Saturday, June 29, 2013

Directive pruning results

    Just ten days ago I posted some photos of how I used  directive pruning the shape the growth of a second-year bark graft. Today, I went back to that tree to check on its progress. In the photo series above, you can see the bushy top before pruning, the same tree top after directive pruning, and the new growth that has occurred in just 10 days. Since I top-worked this tree, the growth of the scion is rapid due to the push it gets from a large root system below the graft. As a result, the new central leader has already added 10 inches of top growth in only 10 days.  What's more important is  how dominate the new central leader has become following summer pruning.
    With this year's directive pruning cuts, I have created a tree with at least 14 feet of single trunk. The central leader of this tree is now growing out my reach when I stand on a 8 ft ladder, so this summer's directive pruning cuts will be my last for this tree. From now on, I'll be working on removing branches below the graft. Since I've top-worked a fairly large tree, I need to make sure I remove enough lower growth to push the scion while maintaining a healthy amount of foliage on the tree to feed the roots and shade the trunk.