Tree Fruit and Small Fruit Jon

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Tree Fruit and Small Fruit Jon Traunfeldjont@umd.eduCollege ofAgriculture and Natural ResourcesReasons to grow fruitFlavor and quality, high store price, versatility, health benefitsIts a challenge lots to learn (part science, art, and mystery)long lived plants that require timely care and attention each seasonBut please start small; start with small fruitTake less space, more forgiving, can be grown organically, less expensive to maintain and easier to dig upFruit plants grown in MarylandTree fruitMajor- apple, European pear, peach, plum (Asian and European), sweet and tart cherry, figMinor- Asian persimmon, Asian pear, lemon, lime, orange, banana, pawpaw*Small fruit (take less space, more forgiving, can be grown organically, less expensive to maintain and easier to dig up)Major- strawberry, blackberry*, raspberry,* blueberry*, grape* Minor- currant, gooseberry, jostaberry, hardy kiwi, elderberry*, beach plum*, chokecherry*, medlar, citron*Native to mid-AtlanticWill I have to spray a lot?Pest problems (commercial growers spray):Peach (many pests)Apple (many pests)Sweet cherryJapanese plumGrapeCan grow these organically:FigRaspberry/blackberryCurrantStrawberryBlueberryAsian pearAsian persimmonEuropean plumSour cherryHow do fruit plants compare to tomato plants?Perennials that require 12-month attentionRequire hardening (chilling hours) to survive winter and produce fruitMaximum yields come with the correct balance of root, leaf, and fruit growthImportant to know when and where they produce flower buds and fruitCorrect pruning is essential to control growth and encourage fruitingPlan aheadDo I have enough room? Enough time? Whats practical for me?Start planning one year before plantingSelect a full-sun, well-drained site Amend soil to achieve correct pH and high organic matter contentWork with your macro- and micro-climates Picking cultivarsSelect well-adapted, recommended cultivars with good disease resistance. Buy high quality plants- certified, registeredBareroot plants will catch up to container plants Do I need a special rootstock? Do I need more than one cultivar for pollination? What if my plants arrive too early?Keep roots moist and keep plants coolHeel in plants outdoorsORKeep plants in garage or refrigeratorHydrating an apple whip in a bucket of water for 12 hours prior to planting3-year old bare-root apple whip has just arrived from the nursery. Notice graft union where the scion is joined to the rootstock.Water and fertilizerRegular watering throughout the year is essentialShallow-root small fruit plants are especially vulnerable to drought stressFertilize with 1 inch of compost each springUse fertilizers according to recommendationsBe careful not to over-fertilizeWeeds and mulchAvoid herbicidesKeep mulch away from trunks and crownsOrganic mulch, pea gravelGrass or other living covers cancompete with fruit plants for water and nutrientsWildlife issues Deer scat Vole feedingPruning Control size and shapeInvigorate- stimulate new fruiting woodImprove air circulation and increase sunlight interceptionIPM- dealing with problemsAbiotic problems- drought, poor soil, frozen buds, etc.Biotic problems- insects, diseases, deer, etc.Fruit profilesStrawberryTwo main types for Maryland gardeners: the June-bearing type (predominate) and day-neutral type.Aggregate fruits have many stamens and pistils.King berry is largest in a cluster and has the most seeds.Pineberry (pineapple strawberry)- white strawberry with red seeds; has some pineapple flavor.Small berries, low yield = not worth it!This raised bed is too wide for good fruit production. An 18 to 24-inch bed would be ideal.b is the correct planting depth for strawberry plants, leaving the top of the crown above ground.Common strawberry pestsGray mold (botrytis) is a serious problem with cool, wet weather.Strawberry leaf spot- a fungal disease.BlackberryPerennial crown; biennial canesVery well adapted to all parts of MarylandFour types:Thorny erect (excellent flavor)Thornless trailing (rampant growers; large fruit)Thornless erect (good choice for small spaces)Primocane-bearing, thorny erectDrip irrigation line suspended from support wire to prevent vole feeding on plastic tubing.Floricane