Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Pruning - cordons

Pruning time again, starting with the cordons. Each year I mean to do a proper 'before and after', but usually end up doing it on the spur of a spare moment, and forget. Not great photos, but enough to show the principles of spur pruning. Basically the aim is to take off virtually all the extension growth of the previous year, by which I mean all long shoots. Most of these will need taking off either where they spring from the main stem, or just above the nearest fruiting/flowering bud (which are always a little plumper than those destined to go on to make just leaves.

The photos and details show just how much growth needs removing. If you look carefully at the second closeup, you will see that I have only left two short, stubby, knobbly little branches (spurs), one each on the right and the left. These are fruiting spurs, which will hopefully flower and produce fruit. All other growth is removed cleanly, flush to the stem with a saw (a fairly fine ordinary one, much to the annoyance of my husband).

The only time I leave any extension growth is where it springs from a 'knobbly' wood that looks like it will produce buds directly in the future, even if it currently only has a current shoot with a leaf bud. I usual prune to 2-3 buds beyond the thickened, wrinkled bit. Hopefully next year fruit buds will appear directly from the base, and the new spur can be pruned to a fruiting bud as usual. Cutting directly into this basal proto-spur before it has produced a fruit bud tends to make it produce more vegetative growth.

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