Thursday, June 14, 2012

Removing stalked buds

    We have been summer pruning the young trees in our orchard this week and find ourselves removing lots of stalked buds.  Both primary buds (upper bud at each node) in the photo at left are elongated and held on a short stalk. Allowing these stalked buds to grow into branches will create a tree with narrow, weak crotch angles (read this previous post for a detailed explanation of the problems stalked bud can create).
   At this time of year stalked buds seem to break quickly after they form and start to form new branches. Below are before and after photos demonstrating the removal of stalked buds. On the left side you can see stalked buds that have grown into branches at every leaf node. The stalked buds I removed are marked with the letter "R". There is one stalked bud I decided to save (marked with a "S") because this bud was located at the very top of the tree and represents the growing point for my central leader. After pruning I have preserved my central leader and prevented the tree from developing a leaderless, bush top (right side of photo).