laterals are tipped at 18 inches to increase fruiting. Prime-Jim thorny erect blackberry that bears on first-year canes in late summer through frost.RaspberryPerennial crown; biennial canesLess heat-tolerant than blackberry, but ok for all parts of MD Types:Red, purple, black; June bearingRed, yellow; primo-cane or fall-bearing. These can be cut 6-8 inches above ground-level in late winter or early spring. Black raspberry- new shoots (primocanes) are thinned to 6 inches apart.Red raspberry plant tied to a single wire between posts. Tip rootingNew raspberry plant from tip rootingLandscape fabric laid down to suppress weeds and raspberry suckersBramble problemsOrange rust- fungal diseaseCane borerSpotted wing drosophila (SWD)Grapes Vitis vinifera- European wine grapes (less cold-hardy than native grape and more prone to diseases.Vitis labrusca- native fox grapes (seeded and seedless)Seedless table grape cultivarsMarsCanadiceHimrodBlack rot- #1 problem in backyard grapesBlueberryUnderused small fruitsElderberry- SambucusRibes spp.-Currant- red, black and whiteGooseberry- American, European and crossesJostaberryBlack chokeberry- Aronia melanocarpa Beach plum- Prunus maritimaNative to U.S. Atlantic CoastWineberry- very invasive!Rubus phoenicolasius- China native that displaces native plantsSpreads by seed, suckers and tip rootingDelicious fruit- but Do Not dig up and transplant into your landscapeSome keys to apple success:Dwarfing rootstock- BUD 9, EMLA 9, EMLA 26Disease-resistant cultivars (scions); e.g. Liberty, Goldrush, EnterpriseSupport with stakes and wire (vertical and oblique cordons work well)Close attention to pruning, pest monitoringDont over-fertilizeApple PruningSuggested Pruning CutsA. Suckers. B. Stubs or broken branches. C. Downward-growing branches D. Rubbing or criss-crossing branches E. Shaded interior branches F. Competing leaders G. Narrow crotchH. WhorlsFrom Clemson Univ. Extension fact sheetApple problems and growth stagesCodling moth larva; eggs are laid on young fruits by adult females at petal fall stage.Silver tip stagePink stageCedar apple rust- a common fungal disease that is difficult to control. Requires Eastern red cedar as the alternate host. Fireblight- a bacterial disease that can move through the vascular system of apple and pear, killing branches and trees.Surround is a pulverized kaolin clay product that suppresses and repels some fruit insect pests such as codling moth, plum curculio, and apple maggot.PeachPeach is best pruned to an open vase shape to maximize captured sunlight and fruit production.Peach fruits need to be hand-thinned to increase fruit size and decrease disease problems.Peach leaf curl- fungal disease; prevent with fungicide application when buds swell in early spring.Black knot of plum and wild cherry- fungal disease; prune out symptomatic wood to prevent spread.Bacterial spot diseaseGummosis- peach trees exude sap naturally and when stressed by insects, diseases and abiotic factors. Brown rot- a major fungal disease of stone fruits. Dried, infected fruits are called mummies and must be removed from trees and ground.Bagging fruit to prevent bird, squirrel, and insect feeding.Peach tree borer (PTB) larva feeding on cambium.Sap mixed with frass (sawdust-like excrement pushed out of entrance hole by larvae), indicates PTB presence.Asian pear cultivar (russetted). Good landscape tree but susceptible to fireblight and deer.Quince rust fruiting bodies on Bradford pear fruit.Olympic Asian pearPortable fig in whiskey barrel is moved into garage for winter rest.Protected Baltimore City fig (tree form) with Southern exposure.Shrub form with multiple fig stems pulled to center, tied and covered for winter protection.Same plant during growing season.Root containment and root pruning will promote fruiting.Bird netting surrounds entire fig plant. Most birds will peck through netting and some may get tangled.Brown marmorated stink bug injuryLate instar nymphsEggs and 1st instar nymphsAdultResourcesGrow It! Eat It! have all types of practical food gardening tips and information. Check out our popular blog!Home and Garden Information Center you will find factsheets, photos, and videos. You can also subscribe to the free monthly e-newsletter.We answer gardening questions 24/7just click Ask Marylands Garden Experts Maryland Master Gardener Program becoming a trained MG volunteer!This program was brought to you by the Maryland Master Gardener ProgramFrederick CountyUniversity of Maryland ExtensionYou can edit your own title, sub title, author and email.