Close Window
Click picture to enlarge
What you need:
  • Loppers
Fruit trees can be trained to many forms. The most common are the open vase shape and central leader. This tutorial demonstrates how to train a young tree to an open vase shape, a form particularly suited to peaches, plums and apricots.
Click picture to enlarge
Young trees are often purchased bareroot in winter as one-year-olds with a single trunk and no branches (whips), or as older trees that already have some branching (feathered). The tree in this picture is a whip. After planting, prune the whip back to 2 - 3 ft. from the ground above a healthy bud scale.
Click picture to enlarge
The first dormant season after planting, our tree looks like this. Select 4 or 5 strong side branches that are evenly distributed around the trunk about 8 in. apart, with the lowest about 18 in. from the ground. These will be your future scaffold limbs. Avoid branches with narrow crotches.
Click picture to enlarge
Prune back each scaffold by about . Prune the top of the tree back to just above the top scaffold. Remove any other larger branches that were not chosen as scaffolds.
Click picture to enlarge
This is how our tree looked following pruning in the first dormant season.
Click picture to enlarge
By the second dormant season, your tree will have grown significantly. Select 4 or 5 well-placed branches that grew from each of the scaffold limbs.
Click picture to enlarge
Shorten these by about above an outward facing bud. Remove all other large shoots and vigorous vertical growth.
Click picture to enlarge
This is how the tree looks following pruning in the second season. Over succeeding dormant seasons, head back vigorous shoots by about to , remove all vertical growth, remove dead or damaged growth and prune out growth heading into and crowding the center of the tree or rubbing against other branches.