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Newspaper Article "The Pruning of Fruit Trees," Vernon News, July 18, 1907 McNeill. A. Jul 18, 1907

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 E VEBNON NEWS, JULY 18, 1907.
THE PRUNING Of
FRUIT TREES
Result   of   Experiments
Government Farms.
on
VALUABLE HINTS TO GROWERS
The Subject Treated in an Exhaustive
Manner by A. McNeill, Chief
Dominion Fruit Inspector.
The United States experiment station record recently gave a digest of
experimental treatment applied to
apple trees on the large fruit farm at
Woburn, England. The problems investigated consisted of modifications
of the normal treatment adopted for
a set of trees and involved studies in
treatment, root pruning, maturing
and planting.
The normal treatment consisted in
planting the trees in trenched ground
and subsequently in keeping the surface clean, cutting back after planting, pruning moderately in autumn,
shortening growths when it appeared
necessary in summer, and fertilizing
with mixed minerals in autumn with
a dressing of nitrate of soda in February.
When trees were not cut back at
planting nor (Subsequently pruned,
they were straggling in form, and
there was a general loss of vigor and
growth. Nevertheless, the amount of
fruit grown by such trees was in excess of the average.
When trees cut back at planting
and not subsequently pruned, they assumed the general straggling form
noted above, but suffered no loss in
I vigor of growth. The experiments
' were slightly in favor of immediate
cutting back or setting out rather
than waiting for a year later. Summer pruning and summer pinching
produced no noticeable results with
the trees under investigation.
Root pruning resulted- in checking
both vigor and growth. Trees root-
pruned every year were in 189 8 but
little more than half as large as. normal trees, and those pruned every
other year only about two-thirds as
large. The crops borne by those trees
were heavy in proportion to their
size.
Trees carefully lifted every j ear
and carefully replanted suffered no
injury thereby, but when left three
days before planting, in imitation of
commercial methods, amounted in
four years to a loss of 28 per cent, in
size.
I     Carelessly planted and    neglected
I and attention was resumec    ifter the \
' first year. In these experiments carelessly planted trees resulted in an in- i
crease in growth of wood and in total j
height   of   the    tree,    a    surprising
'result,     which     is     being     furtner
idied.
+h'e  ground  with   clean
-«Wn*   or  r^-
Heavy   pruning  tends  to  promote
wood  growth,   showing  clearly  that
pruning is not detrimental    to    thej
health of trees, but as wood is only |
desired inasmuch as we can make it
produce fruit we may sometimes be1
disappointed in not getting *fruit the l
first year after pruning a neglected
orchard, because the growth has gone i
to wood rather than to fruit spurs,
but a second or following year, a crop
will  be  produced   which  will  amply
reward the labors of the pruner.
It is sometimes said that we must
prune in winter for wood and in summer for fruit. This is only partially
true. Winter pruning should be the
rule as more work can be done in a
given time. It is not so busy a season and I have yet to learn of any
serious damage resulting from pruning in the late winter. It is true,
however, that summer pruning, or
rather, the stopping of fast-growing
shoots during the month of June, has
a marked tendency to develop fruit
buds lower down the branch ; but
economic considerations must always
prevent much of this work being
done in the apple orchard, as the cost
of doing the work will more than offset the benefit of it.
In the case of dwarf pears, the
•question of the best time to prune is
settled by the greater convenience of
the months of March and April. In
case water sprouts develop it would i
be well to rub these off at the beginning of the growing season ; but the
appearance of water sprouts is usually an indication that too much cutting has been done. It is just as well
to leave one or two of these water
sprouts to shade the naked limbs or
trunk. !
Provision should be made for removing old wood in an apple tree. In
the normal condition of things, trees
should make a growth at the tip of
the limbs of at least one foot a year,
which growth will soon bring the
trees together, a condition of things
which renders effective orchard work
impossible. Before a limb is to be
removed provision should be made
for this space by leaving some vigorous water sprouts or new growth. By
cutting this sprout back to within
six inches of the main limb or trunk,
the following year new growths will j
appear from the upper buds, which
should be again cut back. This process continued for a few years will
give a short stout branch that wifl
speedily take the place of one to be
removed. There need not be any fear
of cutting a large branch, provided
the cutting is done close to the main j
branch or trunk, and directly in the |
line of the growing point, and pro-J
vided .also that the exposed surface |
is covered with paint or other substance that will protect it from decay.
—A. McNeill in Toronto Globe. stt
Mulching   „.
straw,  hardening  by  iunmbr
peated digging of the soil instead of
hoeing,  produced no appreciable results.
The effect of planting trees in hills
with the ground worked from two to
three feet deep, of planting in soil
mixed with flints, gravel, chalk, peat
or conipost, and of planting trees too
high or too low, were studied. Decided results were secured only when
the method employed favored an increased moisture supply to the roots,
with  peat  and  compost.
What can be done to develop the
fruit buds ? It is a matter of common observation that on a tree making excessive wood growth fruit
spurs, or buds, are not developed in
a corresponding degree. It has been
observed also that anything that
checks the wood growth will develop
fruit spurs. This is the theory of
root pruning, girdling and growing
in sod. Diminish the vigor of the
wood growth and nature makes an
effort to perpetuate herself through
the fruit. It is doubtful, however,
whether any of these methods are to
be recommended upon commercial
grounds. Every species of a tree has
its period of maturity. It is possible
by some such methods as have been
indicated to throw it into fruit before this period of maturity is reached, but only at the expense of the
vitality of the tree. There is another
method that has shown good results.
If the terminal bud of a fast-growing
shoot be cut off, the effect is to develop all the remaining buds to a greater  or  less  degree.     The  upper  buds
will shoot forward    with    a    wood!
i
growth. Those lower down will of- j
ten develop fruit spurs. This work
should be done about the middle of
the growing season. Cutting away
in the spring one-half or two-thirds
of the previous year's growth is good
practice where there is an excessive
wood growth. It increases the tendency to develop fruit spurs,and brings
the bearing wood nearer the stem of
the tree. We do not expect a young
apple tree or pear tree growing naturally to bear fruit for a number of
years. During these years it is making a large wood growth, and pushing far out from the stem the wood
upon which fruit spurs will be formed
when the tree reaches maturity. By
judicious cutting back of new growth
each year while the tree is young
there will be new wood formed, ready
for fruit spurs when the time for
bearing has arrived. This treatment
will prevent long branches,bare of
fruit spurs so common in young and
vigorous  orchards.

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