**Can I make the necessary commitment to tree fruit? *Depends on what part of MD. Even with global warming it can be tough to grow peaches or nectarines of Hagerstown, MD. Dormant peach buds are killed when temperatures reach 10-15 degrees below zero. Apricot not going to work in many sections of MD. First to bloom; get frosted out 3 out of 4 years in Central MD.Too cold for muscadine grape. Native grape- Vitis labrusca is more hardy than European wine grape- Vitis vinifera. *Plum, pear can take some neglect and heavier soils. Apple and peach are the most challenging tree fruits.*To get a full crop we need to know about root structure- shallow root systems of small fruits, except grape. We need to know when and where buds are formed. We need to use pruning techniques strategically to maintain the correct balance between foliage and fruit.Fruit is an evolutionary strategy.Light distribution affects yield and fruit size, quality, and color. A standard apple tree may require 40 leaves to produce one fruit; only 12-14 leaves on a M-9 tree. Shaded leaves can produce little photosynthate. Apple fruits actually need some light exposure to grow and be of high quality.Fruit buds on apple borne on 2-3 year old spurs; also latent buds on older wood.CHILL REQUIREMENTS TYPE OF FRUIT CHILL HOURS (# of hours when temp. is 32-45 degrees F.) Almond 500-600 Apple 800-1000 Apricot 500-600 Japanese Pear 400-500 Blackberry 200-500 Blueberry (Northern) 800 Chestnut 400-500 Cherry 700-800 Citrus 0 Currant 800-1000 European Pear 600-800 European plum 800-900 Fig 100-200 Filbert 800 Gooseberry 800-1000 Grape 100+ Japanese Plum 300-500 Kiwi 600-800 Mulberry 400 Peach 600-800 Persimmon 200-400 Plum Cot 400 Pomegranate 100-200 Quince 300-500 Strawberry 200-300 Raspberries 700-800 Walnut 600-700Once plant reaches requirement rising temp will bring them out of dormancy. This can be a problem if we get a warm spell in late Jan or Feb. Wood dehardens and makes plant more susceptible to cold injury.*Macro- cant grow apricots in HagerstownMeso- plant peach on northern exposure site to retard spring bloomMicro- plant fig next to a brick wall facing south; plant raspberries on the north side of blackberries.Peach, plum, apricot, V. vinifera have thin bark easily damaged by cold temp.Fruit plants need well-drained, fertile soil. Pear can tolerate somewhat imperfectly drained soil. Small fruits can be cut down to ground if necessary.Drainage test:How do you know whether or not your soil drains poorly? What affets does poor drainage have on plant growth, on life in the soil. What are causes of poor drainage?Test- lay a tarp on the ground with a shovel, yardstick and watering can. Make a 12x12x12 hole in sod where poor drainage is suspected. Lay square of sod on tarp followed by soil. Stand yard stick in hole. Fill hole with water. Tell audience that drainage is ok if water level goes down 1 in./hr. Drainage is slow if level goes down less than 1 in./hr., and drainage is too fast if level declines more than 1 in./hr.Come back an hour later to look at level.*We have good dwarfing rootstocks only for apple and now sweet cherry. Dwarf sw. and tart cherry are not so dwarfing. and Meteor and Northstar are tart cultivars and supposed to reach only 10 ft.*March and September are good times for re-locating plants.*Planting- remove all flower buds and fruit the first year or more depending on species, cultivar and rootstock. For ex., dwarf apple can bear in year 3 (remove blooms first two years) but a standard tree may take 5-7 years to even produce any flowers.