will carry a few plums this year to slow it down and give that base a chance.
Next year it may be necessary to actually cut that top back a bit to allow the trees strength to be put into the lower structure.
It's well worth spending time getting the shape right early on in the trees life, as later it can be the very devil to do.


The nectarine I would leave for a couple of years at least, let the tree fill its space a bit more before you start to trim too much.
That strong side branch may need a little tying down if it continues to get stronger than the leader. At the moment it is taking more feed from the roots than the main head is. Fine...but it doesn't want to over take the head or the shape will be gone.
John

Teddy12b
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Re: My first attempt at pruning, lots of pictures

For the first tree I think you're spot on. I haven't done any trimming to that tree since my initial pruning. Since it's the only one that survived all of that I just felt like I was about to jinx it if I were to cut on it again. Silly I know, but I was going to hold off on it for a little while.

The plum is a weird one for me. Seems like 95% of the flowery growth is at the tip and the thing is already long and whippy. I'm not sure on the way to get it to grow/produce evenly is. I've been thinking about trimming off a good portion of the top of the tree, but selfishly I've been so excited to watch it grow and flower out that I couldn't bring myself to do it. I know I need to cut about a foot off the tip at least in order to get the rest of it to flush out. I'm going to have to stake it also if I ever have hopes of seeing that tree grow straight as well. In this portion of the backyard, my intent isn't to prune these trees to an open center. I'd like the to grow tall which is another reason I haven't cut the top. Whatever fruit starts to appear this year will be picked off quickly so that the growth gets put into the root system. If I don't pick the fruit, the deer will certainly help me out and do it for me.

The nectarine trees have really surprised me with how well they held up through the last winter. I don't have any plans to cut on them any more than a broken branch or anything trying to grow into the the center of the tree.

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