Notching really does work! Has anyone done much notching? The principle behind it is to interrupt the downward flow of auxin that is inhibiting lower buds from breaking. I did quite a bit this year to encourage dormant buds to break and create more branches in my apple trees. A lot of my trees were pretty tall but without very many branches when I moved them into the new orchard last year. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, they had stayed too long packed in a nursery bed and consequently developed few branches due to competition for space, light, nutrition, etc. I did some notching when I transplanted them last year, but apparently the notches weren’t wide enough or maybe not early enough. The notches grew back together quickly and did not stimulate buds to grow. This year is another story. I made the notches wider and did them about six weeks earlier—late February into March instead of April like last year. I am very pleased with the results this year. There are lots of new branches sprouting from dormant buds on the trunks of my trees. There’s a bonus on this sprout—ladybug eggs! Sorry, the picture was taken in portrait orientation, but I can't figure out how to change it. No matter what I do, it loads sideways in the preview.
Nice job, Jean! I know Daniel W has had quite a bit of success with notching. He made a post last year, I think. I have had a little bit of success, but I think my timing may be off, or my location on the trunk may be off. I 'm going to keep trying, though.
Thank you, John. Good luck with your future efforts.
I don't use notching very often, but sometimes it's exactly what's needed to "nudge" a strategically placed bud to do what you want. Sometimes it's to get a new branch to grow where you want one; sometimes you notch differently to try and get some flowers for fruits. It can be a bit difficult sometimes, based upon the age of the tree, its vigor, and the location of the bud. However, those things considered, I have had more success than failures, and it's always a "nice little secret" to know about and use. Few people seem to be aware of it. However, one needs to have an understanding of the water and nutrient flow within the individual tree, and the scientific rationale behind what they are doing by notching. ...With that in hand, sometimes it can be "just what the doctor/grower wanted or needed."