**Renewal pruning- blueberry, grape, peach, currant, bramblesPruning to prevent biennial bearing problemThinning cuts are less stimulating. Heading cuts force bud breaking behind the cut.Other reasons- remove diseases, infested, damaged, dying wood, crossing branches, adv. Shoots, root suckersLight pruning required on pear, apple, plum to encourage growth and maturity. Overly pruned trees remain juvenile and delays fruiting. Old, weak, neglected trees in low vigor can take heavy pruning to reduce canopy and bring it back to fruiting.Debate over cutting back whips. Why would you want to or not want to cut it? The idea of balancing top growth with existing roots has probably gone too far. The primary reason is to force laterals for scaffold branches.When is pruning done- dormant season. Peach not until bloom. Late summer pruning can lead to new growth that prevents plant from hardening off. Summer pruning of foliage around apples and grapes is ok. Removing succulent peach shoots, suckers, floppy bramble canes, etc. is all ok.Heading (stimulating) vs. thinning (less stimulating) cuts.What is apical dominance and how does it affect plant growth and fruiting?Apical dominance in fruits- king berry keeps succeeding fruits smaller; a heavy apple crop reduces fruit bud formation leading to a biennial fruiting pattern.*Best prevention- IPM knowledge: right species and cuoltivar in the right place given the right care and attention.Diagnosing, preventing and treating predictable plant problems- know what to expect; anticipate problemsIs spraying by a schedule really IPM?Disease prevention tips: resistant cultivars, raised beds where soil is heavy or poorly drained, drip irrigation (avoid overhead irrigation), thick organic mulch, keep weeds down, rogue out badly infected canes or individual plants, top-dress compost regularly, pick often (dont let fruit become over-ripe), prune for good air circulation and to remove damaged, excessive, or damaged wood, prune out root suckers and water sprouts, remove diseased leaves and fruits from plants and from the ground during and at end of season, avoid summer pruning when weather is wet and hot.Insect pest prevention tips: attract beneficials, plant resistant varieties, handpick egg masses, immature pests and adults, keep weeds down, use physical barriers like floating row cover and kaolin clay products, prune out infested shoots and canes, trap pests with bio-lures and sticky materials, remove and pick up and discard all infested fruits, pick often (dont let fruit become over-ripe).**Family: RosaceaeBotanical name: Fragaria ananassaOrigins: derived from 2 N.A. species:F. virginiana- Virginia scarlet strawberry F. chiloensis- from ChileBoth species were brought back to the old world, crossed to produce F. ananassa and then returned to N.A. in 18th century.Recommended types:F. ananassa is the common June-bearing strawberry. So-called everbearers will flower during short days- they often produce a June and September crop. Day-neutral cultivars are more likely than the everbearers to flower and fruit regardless of day-length. However, neither will flower and fruit continuously in MD when temps. exceed 80F.F. vesca is the wood strawberry or Fraises de bois and F. vesca sempivirens is the alpine strawberry. Neither are well-adapted to MD.Hardiness: Down to -20F if well mulched. Over-wintering is not a problem.Botany & habitCompressed stems with fleshy buds that produce leaves and flowersRunners arise from axillary leaf budsFlowers with long days; buds are formed in late Sept. as days shorten.Aggregate fruits with 100-500 ovules per flower. Seeds (achenes) imbedded in fruit skin. Flesh is enlarged receptacle. Bees required for pollination. Seed development determines size and shape of fruit.King berries are largest- have most pistils. Each succeeding set of berries, secondary, tertiary, etc. will be smaller in size.Site, soil, and culture: Avoid planting in turf areas unless left fallow or in cover crop for one year (due to white grub problem.)They like ammonium; top-dress with 3# ammonium nitrate per 100 ft. row in ;late August. Sweep fertilizer off foliage.Mulch with 1 bale straw per 100 sq. ft. area after 3 nights below 20F. Cover plants completely. Floating row cover in early spring will also help protect plants from frost. Damage occurs at following temps: tight cluster (22F.), blooms (28F.), small fruit (26F.) Strip flowers off plants first year after planting. Will fruit following year. Beds play out after 3-4 years. Renew (renovate) beds after 2-3 years picking if getting crowded and less productive. Top-dress plants with 4# 10-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. of area after harvest season. Mow plants to within 4 inches of ground and remove the debris. Narrow row to 12-18 inches with tiller, rake or spade. Thin plants to 6 inches in each direction. Fertilize lightly in late Aug.. Irrigate bed throughout summer and fall!Harvesting: Fruits are ripe 5 weeks after bloom. Usually a 3 week harvest but very variable due to spring weather conditions. Does not develop sugar off plant. ****Relatively new primocane-bearing blackberry (thorny)- Prime Ark, Prime Jim, Prime JanBlackberryFamily: RosaceaeBotanical name: Rubus eubatusOrigins: 400 spp. Worldwidewild, Eastern N.A. blackberries are R. allegheniensis (erect with prickles) and R. baileyanus (trailing dewberry)Two cultivated types are erect and semi-trailing. Cultivars derived from American-European crosses.Recommended erect, thorn-less cultivars:Apache - Univ. of Arkansas release; ripens earlier than Navaho but later than Arapaho.Navaho- 88, Univ. of Arkansas (highly regarded by some MD growers)Arapaho- 93, (ripens earlier and produces more canes from roots; veryresistant to orange rust.) Flavor of thorny type better than thorn-less type. However, Arapaho and Navaho are superiorin flavor to semi-trailing cultivars Chester and Hull.Hardiness: erect type- hardy down to -15F.semi-trailing- hardy down to 0F.trailing types (loganberry, dewberry) not hardyblackberries can take our summer heatBotany & habit:perennial crown; biennial shoots come from crown buds in spring; erect type also makes root suckers (semi-trailing do not).flower buds are formed at the end of summer on main stems and the following spring on laterals.Lower canes are unproductive; first 5 nodes on laterals are sterileaggregate fruit- 60-150 pistils per fruit; each pistil contains 2 ovules- one develops into seed the other into drupelet. Receptacle (core) stays with harvested fruit. Bees required for pollination.fruited canes removed at end of harvest.Flower buds should be stripped off bottom 20 inches of floricanes.Easy to transplant; easy to renew neglected plants by cutting them back to ground. Tip rooting of semi-trailing type can be a problem- they must be kept off ground.Site and soil: keep 300 ft. from wild blackberries to prevent virus diseases.Spacing: erect type- plant 2 apart in row; maintain 1 ft. wide hedgerow; 4-6 shoots per lineal ft. of row. Semi-trailing form a clump; 8 between plants.Harvesting: first harvest 2nd year after planting. Pick when blackberries lose their shine and become dull.**Blackberry is one of the easiest fruits to grow. For small spaces select erect, thornless varieties such as Navaho, Arapaho, and Apache or grow the new fall-bearing varieties like Prime-Ark, Prime-Jim, and Prime-Jan (these will produce fruit in late summer on shoots that emerge in spring).*Blackberry chilling hours- 200-500Raspberry- 700-800**Orange rust- blackberry and black raspberry*GrapeFamily: VitaceaeBotanical name: Vitis labruscaOrigins: V. labrusca- native fox grapeV. rotundifolia- native muscadine (scuppernong is white type)V. vinifera- European wine grapeAmerican-European crossesRecommended types:Grow V. labrusca; muscadine types not hardy in MD. French-American hybrids like Seyval and Foch are OK. V. vinifera cultivars are more disease prone, are less winter hardy, and may have other specific needs related to length of growing season and site.Hardiness: V. labrusca- hardy down to -20F.V. vinifera and hybrids more cold tender; damaged at 0F to -10F.Botany & habitPerennial crown; fruits on 2nd year wood. Older latent buds sometimes flower and fruit on older wood.Very deep root shoots come from arms in spring. Shoots dont end with terminal bud; grow all season. First year growth is a shoot; second year is cane.Compound buds formed during summer. Buds contain 4 growing points. If primary is killed by late freeze, crop is usually cut in 1/2.Lateral shoots grow from over-wintered buds and produce leaves and 1-2 flower clusters (panicles). Fruit is a true berry. Bees are not required for pollination.Spacing: 8-10 ft. in row. Harvesting: Will fruit 3 years after planting. Does not develop sugar off vine. Can be left when fully colored for up to 1 week before harvesting.Notes: difficult to transplant; very long-lived plants if properly cared for. Failure to prune hard leads to fewer flower buds, small, poor quality fruit. Can get into biennial bearing pattern. Dont allow more than 2 flower clusters per shoot develop. Leaves and shoots come out before flowers in spring. Must protect new growth with fungicide to prevent black rot.**7 species native to MD; dont dig up and move wild blueb. Whether in MD or ME. Huckleberry has ten seeds and you can feel them in your mouth. Blueberry fruit is many-seeded.Northern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum)Southern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum X Southern types) 6-7 ft. tall; Reveille, Ozark Blue, ONealRabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) Premier, Brightwell; 6-12 ft. tall; 8-14 lb. fruit/plantSelect Northern highbush or Southern highbush varieties. Rabbiteye may be suitable for Eastern Shore and Southern MD. Add lots of compost to the soil prior to planting. Consider adding iron sulfate and elemental sulfur to lower soil pH to the required 4.5-5.2 range. Water blueberry roots regularly for the first three years after planting. They have shallow, fibrous roots that can easily dry out. Family: EricacaeaeBotanical name: Vaccinium corymbosumOrigins: native plants; 26 species include lingonberries, cranberries, bilberries (huckleberries have 10 seeds and are in different genus).V. corymbosum- highbush blueberry. Most widely cultivated; best adapted to mid-Atlantic.V. ashei- rabbiteye blueberry for S.E. USA. Not generally hardy here.V. angustifolium- low bush; hard to establish and maintain in MD.V. craslifolium- creeping ornamental type (also fruits) for Southern coastal plain region (Bloodstone)Southern highbush are rabbiteye type X highbush type (e.g.Patriot)Recommended types:Highbush type grows best overall in Maryland. Southern highbush will break dormancy early; less winter hardy but more heat and drought tolerant than highbush type.Hardiness: Highbush- buds hardy down to -15F to -30FBotany & habitVery shallow fibrous root system. Must never dry out.No root hairs; endomycorrhizae very important for extending root system through soil profile. perennial crown; fruits on wood 2-8 years old. Best fruiting wood is 5 years shoots come from crown buds in spring. Shoots grow in successive flushes. Apex dies and laterals break below.flower buds differentiate from vegetative buds at the end of summer at the ends of young shoots and older canes; 5-10 flowers per bud. Old wood is un-productive.Epigynous fruit- fusion of receptacle and multi-seeded ovary. Bees required for pollination. Blooms turn a wine color if not pollinated. Pollinated flowers drop after 5-6 days. Coville, Berkley, Jersey and Earliblue, not especially attractive to bees.Site and soil: High organic matter soils feed the endomycorrhizae. Amend a 16 wide and 16 deep hole with peat moss, rooted manure, rotted sawdust. Bring pH down to 4.8 with iron sulfate and sulfur. May need to add lb. sulfur per 1,000 sq. ft. each year to maintain low pH. Mulch with wood chips, rotted sawdust, or pine needles (wet the soil before applying mulch).Plants dry out quickly when temps. exceed 90F. Must receive regular water; root system can also drown. Very waxy leaves, slow transpiration rate. Stomata close during drought and growth stops.Plants need ammonium form of nitrogen: 21-0-0 (ammonium sulfate)Spacing: 4-5 ft. in row. Harvesting: Strip off flowers the first 1-2 years after planting. Premature cropping weakens plants. Fruits will ripen over a 5-7 day period after fully colored. Ready to pick when red ring disappears from stem end of fruit.Notes: difficult to transplant; very long-lived plants if properly cared for. Iron chlorosis and conversion of ammonium to nitrate are problems when pH exceeds 5.5. Never prune during budswell or bloom. Fall pruning causes late spring blooming, protecting blooms from late frosts. Will not recover from wilting condition. Reddish leaf color in spring due to cold weather is normal. Water deeply before cold weather sets in.*Red currant can take some shade.Jostaberry is big and togh; eaasy to pick musky fruits.New WPBR strain overcomes genetic resistance in immune cultivars (CT, NY):***EMLA 9 and BUD 9: 8 to 10 ft. treeEMLA 26: 8-12 ft. treeMay be best to remove standard size trees that cannot be maintained.Up to 1/3 of a neglected tree can be removed in one season to open and lower the canopy.Tri-ploid apples- Jonagold, Crispin, Rhode Island Greening, Mutsu; need two diploid cultivars to have successful pollination and fertilization. Self-fertile & Partially Self-fertile Apple Varieties Over 215 varieties listed.Self-fertile or partially self-fertile varieties, no pollinator required. Heavier fruitset will occur if a pollinator is provided.Triploid Apple Varieties Over 160 triploid varieties listed. Triploid meansthat they have 3 pair of chromosome (3n = 51 chromosomes) rather than 2 pair(2n = 34 chromosomes) and all are sterile and require a pollinator. Generally, thefruit and trees are larger.*Why Prune?Reduce tree size or maintain manageable tree size.Invigorate (break apical dominance)- promote new, vigorous growth that will eventually support tree functions and produce fruit.Open canopy- increase light interception, improve spray coverage and air circulation (reducing disease problems).All apple trees in all situations require some type of yearly pruning.Early TrainingKnow the growth and fruiting habits of the selected cultivars(e.g. is it a tip-bearer, a vigorous grower, precocious (early fruiting), notorious for weak leaders?)Keep a picture in your mind of the ideal, mature tree- Christmas tree shape- central leader (main trunk) with scaffold branches positioned nearly horizontal to the ground (the lowest scaffold branches having the widest spread.) Select 4-5 evenly spaced scaffold branches the season after planting, for the first tier. Head back your central leader so that it is 6- to 10-inches above the first tier. Select a second group of scaffold branches the second year that is 2-3 feet above the first tier. It is very important to force these scaffold branches to grow at a 60-90angle from the trunk. The use of limb spreaders can aid in earlier fruit production, improved tree shape, strong crotch angles, and better fruit color. Spreaders can be either short pieces of wood with sharpened nails driven into each end, wooden, spring-type clothespins or sharpened metal rods. The spreaders will need to remain in place for 1-to 2-years until the branch stiffens up. Unwanted branches should be removed or cut back early to avoid the necessity of large cuts in later years. Pruning in Succeeding YearsYears 4-10: continue to tip or head back the new terminal growth by one-fourth each year, cutting to an outside bud (to encourage branching out into sunlight). Remove any upright limbs. Trees should be pruned lightly.Any broken, diseased, crossing, or interior upright shoots and small branches should also be removed. Always maintain the central leader as the highest point on the tree. The ends of the primary and secondary scaffolds should be kept below the top of the tree. Mostly small thinning out cuts after year 10.15-20 of shoot growth per year is desirable. On spur-type cultivars 12 is desirable. Excessive shoot growth may be caused by over-fertilization and needs to be tipped back. Pruning TipsPrune the trees every year in late winter (February or March). Young trees should never be pruned during or after bloom. Older trees can take later pruning.Excessive pruning encourages excessive shoot growth, delays fruiting and reduces quality of fruit on young trees. Older trees (25 years and older) will produce higher-quality fruit following a vigorous pruning. Make your thinning cuts back to the branch collar; do not leave stubs.Remove sucker growth from the interior of the tree and around the base of the trunk annually. Thinning out cuts (entire limb or shoot removal) are associated with increased flower bud production on apples. Heading-back cuts (shortening the ends of branches) encourage shoot growth.Summer pruning should only be done to increase light penetration. Fruits need sunlight.Remove and dispose of prunings from the orchard area. Dead wood will harbor disease organisms that can spread back into the tree. Occasionally a tree does not grow as well as it should during the first year. If this happens prune the tree back to a whip and start over. You will delay fruiting by a year but you will have a more manageable tree.*The active ingredient is kaolin clay, also used in toothpaste!Its sprayed on as a liquid, which evaporates, leaving a protective powdery film on the surfaces of leaves, stems, and fruit (full coverage is important). The white film works to deter insects in several ways. Tiny particles of the clay attach to the insects when they contact the plant, agitating and repelling them. Even if particles don't attach to their bodies, the insects find the coated plant or fruit unsuitable for feeding and egglaying. In addition, the highly reflective white coating makes the tree less recognizable as a host.Surround enhances plant growth by cooling leaf surfaces so that photosynthesiscontinues longer into the afternoon on hot days, after untreated plants have shut down because of heat stress. White coating reduces sunburn on fruit and improves fruit color.Can be used on a wide variety of food crops and is supposed to suppress many insect pests.Surround is most effective once 3 uniform applications have been made. One coat of clay is simply not enough coverage to deter the insect's normal inclinations. Heavy rain may necessitate additional applications.There appears to be no mammalian toxicity or any danger to the environment posed by the use of kaolin. Large predators (ladybird beetles, lacewings, syrphid fly larvae, spiders) do not seem to be harmed by Surround. Predatory mite numbers are suppressed.Coverage needs to be applied to the point of runoff and allowed to dry. A sticker-spreader isn't necessary. Figure on using 1/2# Surround per gallon of water. Surround stirs best into the water as opposed to pouring water into the dry powder.Numerous online suppliers.*Tap branches with towel or rag wrapped around stick to knock off young fruit. You only need 5% of total blooms to set fruit to have a bumper crop.Renewal pruning required to force new vegetative shoots that will bear fruit in year 2.Fertilize with N in early spring (heavy feeder)*Peach trees are subtropical plants; they have thin bark and are more susceptible to winter injury especially freeze-thaw cracks. Early winter pruning exposes tree to more extreme cold injury. Warm days that follow winter pruning can stimulate growth. Wait till bloom or very early fruit formation to prune. You can see then see which 2 yr. shoots you want to keep and which to prune out.**Brown Rot:This fungal disease damages blossoms (blossom blight), fruit on the tree, and fruit already purchased and sitting on the counter. It is spread by wind, water, insects, humans and can only enter through a wound or lenticel. In a single season the possibility exists for many cycles of infection. To prevent infection: remove mummies from ground and tree and remove fruit stems attached to the mummies. The fungus moves into the stems and overwinters. Prune before budbreak to reduce the incidence of blossom blight (fungus is active once green tissue is first observed in the spring). Rubbing the fuzz on a peach creates a wound opening. Insect induced injuries and rough handling will help spread the disease. Warm, rainy weather during the bloom period will greatly increase the inoculum levels. Fungicide control: a protective fungicide barrier is critical from pre-bloom through pre-harvest. The critical times to spray are when 5-10% of the blooms are open, at full bloom and about 2 weeks prior to harvest. If disease pressure has been high, cover sprays, beginning at petal fall, should also be included. Alternate captan with sulfur to slow resistance. For organic growers- 95% micro-fine wettable powder sulfur or flowable sulfur with surfactant are best. Sulfur kills fungus when it is gaseous stage; the finer the particles the more quickly the gas is produced. Harvesting- when background color is all yellow fruit has reached maximum sugar content; complete the ripening process for 1-2 days indoors.*Thiodan no longer labeled. Ortho Bug B Gon Max Garden and Landscape Insect Killer now has permethrin as ai. Or, stick a wire in to pierce larvae. Paradichlorobenzene still sold. Dangerous to children and other non-target critters.*Precocious fruiting- usually by year 3.Stink bugs, pear psyall, pear blister mite, plum curculio, mites, aphidsFireblight, rusts, pear scab?Deer feed on pear, like all fruit trees except fig.******Remember to put in the correct county!Created by Jon Traunfeld, Extension Specialist, UME; 2014*


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